- February 5, 2008

Entering the “promised” land of behavioral targeting

With behavioural targeting, the Internet is finally beginning to deliver on some of the promises made to advertisers more than a decade ago. Leading web companies are literally “buying into” behavioural targeting. In 2007, AOL spent around $200 million for Tacoda, Yahoo! plunked down $300 million for Blue Lithium, Google paid $3.1 billion for Double Click and MSN invested $240 million in a 1.6% stake in Facebook (valuing the company at roughly $15 billion).

Comscore has been passionate (TV preacher passionate) about the potential of behavioural targeting from the start. We know that it is very helpful for an advertiser to know what a consumer is doing, in addition to their demographic attributes like age or gender. For example, if a consumer spends a significant amount of their time visiting online travel sites or comparing airfares, we may infer that they are planning a trip. By looking at the rest of their online behavior, we can then uncover additional insights about this segment such as where else on the Web they are likely to be found.

Comscore collects behavioural data and has performed a lot of custom segmentation work for clients over the years. In 2007, we added behaviorally defined segments to our syndicated Media Metrix product, creating a new online behavioural targeting tool. This tool, Comscore Segment Metrix: H/M/L, gives clients the ability to track, analyze and report online activity by consumer segments, to deliver robust behavioral profiles of these groups on demand.

Comscore Segment Metrix: H/M/L gives our clients the ability to find the “travel planner” when they are not planning that trip, or the car enthusiast when they are not on auto sites. It lets us know where they search, what email they use and which sites they get their news from.

This behavioral insight will allow our advertising clients (and the agencies that represent them) to better target their activities, improving efficiency and increasing return on online marketing investment. Conversely, media owners looking for ad revenue can identify the advertising categories (e.g. Travel or Autos) for which their sites deliver a high proportion in their audience.

This is exciting stuff and in 2008 our industry will finally get to that ‘promise-d’ land of behavioral targeting! Look here for additional examples of behavioural targeting in the coming weeks.