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Expedia delivers a really smart banner ad

January 19, 2010

Update: this smart banner ad targeting has been going on for a while. Check out the comments on this Adverlab post to see some possible explanations. Interesting that the flights were to Chisinau and Kalamazoo, two places that jump out. (Would I notice if the ad said New York?)

For the most part, I ignore banner ads. I think the major reason is that I’ve trained my eyes to not give a damn about them. In fact, I’ve often thought that banners are the most needy of the advertising messages. Click me, touch me, scroll over me, they basically plead — and they do it with flashy lights to interrupt.

So, I’ve adopted banner blindness. But this banner ad jumped out at me.

I stared at it. For a long time. Then I e-mail it to my boss.

Here’s why.

Last week, I went to I often start travel plans with Expedia and Kayak because they let me know the airlines in play from the little airport from which I embark.

I wasn’t logged into Expedia or Kayak.

But at Expedia, I searched for flights to Kalamazoo.

A week later, there’s Expedia, delivering me relevant content on hotels in the place I was planning to visit. Now, at first, one might wonder “How in sweet Mary did it know?”

Or, one might scream Big Brother.

The only thing I thought was cool.


In my opinion, there are far too many irrelevant, dumb ads out there. This is a smart one. This one at least makes an attempt at being relevant. The ad in my shopping cart, in the urinal, on the truck, in the tweet, those things are noise. And there’s a lot of noise.

This was a message from a company I use telling me that they are paying attention. And they’re here to help me find a hotel in a city I’m clearly interested in visiting. As a marketer, I respect that. As a consumer, I love it.

What do you think?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2010 6:09 pm

    EXPEDIA is a scam. SOurce:

    • January 21, 2010 1:12 pm

      That seems like an isolated case. I’ve used Expedia and had no issues (except when changing a flight). They’re often cheaper than the airline, which makes no sense to me.

  2. January 26, 2010 12:55 pm

    Expedia is the way I book stuff also. I think it is smart move on their part, they know when you’re going to be where. Google has been doing the same stuff too. I’m just happy that their is good reasons for this, and not some creepy big brother stuff.


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