Thinking Outside The Context For Ad Targeting

    October 16, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

It’s conceivable that when targeting a demographic, tunnel vision could become an issue.

For instance, you’re a bookseller, which means you choose avenues that get you to the reader, but you may not think to target travelers, or perhaps night security workers – you know, people that read often, but may not fit the obvious.

Blue Lithium, or BL Labs, recently conducted an analysis of 400 million ad impressions, evaluating their click-through rates (CTR) and the action-through rates (ATR) across behavioral categories.

The study found that though in-context behavioral ads typically had a CTR, out-of-context advertisements (or, perhaps better, peripheral) often had a better ATR, or action taken after the initial click.

“Ads that were shown out of context converted 19 percent higher than behaviorally targeted ads shown in context,” writes Chris Richardson at the WebProBlog. “So in other words, be creative with your ad targeting and new leads should follow!”

For instance, though those in the “shoppers” category showed the highest CTR from ads on career sites, the most action was taken from ads appearing on female-oriented sites.

This could make sense if you think that job-seekers just dream about the new stuff they can get if they get that new job.

They don’t actually have the means to buy that cashmere sweater just yet. Women with credit cards at the ready, however, are a different story altogether.

Similarly, though users in the “travelers” category may click most often from food sites, the highest action rate came from career sites.

Is that because they are moving or planning to move to find that next great job? Did a spouse get relocated?

“Behavioral targeting is one of the most effective techniques in driving conversions, but what this study reveals is that pre-packaged audience segments and automated rules-based targeting may not capture the full benefits of behavioral targeting,” said Alyson Yaffe, media supervisor for Media Contacts.

“Instead, ad networks need to focus on custom segmentation and data analysis to optimize the nuances of behavioral targeting for each campaign. This type of real life data is a huge help for marketers and agencies.”


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