On Monday I spent much of the day at the OMMA Behavioral conference in New York City. It was a well-attended event, which was no surprise. Behavioral Targeting (BT) is one of the most effective, fastest growing, and yet misunderstood and controversial tools in online advertising today. The event was also extremely well-run, so kudos to the OMMA team.
I had the opportunity to moderate a panel on integrating Video and BT. While my panelists agreed that BT making an impact on video is likely 12-36 months away due to scale and technology challenges (yes, I asked for predictions), the ride there will undoubtedly be interesting. There are already some companies doing interesting things in the space by aggregating video viewing patterns and then plugging them into recommendation engines, for instance.
Attendees had the chance to learn how some of the key industry players including James Kiernan (MediaVest), Joe Weaver (MediaStorm) and Molly Hop (Critical Mass) are utilizing BT to drive results for advertisers as diverse as P&G, Fox and Mercedes-Benz. However, much of the day’s conversation centered on privacy, regulation and policy issues, whether it was the focus of the panel or not. The FTC’s recent interest in BT practices are on everyone’s mind, and it seems like the industry is doing a good job of self-regulation with the IAB looking at updating their BT best practices and examining the NAI initiative.
Revenue Science is taking a stab at industry self-regulation by launching the Behavioral Targeting Standards Consortium (btstandards.org). While I applaud this move towards collaboration and education, there is a mention on the website about audience segmentation. With not having spoken to Jeff Hirsch of Revenue Science about this yet, I am under the impression that this is a move towards standardizing audience segments… and I wonder if that is a step in the right direction for advertisers. The power of BT on a network or publisher platform lies at least partially in its ability to develop custom segments for each advertiser based on real-time and post-campaign analytics. Segmenting auto intenders in one way, for example, does not allow for the nuanced approach that a campaign for Porsche would require. This is something I’d definitely like to hear more about from the participating vendors.
– Eric Franchi, SVP of Media, Undertone Networks