DoubleClick Beefs Up Sonar Network

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DoubleClick Inc., New York, has added new features to its Sonar Network and said it is voice-enabling banner ads served by its DART Advertising system.


The company this week unveiled Sonar Intelligent Targeting Interest Segments, an anonymous profiling tool that the company said provides "intelligent" targeting of ads on Web sites.


Bill Wise, general manager at Sonar Network, said the new feature enables advertisers to target users individually, not just contextually.


"We wanted to really target the user, not the context," Wise said. "We can look at who the user is, not just where they are on the network."


The new feature enables advertisers to identify users who have recently demonstrated interest in a particular product and have visited content-related sites, searched keywords and responded to ads, he said.


Though it is anonymous, Wise said the Sonar Network can tell if people make purchases by tracking them on an e-commerce site. He said, however, that the company is not doing that now.


"But we can find out if someone is on an e-commerce site and actually buying something by seeing if they reach a 'thank you' page, for example," Wise said.


The network has more than 100 million anonymous profiles of U.S. Internet users. The data is segmented into 50 interest categories. Wise said there are more than 800 sites on the Sonar Network, which serves lower-traffic Web sites. The network serves about 1 billion ad impressions per month.


One of the Sonar Network's first clients for the tool is financial Web site OnMoney.com. The site chose the Sonar Network to drive highly qualified traffic to its site.


"By utilizing Interest Segments we were able to eliminate the guesswork in targeting the right audience for our messages," said Jim Blumenfeld, OnMoney.com's chief marketing officer. "The Interest Segments campaigns have produced response rates two-to-three times higher than the industry average by targeting a highly interested and qualified audience for us."


Wise said the Sonar Network already has signed about 20 advertisers for the new service.


DoubleClick also said it is using technology from ITXC Corp., Beaverton, OR, to voice-enable banner ads.


The company is offering ITXC's Push to Talk service as an enhancement to its DoubleClick DART for Advertisers Web-based solution. The banners will include a button that enables consumers to communicate with advertisers directly, without leaving the Web site they are visiting.


When consumers click the Push to Talk button on a banner, a traditional phone call is initiated. The service can also establish a voice-over-Internet protocol call through ITXC's ITXC.net VoIP service.


"With Push to Talk, DART for Advertiser clients will have an easy-to-implement and affordable way to add interactivity to their Web advertising, making their campaigns even more compelling," Ebrahim Keshavarz, vice president of product development at DoubleClick TechSolutions, said in a statement.
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