Targeting: Localizes For Advertisers

By Published on . last week rolled out to its advertisers an ad format that mentions the local weather and the user's city as part of the ad copy. Dunkin' Donuts and have tested the technology, known as Smart Ads, for the last month.

"It's 81 degrees in Atlanta. You've GOT to try our Iced Mocha Latte," says the doughnut seller's placement. " Job site's message is: "In Atlanta, new jobs are posted every day. Find your dream job today!"

Atlanta is just an example of a city the user may hail from. The technology is available in more than 70,000 ZIP code target areas, said Peter Green, VP-national sales at, which is owned by Landmark Communications.

When someone visits the page for his or her city on the site, "the [technology] scrapes the content- the current weather condition and the name of the city and the advertiser can use that in their ad," Mr. Green said.

The Dunkin' Donuts ads, devised by the site's ad technology and creative departments, perform "twice as well as the average campaign on, based on click-throughs," said Stacy Kirk, associate PR manager for the site.

Targeting is not limited to temperature and geography, but can be applied to activities, too, he said. When users enter the site, they key in their ZIP code and choose one from a menu of activities or interests, such as golf, driving, travel or health. If it's raining outside, a video store may recommend a rental tonight. If it's sunny, a sports retailer may say it's a good day for golf, Mr. Green said. Even an allergy-medicine marketer could place a reminder that since hay fever is at an all-time high, don't forget your medication.

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