Marketers on best behavior

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Marketers on best behavior

By Roy Shkedi

Behavioral targeting, which refers to the usage of anonymously observed Web behavior to target ads to users, is one of the fastest growing areas of interactive advertising and one of our industry's most overused buzz terms.

While demographic targeting enables marketers to target audiences based on who they are and contextual marketing enables marketers to target audiences based on what they read or do, BT enables marketers to target audiences based on what they recently read or did rather than what they are currently reading or doing.

The vast majority of online content is difficult to monetize via contextual solutions such as matching an ad to a general news piece or a Web-based e-mail. Behavioral solutions, however, monetize content based on recent and more valuable behavior such as search and not based on the content the user is currently viewing, which is why BT is becoming one of the leading tools in monetizing the majority of the content on the web. BT is obviously an incredibly powerful tool, and while it has been leveraged successfully by many marketers and publishers, it still remains confusing to many.

Let's take a look at the available BT options to help eliminate this confusion.

Advertiser retargeting BT: Here, an advertiser delivers targeted ads to users who have visited their site and left, is likely the most popular and widespread application of BT technology. Most BT retargeting advertisers are performance-focused and are seeking to drive traffic to their Web site's shopping cart or another conversion metric destination. An example of this application is the case of an online retailer that delivers additional ads to prospective customers who arrived on its site and left without converting or buying. While this BT application lets an advertiser communicate with existing and prospective customers who have recently visited its site, it does not provide the advertiser with new customers who were previously unaware of its offerings.

Inventory extension BT: Here, a publisher with its own sales force enables its advertisers to reach its audience on other sites. This is especially popular with publishers and networks that have limited available or sold-out inventory on their own sites or networks. An example of this application is the case of an auto publisher that, after selling-out all of the ads on its own site, uses its sales force to offer existing and new advertisers the opportunity to reach its audience elsewhere. This BT application provides larger publishers that have their own sales force with both an incremental revenue stream and rate-card flexibility.

Data sharing BT: Here, a publisher provides a third-party company with access to its site audience data in return for royalties paid to the publisher by the third party that facilitates the delivery of ads to the site's audience outside the publisher's site. One very popular example of this BT application is post-search, wherein companies collect purchase-intent data from search sites and use this data to facilitate the delivery of targeted ads to these users, wherever they go, and pay the data-providing sites royalties for every ad that is delivered using their data.

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