Commentary Speeds Up Targeting

On Wednesday, CEO Frost Prioleau said the company will begin to target consumers on real-time bidding inventory per impression immediately after a search. He said early tests show this feature provides four to 10 times the conversions created by traditional 30-day search retargeting. The company also will provide reports, so advertisers can see exactly how their search retargeting campaigns perform throughout the process.

Targeting isn't the goal, but rather the road to the goal. Data supports the goal. Accurate targeting improves relevancy, creates awareness and drives conversions. Advertisers, however, need to look for audiences that pay attention and respond. Take the process one step at a time. There's a lot at stake, according to eMarketer Principal Analyst David Hallerman, who estimates the market for display advertising at $22 billion in 2015, up from $12 billion.

In a recent webinar, Hallerman said the trends point to targeting and improving audience segmentation. And while targeting may become more sophisticated, holes exist in today's strategies. For starters, targeting means trying to predict human behavior and attitudes, and marketers simply can't reduce human interactions and behavior to algorithmic formulas.



Hallerman points to data from Millennial Media that estimates the use of behavioral targeting on mobile devices in the U.S. at a mere 12%, compared with local market targeting at 42%, and demographic targeting at 46%. He believes the trend toward shying away from behavioral targeting ads on mobile devices will likely shift.

Targeting can help reach the correct audience, but it's important to consider the importance of reach vs. deeper engagement, Hallerman said. As marketers design targeting campaign, marketers should use a variety of targeting technologies; confirm that the data is accurate; consider social data; and test, test, test to get targeting to work best, he said.

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