July 2007 Behavioral Targeting: Advertising Gets Personal

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Behavioral Targeting: Advertising Gets Personal, July 2007

The Google-DoubleClick, Yahoo!-Right Media, WPP Group-24/7 Real Media and Microsoft-aQuantive deals are all attempts to own the best technology and data-analysis tools for online ad targeting. By serving ads to people based on their online activities, behavioral targeting promises to reach a more engaged audience with fewer ad impressions.

US spending on behaviorally targeted online advertising will soar from $575 million in 2007 to $1 billion in 2008. Driven by advertisers' growing enthusiasm for establishing and building brands on portals and other Web sites, that figure will nearly quadruple to $3.8 billion in 2011.

Having increased by an already impressive 49.8% in 2005, growth in US behaviorally targeted online ad spending became meteoric in 2006, at close to 60%. Next year is likely to be the peak year for gains in this area, with US spending set to soar by nearly 74%, spurred by greater advertiser acceptance, greater publisher support (only about one-third of Web sites currently support behavioral targeting, according to Advertising.com research) and a general surge in online ad spending as a result of the US elections and the Summer Olympic Games.

There is an interest among consumers in receiving more relevant ads. A study by ChoiceStream found that 70% of respondents were interested in receiving personalized advertising via the Internet.


Behavioral targeting in particular depends on a plethora of information stored in cookies about where users surf, how long they stay there, what they click on and the keywords they use to search - prompting many to voice privacy concerns.

According to a survey by TRUSTe and TNS, 67% of consumers configured their browsers to block pop-ups, reject cookies or block Web sites. Meaning that these individuals are unlikely to be tracked or segmented accurately.

When it comes to data about Internet users, advertisers most likely to succeed over time are those who employ transparency of intent, clarity of usage, freedom of choice and mutual understanding of the implicit bargain among consumers, content providers and advertisers.

To find out more about eMarketer’s Behavioral Targeting: Advertising Gets Personal Report, click here.

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