Are You Maximizing Your Use Of Targeting?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.