Behaviorally Targeted Ads

Jeremy Liew has a number of great posts on behavioral targeted ads

First some background. Liew points out the number of sites people visit has grown dramatically in the past 5 years, at the same time the top 10 domains are getting an increasing proportion of total internet page views.

On the surface this suggests that many sites are losing the revenue battle if their business model is based page view volume alone. It’s not so simple though. Many of these new sites target small niches and moreover sell ad space as part of an ad network capable of targeting specific user interest (and behaviors) across a number of sites. 

Essentially they do what networks have always done – aggregate audience. And the outcome is the same for advertisers – it’s easy to place ads across multiple channels (websites) – except now they are not buying a location or demographic but users with specific interests. As Leiw says:

“This is, in a sense, a “hack” to true contextual targeting, but it has the advantage of being simple to understand and hence simple to sell to advertisers.”

What’s interesting is that the value of page views on these behavioral sites is worth significantly more than on general sites, or even those that sell aggregated characteristics of their audience (ie demographics). For an example of how much more download Liew’s presentation at this years’ Web 2.0 Expo.

What’s interesting is that this type of targeting delivers. Pepsi saw a 3x increase in ad clicks as a result of their behavioral campaign.  It’s no wonder that with that type of results that behavioral targeting is set for growth.


In his latest post Liew teases out how value flows between the various components of the network – which certainly provides food for thought if you’re thinking of launching a site (or sites) and want to capture the most value.

What interest me is how social media components (referral, recommendation etc) can increase the value even more – linking placement and discussion together.