We're not quite at the point where we walk past a billboard and get a personal advert based on thoughts sucked out of our brains. However, advertising companies continue to fine-tune online targeting, and RadiumOne recently launched cross-platform hashtag targeting.
In a press release, the company highlighted the power of the hashtag, citing Topsy Data's report on the five most notable Twitter hashtags alone generating over 11.7 million mentions during 2012. RadiumOne claims its hashtag targeting will enable advertisers to "instantly target and connect with customers who show interest in their brand in real-time". How this will work in practice remains to be seen, but the company suggests "a brand can identify consumers who use the hashtags #nike #olympics #fitness on desktop computers, tablets and mobile devices, and build a campaign with full-page ad roadblocks on desktop and mobile platforms targeted to these same consumers online, within milliseconds". It added that campaigns could become far smarter, responding to hashtags by displaying specific products rather than the more general adverts typically seen online.
At present, the ability to instantly connect with consumers "remains unique to RadiumOne's platform, which integrates various first person social apps such as Via.me, Po.st and PingMe", but the company said it is planning further integration with other social networks that could benefit from hashtag targeting. "Each second, people are using social media to broadcast their feelings, preferences and opinions—these moments represent an untapped opportunity for advertisers to interact with consumers in real-time," said Gurbaksh Chahal, CEO and founder of RadiumOne. And according to a Chahal interview with Forbes, the company has seen double-digit percentage increases in click-through rates by people targeted by hashtag.