10 Things You Need to Know About Behavioral Targeting

Behavioral target marketers may be walking into a pit of snakes, and they hate snakes

1. Analytics will get more insightful. "You can expect deeper insights into campaign performance, richer quality data sets and predictive segments based on nonintuitive behaviors," says Lawrence Allen II, senior vice president of business development and marketing at TACODA.

2. BT capability will expand to more devices. "People will start to figure out how to move to any device," says Marla Schimke, vice president of marketing for Revenue Science. "Mobile is first, but we shouldn't limit ourselves there." Revenue Science is testing BT on cell phones in Japan.

3.Lack of standards will persist. As more solutions providers and publishers try to get in on the behavioral targeting game, let the buyer beware. There will be more definitions - not fewer - and inconsistencies in the way BT is offered.

4.Inventory will continue to expand. The addition of Yahoo, AOL and Facebook's BT offerings is just the beginning of a growth trend. As BT moves into the online mainstream, expect more portals and publishers to get on board.

5. You'll have more insight prior to your campaign launch. Recently, Publicis Modem tested collecting data on a client site about three weeks prior to a BT campaign launch. "You're actually looking at a few weeks' worth of behavioral data of your existing customers and finding people who do the same thing on your site prior to the media launch, rather than having to wait after the launch until you have enough campaign data to review," says Christine Benson, vice president and director of media.

6. Public scrutiny will increase. The more widely developed and implemented BT becomes, the more it draws the ire of privacy advocates, who, in turn, capture the attention of federal regulators, who will question whether there is a need for oversight (see 10 Things You Need to Know About Regulation, pg. 34).

7. As use of BT grows, educating consumers will become paramount. "Consumer reaction to BT is both positive and negative, but some people don't understand that they're going to get an ad anyway and wouldn't it be better to get one that's relevant? They're frustrated with the Big Brother element. So the more educated they are about the benefits of BT, the happier they will be," says Coleen Kuehn, executive vice president and chief strategist at MPG.

8. You'll be able to make more decisions based on real, rather than assumed, behavior. "The most exciting thing about BT is we can get a tighter targeting parameter that reflects what people are doing versus what we think they're doing," says Benson. "We're not making assumptions."

9. Cross-selling, up-selling and brand- switching strategies will improve. Eliminating waste is important, but you also can capitalize on key lifestyle or behavioral moments. "You can reach out to someone who's buying a car, for instance, with offers for insurance, oil, tires ... send them messages about how often they should be getting a tune-up, or even try to switch them to a different car brand than what they've been looking at," says Kuehn.

10. Behavioral targeting won't help you match the right medium to the right customer - yet.For the foreseeable future, BT won't tell you whether it would be most effective to deliver someone a rich media banner ad, a streaming video or a skyscraper. But they're working on it.

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