Are You Maximizing Your Use Of Targeting?

Many Web buys are bought on an impression basis. The majority of those are CPM buys. For those of you brought up in the TV economy, this is akin to making all buys on a household basis, which is what was done way back in the '60s.

Today, many sellers have packages where they talk about targeting, including behavioral and contextual. Below I will try to summarize the various types of targeting that are available now and will be available in the near future. The concept here is that the Web needs to be bought like other media -- not just on a CPM impressions basis, but on a CPM targeted impressions basis. What method of targeting you use should be resolved at the media objective stage.

Types of Targeting

Demographic
The first and most standard type of targeting is demographic. Think U.S. census here. It's fairly standard to develop a demographic target analysis in the media planning stage using information from sources like MRI, Simmons, NetRatings @Plan and comScore Media Metrix Plan Metrix. From there you can establish a percent composition for each site you are examining and compute a CPM based on your Demographic target impressions rather than CPM total impressions.

Product Usage
In the magazine world, it is possible for us to compute the number of people in the audience who use the client's product. This data can be used two ways: 1) To do CPMs against product usage target impressions or 2) To establish a proxy demographic target and then target demographically. There is no reason that this cannot be done using the Web resources outlined above.

Sociographic/Lifestyle (Psychographic)
This is a commonly misused term. Psychographics have to do with how people feel about things. Common usage has been to say psychographics when you mean lifestyle metrics, which are really sociographic measures. Whatever you call it, it can be an effective alternative proxy to product usage, especially if your product is not in the tables but you can describe your target through other products and services they use. For instance, if you knew that someone rode a bicycle to work, ate granola and hiked on the weekends, you use this as a proxy for other health food categories, etc.

Contextual
The use of the word contextual is fairly new, but the practice has been in place forever. It is common to run schedules in endemic media. Beauty products in Glamour. Music in Rolling Stone, etc. On the web, there is a lot of contextually appropriate content that is not obvious from the title of the site. Networks and site can leverage their technology to ensure not only that you are in the contextually appropriate place, there is technology from companies like ClickFacts who can ensure that you don't run in places you don't want to be in.

Behavioral
A big deal on the Web. This is the ability to track what someone has been doing and serve up the appropriate ad. Advantage: you get advertising that is relevant to what consumers have been looking at on the Web. Disadvantage: It is all based on history and consumers may have already solved that problem and moved on. Still, research from Tacoda and others shows that behavioral targeting works.

Relevancy
This is my own term for what Quantcast has been talking about. (I considered calling it propinquity, but thought that too esoteric). Given that they have the ability to identify the people coming to a page of a Web site and find those people (and those like them) within inventory on the Web, media buyers and sellers hope to facilitate buys using this type of targeting in the next year. We're already tagging out client campaigns and finding out the difference between those in the publisher audience we thought we bought, vs. those who are actually served ads on the publisher site, vs. those who engage with our client's ads (wouldn't you like to know the demographic difference of those who click through vs. those who view through?) and those who actually perform an action on the site.

Social
This is another "next big thing." Turns out that the power of social media like Facebook, MySpace and others may not be in the pages but in the connectivity. In 2009, we expect a number of contenders to roll out that will take advantage of this connectivity. Think of it as a "birds of a feather" approach. If you know that certain people are in your target, and you could identify people who had multiple connections to your known target, why wouldn't you want to reach out to them in your advertising, too?

There are other tools, of course. Geographic overlays are one. You can combine geography with almost any kind of targeting. Another is retargeting vs. those who have visited your site but not bought. This has proven to be most effective.

Whatever methods you are using, make it conscious at the plan level, rather than just being sold whatever targeting the seller has come up with. Targeting can take you a long way toward success in ROI.

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5 comments about "Are You Maximizing Your Use Of Targeting?".
  1. Errol Menke from Smart Talk Media , December 2, 2008 at 5:21 p.m.

    interesting just how critical it is to know all this when using the Web and how totally inaccurate the reality is from the effort to make it real.
    live events is a much more accurate, specific, exacting means of gettting the return for any form of results targeting you seek.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , December 2, 2008 at 5:23 p.m.

    Your basics of targeting are basic rules in advertising since the beginning of advertising. Now there are more communications means to the sales, i.e., profit ends. We always need to reminded so we don't slip off target. Don't stop targeting our needs.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , December 2, 2008 at 7:39 p.m.

    One more thing to add: Translation of targeting. Just last evening I bought an item on line for a 13 year old young man as a holiday/birthday gift. There is a 99.999% chance I will never buy anything else on that sight (nothing wrong with their site or products, just not ever for me or special for anything else). Now, they are spending their hard earned money to invest to target me on my email account. It is non-offensive advertising, but this is all waste. Even to the next step...if I ever was looking for a particular item, I would search for the item rather than the advertiser's business as that is how I found their business in the first place. No doubt, I am not alone.

  4. Karen Goulet from MediaMuse , December 3, 2008 at 9:45 a.m.

    I have a couple comments here. First, I would correct you that sociographic (as you call it) or lifestyle targeting is used as a proxy for brand affinity - not product usage. The process may include product criteria but what differentiates this approach from other targeting efforts is the inclusion of brand attributes in the development of a target universe that can be quantified and queried for all types of media usage. I see this target as a "communications target" vs. a "media target" which operates more as a buying mechanism used for each individual media channel. The first serves a more strategic role, the later, typically addresses ROI.

  5. Hugh Mcgoran from Turn, Inc , December 16, 2008 at 10:35 a.m.

    Dave, time to include Semantic Targeting on this list. You'll be hearing a lot more about Semantic over the next few quarters as there are several companies that have begun to deliver on the promise (insert shameless self-promo here). It moves beyond contextual and keyword targeting by looking at the whole page meaning and helps mitigate some of the awkward matches that contextual targeting can sometimes provide. Unlike Behavioral it doesn't target IP addresses so no mismatch on shared computers, etc.