Behavioural Advertising Fundamentals

Your 2-minute guide to effective display advertising

By Rhian Harris

Have you ever seen adverts online that are either so totally relevant to what you’re into, or perhaps related to something you’ve recently been looking for online?

Well, the chances are you’re being shown an advert based on your online profile or browsing behaviour.

‘Behavioral Targeting’ refers to a form of online display advertising via website publishers and advertisers which allows them to increase the effectiveness of their media campaigns through the data capture generated by the behaviour of page visitors.

Put simply, when a user visits a web site a profile of that ‘person’ is created. It is anonymous i.e. no personal data is collected, but it is possible to build a picture of pages visited, dwell time on each page, links clicked on, searches made and products interacted with. Behavioral data can then be used on its own or can be added to other targeting factors such as geography, demographic or context of a web page content to identify the most effective audience for advertisements.

Advertisers can then use this data to display campaign creative on a purely behavioural model, to re-target users of a site who have already demonstrated interaction with a product, or based on the context of a page.

Examples of this in the real world might be to:

  • Target other users that look like shoppers who have previously bought the new England rugby kit from the website
  • Retarget users who have added the latest One Direction CD to their carts, but who have not checked out
  • Target readers of a cruise blog with creative advertising the launch of a new ship

You can see from this therefore that the advertising will not only be more efficient as it targets ‘lookalike’ consumers in the most relevant environments to their online behaviour, but it is also more cost effective as the media is not being sold at a premium on a specified placement basis.

The IAB recently reported a £294 million increase in online ad spend in the first half of 2012, with display accounting for 23% of all digital advertising and this Christmas is set to be no exception. Investment into display this quarteris predicted to continue with retargeting playing an integral part of the marketing mix.

Take a look at this quick video guide to how behavioural advertising works >


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