The Quest for the Perfect Online Ad

Google dominates the online ad world with over a quarter of all online advertising going to it. Its business model is based on search - no surprises there. People come to google to search. When they do Google's ad sense serves them ads matching those search terms. We at CioIndex can attest to the power of this method.

Yahoo, MSN, AOL et. al. have not managed to crack the code on search advertising. They lag in search and want to outflank Google. They are diving into their respective strength - people come to their sites to "do things." Doing things tells us a lot about the inclinations of a person i.e. their behavior. If we know a person's inclination then why not serve them an ad that meets it, irrespective of the content they are browsing at that time. For example, if I am inclined to buy a car, then even if I am on Yahoo finance, serve me ads for cars. Simple but powerful concept.

The problem is that in the process they are stomping on the privacy of people. This behavioral data is collected using cookies on people's computers that track their surfing behavior. There was a time when Americans valued their privacy. But that seems to be a minor problem these days thanks to the post 9/11 atmosphere of fear.

There is a bigger problem though. Search also reveals behavioral data and in my opinion much better and more descriptive indicators. Google can tap into this data but given its commitment to honoring people's privacy it has decided not to. Well, not so far that is.

Is behavioral targeting the wave of the future that will stomp search. I do not believe so. So, let us wait and see.

As you plan your advertising campaigns, there are a few networks this article refers to - Advertising.com and Right Media - that might come in handy should you chose to go the behavioral route.

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Posted on 06/04/2009 by


The Quest for the Perfect Online Ad author sourabhhajela

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