Q Thoughts

The Only Behavior Advertisters Care About

We’ve been participating in and watching the rise of behavioral targeting very closely.

Behavioral Targeting is one of the latest techniques for targeting online advertising. The idea is to focus on individuals, and their actions, rather than relying on site demographics.
As typically used by the leading Behavioral Targeting firms, the online browsing behavior of consumers is grouped into segments that are intended to tells an advertiser more precisely what will appeal to consumers. Targeting advertising based on what consumers actually do rather than just on broad demographic profiles that may, or may not, be applicable to a specific individual is clearly a step in the right direction. However, is it enough?

One of the key problems with behavioral targeting as applied thus far is that it is still based on inferring consumer interest and behavior based on what web sites they visited. The Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122185992094758237.html) dramatically illustrated the problem with this approach in an article where the reporter attempted to determine how successfully she was profiled by behavioral targeters. According to her, Revenue Science, one of the leading behavioral targeters, identified her as a married homemaker “who probably trades stocks and buys expensive clothes and boats.” In reality, according the reporter, she is:

“24, single and I live in a cramped New York City apartment where my television sites on top of my refrigerator. I sometimes dog-sit for extra spending money and have never bought or sold a single stock. As for luxury boats, the closest I’ve come to one most recently was during a run past a yacht club in St. Petersburg, Florida.”

The disconnect is between what consumers read and the sites they visit and their actual buying behaviors. As illustrated by the story above, the actual buying behavior is radically different from the browsing behavior.

At OwnerIQ we’ve taken a more refined approach to behavioral targeting. Rather than focus on browsing behavior, OwnerIQ focuses on what people actually own. This allows us to see and target segments clearly as OwnerIQ focuses on the only behavior that truly matters to an advertiser in the end: what consumers actually spend their money on.

Categories:Posts from 2008


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