In advertising we are always talking about putting the right message, in front of the right person, at the right time. The rapidly evolving advertising technologies online allow us to get closer to this goal then ever before. When it comes to search marketing people are typing in exactly what they want, and therefore giving you as an advertiser an opportunity to capitalize on this.
Many companies take advantage of this and deliver highly tailored ads to match the search queries. The result is that people expect their ads to be targeted so when you see an advertisement that doesn’t fit with your search query, it can be quite offensive. I was researching some text ads for a campaign when I ran across a perfect example from Wal-Mart of why you should make sure that your agency is using negative keyword targeting for their search campaigns.
It would have taken 30 seconds to add “coping” as a negative keyword to prevent this from happening.
This ad represents two failures. Firstly the ad clearly shouldn’t be displayed for this search query. Secondly the ad itself has a typo, which is a minor detail given the offensive nature of the keyword it is paired with but it is yet another sign that their QA process failed.
This is particularly bad given that the company is Wal-Mart, which people are far more likely to pounce on for blunders such as this. When a person types in “coping with a death in the family” I don’t think they want to see this message from Wal-Mart, especially not at this time.