Excite News (via AP) writes about the future of web advertising:
While search engines had success tailoring ads based on what visitors sought, behavioral targeting goes further. Users who check airline prices are obviously travelers. Visit an auto section, and you’re considered a potential car buyer.
The technology’s power is its ability to let advertisers follow visitors around as they click through Web journals, dating services and social networking sites like Friendster – destinations where freeform conversations can be difficult to categorize.
Here’s how targeting technologies generally work:
– They place a data file known as a cookie to identify visitors and keep track of visits to specific content areas, gauging the intensity and timing of the visit (It may take multiple visits within a certain number of days to trigger related ads).
– The cookie data are sometimes combined with the user’s location and demographic data obtained during registration.
– The numeric Internet address can also carry clues about the visitor’s employer or line of work.
Advertisers pay extra for targeting – amounts cited range from 25 percent to 10 times the normal rates – but they get better response from fewer ads.
The companies involved in the behavioral targeting business include Revenue Science, Tacoda Systems and AlmondNet.