AlmondNet Likes Taste Of Behavioral Targeting

    August 8, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Any ad server can drop an advertisement in front of an Internet user, but AlmondNet wants that opportunity to be relevant as well as timely.

The typical Internet user spends 5 percent of their time online expressing purchase intent behavior. Mike Benedek, VP at behavioral targeting tech firm AlmondNet, also told WebProNews in a phone interview how such users spend 90 percent of their time browsing at content related to that intent.

They aren’t always being served with what might fit best for them as far as advertising goes when they do. The online ad business suffers as well; although premium ad placements generate substantial CPM rates, Benedek said plenty of ads go on display elsewhere for much less than $1/CPM.

This represents the significant challenge for ad networks, in monetizing all across their reach rather than at a handful or less of peak sites. To do better, behavioral targeting promises better relevance in ad delivery across the Internet.

Some verticals, like auto and travel, experience success now with behavioral targeting, even though Benedek classified the field as being in the first or second inning of a long ball game. The market is evolving toward a profile-based medium, he said.

When it gets there, advertisers will be able to buy faces, after a fashion, rather than spaces for ads. Given last year’s heightened awareness of behavioral targeting, we asked just how much of a face such an approach might get.

Benedek said AlmondNet, like its fellow Network Advertising Initiative members, fully complies with principles and opt-out processes aimed at keeping personally identifiable information out of the mix of details used for behavioral targeting.

In its place comes non-persistent cookies, expiring after a period of time, that help deliver the targeted ad to people across an ad network as they travel from place to place. Time sensitivity matters greatly in complementing relevance, as a more recent site visit may indicate stronger intent to buy.

To avoid the big hammer of federal regulation, AlmondNet and others will adhere to meaningful and enforceable self-regulation, like working only with partners who scrub personally identifiable info out of data used to build behavioral targeting solutions.

Gaining consumer trust will go a long way toward progress in behavioral targeting. People very much want to see content related to their interests, and advertising falls into that space.