The digital advertising industry pays a lot of lip service to consumer "opt-out" but we rarely see evidence of ad networks or publishers making these options very visible. We've all probably popped a blood vessel or two trying to discern the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of e-mail newsletters and offers. But what if advertisers saw the opt-out process as the opportunity to initiate a conversation with the consumer? <
Mojiva CEO Dave Gwozdz and I had an interesting conversation last week after Twitter announced it would allow developers to write applications that embed a person's latitude and longitude in tweets. He referred to the overused example of someone walking by an automobile storefront and getting served up a mobile phone ad for a shiny Lexus, black on black, convertible. Actually, I added the car name. He provided the example.
ValueClick VP of targeting and optimization Joshua Koran is one of the made members of the BT (that's "behavioral targeting") mafia, one of the minds behind Yahoo's behavioral engine for a number of years before coming to ValueClick in 2007. The ad server and performance ad network is not always known for its BT initiatives, so Koran brought us up to speed on their offerings. But in the process, we asked him to reflect a bit on some of the basics of BT, the major models and challenges marketers face in unraveling the complexity.
Talking about behavioral targeting and retargeting reminds me a little of stepping into a Cold Stone Creamery ice cream store. There are as many BT definitions as there are ice cream flavors. And Cold Stone Creamery creates the "ultimate consumer experience" by allowing patrons to design their own personalized ice cream flavor with toppings that range from Oreo cookie crumbs to strawberry and blueberries. BT companies serve up ads online to provide each consumer a tailor-made experience based on past clicks and downloads.
The newly re-launched DailyMe.com is bringing the notion of transparency in a new direction by letting readers of its aggregated news service see how the behavioral tracking models work.
Consumer intent is extremely difficult to prove, even with the correct data to analyze it. Last week I wrote about BT companies merging in-store cash register data with online cookie data to better understand consumer buying trends. Let's take the concept one step further and add data that suggests consumer intent. The reality is closer than you might think.
As we explored in our Grill the Vendors panel at last week's OMMA Behavioral, the "optimization layer" of the ad network value chain has come on strong this year as companies like Rubicon Project and AdMeld help publishers squeeze the most revenue from a depressed CPM market. These companies help publishers find in real time the most lucrative opportunity among their ad networks in order to maximize the value of their remnant inventory. In the next few months, however, we are likely to see more companies emerge that optimize on the buy side to ensure campaigns are executing more efficiently.
Integrating loyalty card data collected by brick-and-mortar retail stores will become the next move in retargeting ads to consumers online. That's the buzz from last week's OMMA Behavioral in San Francisco. Some BT companies are merging that data with online cookie data to better understand consumer buying trends.
Like the most effective behaviorally targeted ads themselves, which often appear out of context, I was most impressed by the progress BT has made while hosting OMMA AdNets last week, two days before OMMA Behavioral. I was getting "déjà vu all over again" while listening to those panels on the new agency involvement in ad technology, the ongoing debate between publishers and ad networks, and the increasingly sophisticated uses of data layers to improve targeting.