Advertising at Wealthy Women on Sites Which are 98% Male Is Non-Optimal

by Johnny Debacle

There are some fundamental laws of advertising. One, I think is try and spend effort advertising to potential customers, rather than on people who are not potential customers. Maybe it’s the other way around, I always get it confused. I came across this while on Ars Technica’s Opposable Thumbs gaming site. Direct your attention to the right hand margin:

Ars Technica is aimed at computer enthusiasts, Apple zealots, Microsoft fans, humans interested in science, humans interested in gaming, stop me when I get to something that indicates a woman would ever visit this site, programmers, open source advocates, the list goes on. According to a survey from last year, 2% of the readership is female. So 98 cents for every dollar (whether in terms of advertiser’s actual dollars or the publisher’s pageview inventory) spent on this ad was essentially lit on fire. If it were on the main page.

But only probably 2% of that 2% would be likely to click on this article in the gaming section (called Opposable Thumbs), a review of a game called Prototype which features a paragraph describing it thusly:

Battles between your character and the military feature bodies and cars flying this way and that as civilians are treated as little more than shrapnel. To fill your energy you can grab anyone in the world and “consume” them, first killing their body and then absorbing their body into yours. The game gleefully counts up the number of military and random passers-by you kill in each mission.

Sounds like Gossip Girl mixed with the Bachelor dressed up in a pink bow!

Recommendation: Now, this comes down to Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), not Brooks Brothers or Ars, since it’s Adsense and that ad is pay-per-click. How can Adsense still target so poorly so often? Short Adsense.

Related Reseach:

Ad Sense Ad Sense


  1. June 13th, 2009 | 10:36 am

    I’ve seen Brooks Brothers ads (women, family, fugly clothes in general) on alot of sites lately. Short Brooks Brothers.

    When it comes to the absolute worst targeted advertising though, Facebook wins hands down. When you have the depth, breadth, and accuracy of data they do, so finely fragmented, and fail so utterly, you should really just give up.

  2. TB
    June 13th, 2009 | 6:37 pm

    JD, you’ve forgotten the final level of filtering: of the 2% of 2% of women that have clicked through to this page, what percentage of them will ever purchase their trousers in Brooks Brothers (or similar)? Indeed, what percentage of them even own a pair of “trousers”, rather than 18 pairs of jeans??

  3. June 13th, 2009 | 6:56 pm


    Allegedly, there are women employed in professions where it is appropriate on occasion to wear “business trousers”. I cannot confirm this, I’m sure someone else can though. TIA.


  4. June 14th, 2009 | 1:30 pm

    reading “long dicks, short penis” in my google reader, i got a public service announcement ad to eradicate poverty. if they’re looking for donations, they’re probably not gonna find it from guys considering the difference between dicks and penises.

    Screenshotted it for your enjoyment, but the link to contact you is broke.

  5. June 14th, 2009 | 1:41 pm


  6. Hans Moleman
    June 14th, 2009 | 4:55 pm