Ad Startup Takes Behavioral Targeting To SMBs
Company founder and CEO Chris Hulse said IPM relies on ad-tags to identify users who are searching for business-related items, and then serves up ads from other sites based on the intent to purchase specific items.
Small and medium-sized business (SMBs) owners who visit a participating IPM site identify themselves as potential buyers through search and navigation behavior. IPM collects this "non-identifiable" data through a pixel in the footer on the page of every site in its network and creates audience segments of buyers with common threads and interests. There are approximately 32 million monthly unique visitors searching across its portfolio of business sites, Hulse said.
Information collected with cookies identifies searches from company computers. IPM stores the data in buckets, or categories, such as "people looking for accounting services for their business."
Matching the ad-tags to ads, South Norwalk, Conn.-based IPM has created about 150 business categories such as payroll and accounting.
"By looking at keywords searched across our network of sites, I know that during the last 20 days, 332,000 people have typed in a keyword that suggests they are about to choose a payroll accounting company for their business," said Hulse, former VP of strategic sales and business development at Business.com. "I take that data and put a 10x frequency cap on it," which means that IPM would show that person an ad up to 10 times in the next 30 days. "The 300,000 people looking for payroll accounting becomes 3 million monthly impressions."
Hulse said that IPM adheres to privacy standards created by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), and consulted experts at behavioral targeting companies Dakota and Revenue Science.
Large companies will spend an estimated $5.3 billion on online B2B advertising in the U.S. during 2009, according to eMarketer. Reaching that market, IPM will rely on backend technology from companies such as Revenue Science to retarget buyers anywhere across its network of 155 publisher sites.
IPM's network of publishers--which includes American City Business Journals' network of more than 60 sites, SBTV.com and StartUpNation.com, among others--can earn a share in revenue generated from ads. Hulse said the company will not sell advertising to sites providing data used to target potential buyers on other sites, but it's important to keep the products top of mind.
"Large businesses began earmarking more of their advertising dollars toward small businesses because many of the large enterprises froze spending," said John Warrillow, founder of Warrillow & Co., Toronto, which provides advisory services to FedEx, Microsoft, and Wells Fargo, among others.
Businesses start looking for products and services long before they make purchases. Buyers don't find products and drop them into a shopping cart and checkout. Typically, purchases occur between 30, 60, or 90 days later. "The clock is ticking," he said. "You need to make sure you're messaging to businesses during this time of consideration."