Psychographic, Demographic or Geographic Ad Targeting

I must admit to being bewildered when first hearing the word "psychographic" ad targeting. A student of literature deconstructing the word might get the wrong impression. I mean, please, the prefix "psycho" attached to the word "graphic." It's enough to scare anyone into running in the opposite direction. Whew.

Psychographics identifies the "who." It defines customers, or potential customers, according tos interests, activities and opinions, rather than demographics such as 20-to-30 year-old males living in Los Angeles for five or more years.

There's been debate across the industry on whether psychographic can produce better results than demographics or geographics. Evidently there's no debate for Meebo, a social platform connecting people across the Web. The company bought the online ad measurement and targeting company Mindset Media for an undisclosed sum to support features in its ad-supported toolbars for companies such as Mediaweek.com, TVGuide.com, and others. The deal, announced, Tuesday extends a relationship that had already been in place.

It's interesting a social toolbar maker would purchase a psychographic ad targeting company, when so much about the person using the platform can be learned from technology already built into the toolbar through expandable ads, Twitter and Facebook access, and a direct connection to YouTube. The platform also is compatible with AIM, Windows Live Message and Yahoo Messenger. This nifty demonstration provides insight.

Mindset, which focuses on consumer packaged goods marketing, will expand Meebo's customer base in brand advertising for PC and mobile.

Further development of Web check-ins located in the tool bar will come next. In December the company closed a $27.5 million Series D round of funding led by Khosla Ventures. Existing investors Sequoia Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Time Warner and JAFCO also participated.

A press release on the company's Web site states that "the funds will support the acceleration of Meebo's growth and further development of Meebo's Web check-ins, which enable Web visitors to check in to their favorite sites and share online discoveries with friends or people with similar interests."

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2 comments about "Psychographic, Demographic or Geographic Ad Targeting".
  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , February 9, 2011 at 10:40 a.m.

    That term goes back to the early 70's, at least and used frequently. It goes beyond "bland" metrics and likes. We had some regular Arbitron and Neilsen numbers with zip codes sometimes along with HH info. There were big red books that only the larger agencies had. Other than that, instinct and common sense were our tools. I wonder how different the outcomes would be side by side ?

  2. Scott Meadow from MCP LLC , February 9, 2011 at 11:09 a.m.

    At this point, the evidence is in; psychographic models are more predictive than ones based demo and/or geo. The clusters of individuals identified using statistical methods are also quite actionable for brands. Work done for and by Nestlé for almost 10 years are excellent examples of how insights gained by psychographic clusters produce results in shopper marketing.

    As for the mention of why a social toolbar maker would purchase a psychographic ad targeting company, consider the following: It's easier to get answers to about 17 key questions that identify psychographic profiles than develop an infrastructure to mine and then interpret the other valuable information gained from the behavior side of web usage.