Q&A With A Star At Starlink

As IP manager at media agency Starlink, Jaime Onorofski helps clients--including Starbucks, Suzuki and Thomasville--maneuver the ever-shifting interactive media terrain. She believes behavioral targeting will continue its rise as a significant component of online advertising; however, she thinks companies offering behavioral ad networks would do well to help people like her understand what makes them different from their competitors. Behavioral Insider spoke with Jaime about her experiences implementing behavioral targeting for her advertiser clients.

BehavioraI Insider: Which clients of yours are using behavioral targeting?

Onorofski: Well, I can't give out specific names, but I can give you ideas of their categories: automotive, retail, b-to-b, technology and entertainment.

BI: That's a pretty broad array. Do you expect an increase in the use of behavioral targeting?

Onorofski: Definitely, especially in the automotive category. The top third-party auto sites out there give OEMs or Original Equipment Manufacturers like GM or Ford the ability to buy 100 percent of their own inventory, so if someone is going to the Ford model page, Ford has the first right of refusal to buy that inventory. That really closes up opportunities for other OEMs to conquest them and place competitive ads on those pages. So behavioral targeting is becoming big in the automotive space.

In the retail area, what's really great about behavioral targeting is if you get somebody to a confirmation page on a Web site and they don't complete the action that the retailer is trying to get them to complete, then they can be retargeted and that person can be brought back into the site.

....  I think for advertising on the Internet to really work it has to be relevant. So I think behavioral targeting and contextual targeting are going to be so huge moving forward because, for me personally, if I'm looking for a certain product or service and I'm having a difficult time finding it, and a site or an advertiser is able to identify that and target me with an ad that's relevant to what I'm looking for, then as a consumer that's going to make me happy.

BI: A lot of advertisers and behavioral targeting proponents do look at behavioral targeting as a benefit to the consumer. Do you notice more consumer awareness about what behavioral targeting is, and that they are in fact being tracked? And if you are noticing that, are your advertiser clients concerned about it?

Onorofski: ...Clients have asked me if I'm concerned about people who delete their cookies. People do delete their cookies. But I think there isn't such a paranoia just yet that people are like, "I have to delete my cookies everyday," so that advertisers aren't picking things up. There are also software-based advertising companies out there that offer free services in exchange for advertising. Those are the companies that are being hit really hard with legislation because they're not allowing people to know how to get this software off their computer. Some of it can be very tricky.... Those kinds of companies have really jumped on the bandwagon in terms of being cooperative with the laws that have been placed in terms of privacy.

BI: Do advertisers see a difference between that kind of a client-side approach and a publisher-side or network approach to behavioral targeting? What do they see as the pros and cons of each approach?

Onorofski: I wouldn't necessarily say that there are pros and cons. We have one particular client who wants to make sure that if they're going to work with a software-based advertising company, they don't want any of their ads to appear on top of a competitor's Web site. They don't want any consumer backlash, if that consumer is very loyal to that particular product or company. It has to be within three clicks or when they hit a portal page like MSN or Yahoo!

BI: So is there a breakdown between your branding-oriented clients and direct response clients in terms of what type of behavioral technology might work better, or is it more of a campaign-by-campaign thing?

Onorofski: I think it's more of a campaign-by-campaign thing, because different advertisers' goals and objectives are so different. It think that's really how you have to tailor the campaign and how you work with the publisher.

BI: Do you think that consumers are beginning to conflate spyware types of offerings and more accepted adware, because of legislation that's been enacted or proposed? Do you think there's more concern?

Onorofski: There definitely has been a heightened awareness about it on the consumer end. But for the adware companies--I'm not going to say that they're going to go away--but I think there's going to be a little bit less of that in the future because behavioral targeting technology is going to become even stronger without having to have the exchange [of software] for advertising.

BI: You mentioned that for your auto clients, there is less and less inventory that is more endemic contextually. Do you see other advertiser verticals experiencing the same thing?

Onorofski: Not necessarily. I think when it comes to that kind of situation, it really lies with the top verticals like finance, travel, automotive, retail and technology.

BI: Are there any things that you'd like to see these technologies enable that they aren't now, or any gripes about any of the offerings out there?

Onorofski: The struggle with us is there are a lot of networks out there that have some kind of targeting technology, and I think they have to be able to distinguish themselves. Why are they better than another company? There's a lot of similarity out there, and there are some top companies that we look to--but I'm just waiting to see what everybody else does and not be scared to test different things.

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