Behavioral targeting (BT) is a hot topic among interactive marketers. After slow growth for several years, use of the technology grew 50 percent, from 16 percent of interactive marketers in 2007 to 24 percent in 2008.
That's according to a new report from Emily Riley, senior analyst at Forrester Research, Five Ways To Improve The ROI Of Your Behavioral Targeting Campaigns. With more ad networks offering BT now than ever before, use likely will increase again in 2009.
So behavioral marketers have a double challenge on their hands: staying ahead of the increasing competition while improving ROI in a tough economy.
The report laid out the following five best practices to enhance BT campaign performance:
1. Pick one objective, and share it with networks. Behavioral targeting providers are happy to create a campaign for a brand objective or a direct response objective, but not both. To maximize performance, decide on one objective, and stick with it. To achieve multiple objectives, marketers must create multiple campaigns.
2. Build in a testing period. The first few months of any behavioral campaign should be considered a testing period, where target segments are refined.
3. Use site data. Too often, advertisers don’t incorporate their own proprietary data into BT campaigns. It can be as simple as pixeling their own Web sites for remarketing purposes or as advanced as using database matching to target existing high-value customers. In each case, behavioral campaigns that use this additional data typically perform much better than those without data.
If marketers’ own data is not robust enough, there’s additional data on the market. The ad network Adconion, for example, recently partnered with data reseller BlueKai to enable dynamic targeting for clients who might not have robust data of their own or who want to expand their reach. Other companies offering third-party data are TARGUSinfo and Extreme Reach.
4. Use dynamic ad serving. Few marketers produce specific creatives for their BT campaigns, which means they’re missing golden opportunities to put the right messages in front of the target audience.
For marketers who make their own or don’t have the budget for a creative agency to do it, networks such as Specific Media offer in-house creative services that include dynamic ad serving. These ad networks can piece together hundreds of versions of a creative in real time, with no loss of quality. For example, an auto company can send images of different cars and trucks to be automatically served in an ad based on what vehicles the target customer has been researching.
5. Share success metrics. Telling your ad network how you’re judging its performance and sharing those performance metrics is the surest way to succeed as partners.