Behavioral Targeting Moves Into Video Ads

BrightRoll just unveiled a program to target consumers with banner and streaming ads based on their behavior across the Web.

The video network ranks No. 3 with 51,250 total unique viewers, taking 34.1% of the market, according to comScore's Metrix Key Measures Report Top 100 Video Properties for May 2009.

Tod Sacerdoti, BrightRoll's cofounder and CEO, provided some insight on the benefits and the challenges for BT in video today and down the road. Could BT become an accelerator for a variety of video ads? If you look at the growth rate of BT and video, separately, you realize they are about the same size and growing approximately at the same rate, Sacerdoti says.

In August, comScore released July 2009 data showing 158 million U.S. Internet users watched online video during the month, the largest audience ever recorded -- who viewed a record total of 21.4 billion videos.

Advertisers get the model and how it works, but have traditionally felt online video didn't give them enough control to target specific consumers. Sacerdoti estimates BT for video ads won't exceed more than 25% of the business any time soon, but it will grow to that within the next year or two. The data from the technology providers will spur the uptick.

Historically, data ownership has been presented as a competitive advantage. Ad networks didn't own the inventory, but owned the data. Since eXelate has opened the data to many companies, networks now have a new responsibility to find advertisers the best data, too. Once access to data becomes open in an exchange format, what does it do to display networks that viewed their data as a competitive advantage? It opens interesting doors to the change of power from traditionally large networks into a new video BT category.

The industry will go through challenges as more BT video ad targeting comes online -- for starters, finding ways to effectively package and sell data in a market that buyers can understand. Sacerdoti says BrightRoll gets requests continually to target specific audiences, such as age 18 to 22 males who watch HBO and own a scooter. On the flip side, he gets targets that are way off the mark -- in which case, the account manager must set the client straight.

Sacerdoti says there's no BT data to pull and store in servers. The data is stored in computer cookies that map to segments on BrightRoll servers. The data is leveraged on the fly or in bunches based on campaigns. BrightRoll only needs to store the data in the segments that have been served, so they can go back and refer to the sucess or failure of the campaign.

BrightRoll has been testing the service for a few months, but it's a little early to say how "much it will move the needle for the business," Sacerdoti says. "In the next month or two we will have a little better feeling, particularly for the in-market category, as auto comes back."

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