Just An Online Minute... Behavioral-Targeting on the Rise
Today's news that Revenue Science signed the Financial Times' FT.com and Reuters' Reuters.com represents another advance in the drive by web publishers to gather granular data about their readers. Revenue Science apparently is also closing in on a deal with Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN.com. Behavioral-targeting involves the use of site registration data, along with information on browsing habits--the data is analyzed via technology from providers like Revenue Science and Tacoda Systems to provide advertisers with more intelligence about consumers. Advertisers are using the portraits of consumers' surfing habits to target their marketing messages more efficiently. Web publishers can use behavioral-targeting technology with advertisers looking for additional traction.
Targeting is great for achieving certain types of advertiser goals. There's no question about it. The question, of course, is at what point does all the data mining and collecting raise privacy concerns. Providers of addressable advertising technologies delivered via cable set-top boxes will also need to confront this question. But if you think about it, utilities, ebusinesses like Amazon and others, the cable company, and so many other aspects of our lives already have the goods on us. The data is out there.
Behavioral-targeting technology doesn't use addresses, zip codes or phone numbers. It's basically tracking our online habits--not across the entire Web, just on the particular site or group of sites that employs the tech. But here's the thing--since I'm a travel aficionado, I might not mind if you target an ad for low-fares from New York to me when I'm reading one of my favorite online pubs. In fact, I might really be open to it. I might be looking to get of town for the weekend.
When I'm watching TV, I'm not targeted in any particular way. In fact, while a general awareness of advertising has been my business for a while now and that I appreciate fun and evocative creative, I'm not getting much from TV ads. I certainly don't feel targeted and I often mute commercials.