New Tactics May Deserve A New Approach
Behavioral Insider: Of the clients that you work with, which ones are using behavioral targeting right now?
Papadopoulos: The two that are using behavioral targeting are Volvo and OppenheimerFunds.
BI: In comparison to your other clients, why are those two using behavioral?
Papadopoulos: For Volvo it makes particular sense for two reasons. The first has to do with the upfront. We've been part of the automotive endemic upfront for the last five years. And in the beginning it used to be that you could buy a percentage of your pages and then there'd be an opportunity to buy a percentage of your competitors' pages (what we call conquesting). And what's happened in the past year or so is everyone's pretty much buying their own pages, so there really is no opportunity for conquesting anymore. And inventory's become pretty tight even within sections you may want to sponsor. So, in order to get around that, behavioral targeting has been one of the solutions.
BI: Without an upfront for financial services advertisers, what is the catalyst for OppenheimerFunds getting into behavioral?
Papadopoulos: They have a very specific audience: higher household income, a very specific demographic. And there are two things going on there, too. One is inventory. The other is this highly qualified audience; if you're overlaying demographic targeting with behavioral targeting, or if you're just doing demographic targeting, at the end of the day there's just not that much inventory. So now behavioral targeting opens up an extra opportunity to reach this audience in a short window of time.
BI: Do you foresee networks like a Jumpstart Automotive type network springing up for the financial industry or any other verticals?
Papadopoulos: I think we're going to start seeing it across the board. I think we will see it for the financial category, but the reason we haven't, is there still is quite a bit of inventory available; and unlike the automotive sector, where people may be in-market for a rather short period of time, and not again for years, in the financial category, the in-market period is a lot longer and a lot more frequent. So, I think we're going to start seeing it with things that have shorter in-market windows.
....For instance, I was planning my wedding and got targeted with behavioral targeting. Kudos to these national wedding advertisers, because they realized I'm not going to be in-market very long. And they pinpointed me in wedding-specific content and reached me outside of that.
But it was a little abusive.... It was a little too much. It went on a little too long. The thing about behavioral targeting is, we need to treat it differently than we treat contextual advertising, because you reach people with a higher frequency. If I'm going to the wedding section everyday, obviously I'm interested in that content, and so the advertiser can assume I'm interested in their information, and they may frequency-cap or they may not. If I'm outside of that situation, they need to come up with what the right model is and how they're going to track me so they can make sure that I'm not being conquested with this ad 30 or 40 times. And they need to be observant of when I'm out of market.
BI: Do you think that because of what you do for a living, maybe the way you perceive the ads you see is different from your average consumer?
Papadopoulos: My belief is that consumers are open to advertising if it's relevant, and it depends on where you see it.... They may be more open to it, but they may be wondering, 'How did you know that?' And that's where they either start to feel kind of creepy about it or they're open to it. I think you'll find both sides of that scenario. But... with behavioral targeting, the advertiser might not be aware of how much of a penetration frequency they may have on a consumer. Even if it's not annoying, it's ineffective.
BI: Aren't frequency caps used regularly with behavioral targeting?
Papadopoulos: Sometimes. I think you'd be surprised. We do it, but it's not like when you put a buy out there, the publisher comes back and asks you what your frequency cap is. I have to say I've never been asked that.
BI: So that would be incumbent upon the advertiser or the media buyer, as opposed to the behavioral targeting vendor or the publisher?
Papadopoulos: I think publishers should definitely be throwing it out there. What's been happening is when I receive proposals back and they do include behavioral targeting, it's just a line item. It's treated in the same way a contextual ad or any other kind of targeting would be treated.... Obviously it's still a new model so we don't have those case studies, but if you're dealing with an advertiser or an agency that might not be too savvy about it, it's a disservice.
BI: Any other issues that you think need more attention along those lines?
Papadopoulos: Yes. I think creative burnout is one of the big issues. The more information we have, we should be using it. If we're able to do a local targeting filter with behavioral targeting, but you don't do anything with the creative to reflect that, then it seems like a waste.... But I think what's happening is we're treating it like it's any other placement. We're paying more for it, but we're not treating it like it's its own stand-alone tactic that may need its own metrics, its own planning parameters and creative.