MarketWatch Claims A Targeting First: Combining Behavioral, Workplace User Data

by , Jan 28, 2004, 12:00 AM
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Hoping to learn more about the online behavior and professional affiliation of its visitors--and use that information to reel in a wider range of advertisers--MarketWatch.com has inked an agreement to use Revenue Science's "Switched-On Audience Select" service. As a result, the online financial giant believes it is poised to become the first online publisher to offer ad packages that combine behavioral and workplace targeting.

While that claim may be a bit exaggerated, the partnership with Revenue Science should help MarketWatch do a better job of collecting the data that would-be clients covet. "As a publisher, you owe it to marketers and agencies to help them understand your audience as best you can, both where they are and what they do," says Brian Quinn, CBS MarketWatch's vice president of eastern region ad sales. "This is a big step in that direction."

If all goes as planned, here's how the arrangement should work. The Switched-On Audience Select service will analyze the Web behavior of MarketWatch.com visitors. MarketWatch will then take this information and merge it with data culled from workplace targeting efforts, such as domain names or categories (.gov, .edu, etc.).

"The idea is to present advertisers with very well-qualified user behaviors, and [let them] build media plans off those specific attributes," explains Revenue Science Senior Vice President of Business Development Nick Johnson. "The [online] planning phase is so subjective. What we're trying to do is start with the core user attribute, rather than trying to make a qualitative assessment about where those users might reside."

In using the combination of behavioral and workplace targeting techniques, MarketWatch is hoping to make itself a more appealing venue for business-to-business advertisers, relatively few of which have shown more than occasional interest in the company's online properties. "A huge number of people in the [financial services] business--traders from Goldman Sachs, financial planners, you name it--use the site every day," explains Quinn. "Once we're able to turn this [technology] on, we're going to be able to offer a compelling b-to-b audience to advertisers."

By way of example, Quinn points to Fidelity Investments, one of MarketWatch's biggest advertisers. "They have an institutional services group that we've never even called on," he says. "So many of these b-to-b advertisers who are mostly in the trades [magazines] right now, there's no reason they can't be with us and still reach so much of their audience."

Similarly, Quinn notes that online brokerages are among MarketWatch's largest advertisers. Letting the companies know precisely how people in the financial business navigate around the MarketWatch site--for instance, that visitors read an average of five news stories before accessing their online trading accounts--should give them a better foundation of information upon which to base their advertising decisions.

MarketWatch becomes the fourth publisher to employ the Switched-On Audience Select service, joining fellow online financial giant Dow Jones on Revenue Science's client roster.

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