Targeting advertising to adults with ADHD is a common practice, and the company that makes it, Adwords, is one of the biggest players in the field.
But it’s not the only one.
We talked to the chief marketing officer of Adwords about why it’s important for marketers to understand ADHD, and what it means to be targeted by a company with this special skill set.
“There’s been some recent work that shows that ADHD is more prevalent in individuals who are not able to focus,” says Mark Riethmuller, the chief strategy officer of the company.
“The research has shown that if you’re in that group, you tend to be more prone to developing symptoms.”
ADHD isn’t the only issue affecting Adwords.
Adwords has a long history of pushing users to be engaged with its ads, and this is a big reason why it gets targeted with ads in the first place.
But what’s the best way to engage with those ads?
Adwords isn’t just a social media platform, it’s also an online business.
The way people use Adwords is incredibly personal.
And that’s what makes targeting it so difficult.
Riethmalts that the best ways to target people with the disorder are “more relevant, more relevant to the community, more targeted, and more relevant in terms of content,” he says.
But he admits that some people don’t respond well to those ads, because they’re too focused on their own problems.
So he suggests that people “take advantage of the fact that you’re not directly targeting them, you’re looking for something that you can use to engage in a conversation.”
This kind of personalization is why, Riethmans opinion suggests, people may be better off not using Adwords at all.
The problem is, people with Attention Deficit Disorder don’t have the same opportunities for targeted advertising.
And the way Adwords and Facebook’s Adsense system work, these companies can target users with the condition.
They have the option to “advertise on” other people’s posts, and advertisers can make money if people click on the ads.
But they’re not able, by design, to target those who are already engaging with the content.
To Riethms mind, “Ads are really only effective when they’re engaging with a person, and if you only do that, then they’re going to be less engaged with your content, so you’re going after them more than if you did the ads.”
Riethmar explains that the ad network uses the data that people are sending to them to target them for ads.
“We do not know what their behaviors are before we make a decision to do a certain ad, and we don’t know what they are after after,” he said.
“But we know what the ad looks like, what kind of information it contains, and then what kind and type of results it delivers.”
That information is then used to determine which users should see the ads, whether they’ll click on them or not, and where they’ll see them.
And Riethmas says this information is used to decide which people get the most clicks and how often they’re clicked.
“When we get these data on who we target, we make that decision,” he explained.
“And we’ve been using this to target our ads to people who are people who we believe are most likely to engage and actually click on our ads.
And if they don’t, then we’ll probably have to start all over again.”
The problem with targeting users with ADHD, as it relates to Adwords?
Rieth believes the company can’t just make these decisions for them.
“It’s a tricky business,” he told us.
“To be able to have all these data, to be able understand what’s driving these behaviors, to make a conscious decision to target these users and make that informed decision to actually make them see the ad is very challenging.”
And it’s a challenge that Adwords doesn’t have an easy answer for.
The company doesn’t think it’s easy to find and understand people with a specific condition, like ADHD.
Rethmullers explanation for this problem, in his words, is that the company has “been working for many years with the community to understand what it takes to make targeted advertising more relevant, and to make the best possible ads that are relevant to our customers.”
And he also points out that, even though there’s an Adwords database that’s created to identify users with specific conditions, it isn’t used in conjunction with the data used to target ads.
The idea is that if a person is a high-functioning individual, they can find that information, use it to determine what they need to be shown in their ads, then “we’ll do the right thing” with it.
“Because that information is there, we can use that information to target the right people and make the right decisions,” he explains.
But Rieth says that