That’s according to Richard Mullins, director at Acceleration. He says that increasingly sophisticated technology is turning behavioural targeting into an attractive and powerful tool for marketers who want to extract the maximum value from each advertising Rand.
With behavioural targeting, marketers are empowered to direct their advertising at users based on information inferred from their online behaviour.
Research from Emarketer in the USA indicates that one in every five dollars spent on display advertising in America will be linked to behavioural targeting by 2014, providing an indication of how quickly this technology is gaining traction around the world.
Behavioural targeting isn’t new, but the technology has matured to a point where it easy to use and offers excellent results for marketers that use it in an intelligent manner, says Mullins. In addition, the local online environment is now large enough to provide the volumes of user data needed to profile user behaviour with confidence.
Behavioural targeting solutions enable marketers to use information gathered about users’ online behaviour – such as the pages they have visited or the searches they have conducted – to choose advertisements to display to them.
They can use this information to target the right message at the right user, with the right content. This allows the marketer to target their advertising to people whose online behaviour indicates that they could be acquired as customers or converted to sales, says Mullins.
A simple example is a car dealership that advertises to people who have surfed across a number of websites in an ad network to read car reviews. Based on behaviour and conversion history, the technology allows the car dealership to identify prospective customers and eliminate wastage, by focusing on the segments that deliver the best return on investment, by advertising to people who are actually interested in what they are selling, says Mullins.
Mullins says the real power of behavioural targeting kicks in when companies integrate customer relationship management, Web analytics, merchandising, ad-serving, email marketing and other tools to really understand how their customers and prospects are engaging with them online.
They can, for example, get a view of whether a user is already a customer before serving an ad and tailor their message to new customers and prospective customers. Or they can remarket a special offer to Web users who searched for the product on their Web site before drifting away.
Mullins says that privacy concerns remain an issue in behavioural targeting, although the information behavioural targeting solutions gather cannot generally be used to personally identify end-users. However, he believes that this issue will melt away as consumers are given the choice whether to allow organisations to access their tracking data.
Internet Explorer 9, for example, will have ‘Tracking Protection’ functionality that allows users to manage which organisations have access to their behavioural data.
“We believe that many users will see benefit in seeing adverts that are tailored to their needs and preferences, as will marketers,” says Mullins.
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