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Behavior Targeting

By Steve Tsai, Managing Editor, Internet Journal

Editor's note: This is part one of the Internet marketing series.

One of the more interesting sessions at Web2.0 Expo at Mascone Center West in San Francisco this week is the behavior targeting presented by Nayfeh of Revenue Science based in Seattle, WA.

According to Nayfeh, Google's ad success is based on ranking pages, but pages remain a proxy for people. Google does contextual ad placement. It sends high context ads to high context pages. However, high context ads do not necessary mean high value ads. Low context pages can deliver high value ads. The key concept is that we need to follow the reader and understand the reader behavior and intent. The ad should be relevant to the person, not the page. Behavior is tracked not by the context of a single page but by activities that may span multiple sessions. This tracking enables us to determine his behavior and intent.

Behavior targeting enables marketers to engage people directly. Behavior targeting complements search and connects marketers directly with their target audiences while delivering a richer online experience. With behavioral targeting, marketers don't buy space—they reach interested people regardless of where they are.

Behavioral targeting collects and measures people's interests and intent through their Web behaviors—the sites they visit, the articles they read, and the searches they make. This non-personally identifiable information is parsed and stored in massive data warehouses. They are segmented into qualified audiences that can be reached anywhere online.

He gave an example of a reader of Washington Post site. Since the reader needs to login to read the articles, there is some information about the reader that we can track.

In order to do behavior targeting, the first step is to generate reader profile.

This is done by tracking sections visited and number of page views, keywords and phrases consumed, searches made, demographics information, and IP addresses indicating industry SIC, fortune rank, domain, and geographic location.

1. Tracking audiences by content read

The reader goes to web site get daily news. Tracking is vital to proper targeting and playing to their interests is the key to success. The reader click on the tab cars to learn more about SUVs, learning their behavior is a part of the process. Understanding is the key to proper targeting.

2. Tracking audiences by sections read

Audience chooses the experts and advices of the car section. We begin to see that he is gathering the information to make a potential purchase. By selecting a specialized section, we begin to understand his motives. Knowing where he is going is crucial to understanding the choices he will make in the future.

The reader frequently return to the Web site and reads several auto related articles in a short time. The pattern begins to emerge making targeting more effective. Identifying these patterns is vital to success.

3. Deeper targeting

Deeper targeting is done by time, industry sector, demographic, geographic, and topics. For example:

    Day parting serves ads at the specific time of the day.
    SIC industry sector targeting tracks the individuals by SIC classification index who have the most relevance and impact on your company
    Demographic targeting allows advertisers to focus online ads on subscribers who have the desirable demographics such as profession, industry, company size, gender, age group, household income, ethnicity, etc.
    Ticker targeting serves ads by targeting ticker symbols to reach investors who study certain tickers and companies.
    Geo targeting selects target by zip code, country, and time zone.
    Topic targeting serves ads to individuals based on specific topics they research or visit on the site.

4. Targeting using search data

The reader searches for 2007 SUV indicating they are narrowing the field. As the field narrows, effective targeting becomes crucial. The reader is becoming more focused. Giving you an idea on what his is looking for.

5. Targeting audiences across the web

Even if he is reading non auto-related contents on the Web he is served with auto related ads. These out of context ads serve to break through the clutter and increase brand awareness. This is very effective here. By eliminating the clutter, we can target with precision. Because of the behavior observed, the reader is targeted with an SUV ad. Since we know more about the reader, we can target more effectively. This is crucial part of the strategy.

6. Reaching the reader

We know now that the reader starts reading the car section of the daily news site, conducts deep research, returns to the site repeatedly reading a variety of auto contents. He then searches for 2007 SUV narrowing his intent, is shown SUV targeted ads from his daily news site and across the web. Based on his behavior observed, he is target with an SUV ad.

7. Making the sale

Using the information we know we can now showing the right message to the right person at the right stage of the sales process: brand awareness, message association, brand favorability, and purchasing intent.

The sales process is also called the sales funnel. The reader goes from brand favorability to more understanding of the product resulting in the purchase.

The reader navigates to a new site and is delivered a relevant car ad in a non contextual environment. He clicks on the ad and is taken to the dealer's web site. Where he will fill out a form to be contacted by the nearest dealership to schedule a test drive.

This is a win-win strategy. The reader wins because the ad served is relevant to his interest. The marketer wins because he catches the attention of an interested in market car buyer. Success is assured by keeping the reader targeted through all stages of the process.

About The Author
Steve Tsai is the Managing Editor of the
Internet Journal Internet Journal provides the insights and analysis on Internet marketing, eCommerce, mobile communications, eSecurity, and global e-Business. If you have any comments about Internet Journal, please send email to


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