Interactive ad targeting options

Online ads can be targeted through placing ads:

1 On a particular type of site (or part of site) which has a specific visitor profile or type of content. So a car manufacturer can place ads on the home page of to appeal to a young female audience. A financial services provider can advertise in the money section of the site to target those interested in these products. To reach large mass-market audiences, advertisers can place an ad on a large portal home page such as MSN which has millions of visitors each day (sometimes known as a 'road-block' if they take all ad inventory).

2 To target a registered user's profile. A business software provider could advertise on the FT to target registrants' profiles such as finance directors or IT managers.

3 At a particular time of day or week.

Behavioural ad targeting

Enables an advertiser to target ads at a visitor as they move elsewhere on the site or return to the site, thus increasing the frequency or number of impressions served to an individual in the target market.

4 To follow users' behaviour. Behavioural ad targeting is all about relevance - dynamically serving relevant content, messaging or ad which matches the interests of a site visitor according to inferences about their characteristics. These inferences are made by anonymously tracking the different types of pages visited by a site user during a single visit to a site or across multiple sessions. Other aspects of the environment used by the visitor can also be determined, such as their location, browser and operating system. For example, using software from Revenue Science can identify users in eight segments: Business Education, Institutional Investor, Information Technology, Luxury and Consumer, Management, Personal Finance, Travel and Private Equity. The targeting process is shown in Figure 8.19. First the ad serving system detects whether the visitor is in the target audience (media optimisation), then creative optimisation occurs to serve the best ad for the viewer type.

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