B2B content has always been a tough nut to crack when it comes to ad networking. By its very nature, trade publishing has a highly targeted and highly qualified audience that has often paid off handsomely in print. Your endemic advertisers realized incredible efficiencies by allying their brands and messaging with your content, and in many trade categories there were only one or two venues in which to reach that target. One veteran of the b2b biz told me recently that in the good old days of trade publishing, "all you had to do was roll out of bed in …
John Nardone, CEO of [x+1], describes himself as a "marketing geek" who became addicted to the "thrill of innovation." As part of the Internet in the early days, many of his projects were the first of their kind. According to Nardone, "I put the first video ad on the Internet, and the first ad online with sound."
One person who has strong views about the way ad networking environments are evolving is Rich Frankel, president of Rocket Fuel, the ad technology platform that combines multiple targeting approaches. Frankel was part of the team that built Yahoo's behavioral targeting network, so he has been around the block and seen the ad technology stack develop in recent years. For Frankel, the process of planning and executing online is perhaps too complicated for humans. He is a big believer in the role algorithms and automation will play in digital advertising's future.
Thank goodness for the economic downturn. Sounds crazy, right? But without tighter ad budgets, marketers might not have realized the importance of quantifying ad campaigns as quickly as they did. Perhaps that realization also fueled investments in companies with the technology to target marketing and advertising campaigns. In one example of how the recession has been kind to companies focused on behavioral targeting, AudienceScience earlier this week reported securing $20 million in venture capital funding.
As the public profile of online behavioral targeting rises, the search for consumer-friendly ways of addressing the technology, privacy and opt-out procedures accelerates as well. Multiple projects seem to be running in parallel. The IAB is working on standardized ad labeling, explanatory language and procedures that content providers and ad networks can deploy. A number of moving pieces are involved in making this system work, we are told, but some elements are being tested with consumers now. I keep hearing that we will see some evidence of this project on sites and in ads sometime early next year.
After fielding numerous emails about Web page tag containers that feed real-time data into dashboards, I went back to TagMan to get the scoop. TagMan cofounder Jonathan Baron tells me Virgin Atlantic is testing the company's container that can hold everything from behavioral targeting tags to analytics. Although unconfirmed by Virgin, Baron says the plan will take the technology live across 25 Virgin Atlantic Web sites worldwide on Nov. 4.
Ask anyone whether he or she wants advertising wrapped around a TV show, slipped atop a Web page or crammed into massive blocks of radio air-time, and the answer is now, and always has been, a resounding, "no." And yet we live in and buy into a mediaverse that remains supported fundamentally by the practices we say we don't like. If such surveys of consumer attitudes towards advertising are to be believed, then Americans immerse themselves in experiences and environments that on some level they resent because of the horrors of advertising. What are we to make of such anomalies? …
Marketers have been searching for ways to improve data collection an management since discovering the Internet holds promise for online advertising and behavioral targeting. Some of those promises are found in casual conversations. So, I keep my ear to the ground. And when I hear a company's chairman talk about an industry in need of a specific technology, an application to solve the need is likely on the way.
"Discovery" has become one of the Web 2.5 buzzwords over the last year, though I have to admit the word enjoys the benefit of fuzziness. Nailing down precisely how, where and when people are to "discover" what they need rather than just search for it is a challenge.