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Behavioural Marketing – the end of the ABC1’s?

Posted on 29th March 2009 in Insight
Written by: Andy Wickes

Ever wished you could target your latest online ad for a glassware solely at people in the market for a glassware? Of course you have. And with the correct investment, now you can. It’s called behavioural marketing, and it is set to turn the online advertising world on it’s head.

At it’s core behavioural marketing targets online ads at consumers based on their recent search history, or on their history of visited sites. Their ‘behaviour’ online. This information is anonymously collected and used to predict future buying habits. In short, the advertiser is able to display their creative to consumers who have recently expressed an interest in that product or service. Technology to the rescue again.

So far so good – the advertiser is happy as they are delivered a far greater ROI with behavioural marketing compared with relying purely on a marketeers choice. Sometime up to to 20% more. And the owner of the networks providing this data (Adlink, Tacoda and Omniture to name the current big 3) are delighted as they are able to provide relevant advertising content to it’s visitors.

So what’s the problem? Well, many companies still remain reluctant to adopt behavioural marketing due to a perceived loss of control they have over their brand online. If I buy a banner on an industry site I know where it will appear, when it will appear, and to a degree what content will appear alongside my creative. And it is this control that is necessarily surrendered when behavioural marketing is employed. Unsurprisingly there are myriad sites on the web where your next customer is shopping, and your ad could appear on anyone of them.

So what does it come down to? We appreciate the importance of ABC1 and the control this gives us. But we are also aware that you don’t talk to one ABC1 consumer in the same way as you talk to another. As Blake Chandlee from Yahoo UK & Ireland said:

“George Bush and Mick Jagger are both ABC1’s, but you’d never talk to them in the same way. We know from behaviour that Mick Jagger is much more in the market for an electric guitar and George Bush for something else.”

The decision, as they say, is yours.