According to a recent study published by Datran Media, 65 percent of marketers said they use or plan to use behavioral targeting, while 74 percent said they believe such targeting is effective. With more advertisers jumping on the bandwagon, I met with Datran Media's Scott Knoll, SVP and general manager of display to discuss the company's service and the behavioral targeting industry.
Anna Papadopoulos: With all the various behavioral targeting platforms emerging, what makes Datran Media distinct?
Scott Knoll: At its core, Datran Media is a digital marketing technology company powered by data. Datran's Aperture platform leverages Datran Media's vast online marketing database. Furthermore, our solution is not just limited to online surfing or survey data. We combine the best of this data with third-party-verified household-level demographic, psychographic, and transactional information to create a very broad and accurate repository of data. Most importantly, we have built a flexible platform to allow marketers and publishers to not only target these unique data sets but also gain critical insights into the types of people who are viewing, clicking, converting, or engaging in their messages.
AP: What kinds of behavior do you target? How granular can you get?
SK: Aperture can target all the traditional behavioral categories, such as consumers in market for automobiles or travel, online shoppers, mothers, etc. However, instead of relying on self-reported demographic data, we leverage third parties to verify our demographic data. Furthermore, we work with industry data leaders to target vertical specific data sets in finance, retail, automotive, etc.
AP: Where does your analytics platform come in?
SK: Because we have more verified household data against our cookies than any other provider, we are able to offer clients unique insights not only to the type of consumer seeing the ads but in a much more granular fashion. For example, we are able to see the same level of reporting that we see against impression for clicks, interactions, and conversion. The ability to provide verified household data against converting customers, which can then be retargeted from, has been a key component to our clients' campaigns.
AP: How do you set up quantifiable metrics to gauge success (or failure)?
SK: Obviously, this depends on the goals of the campaigns. Because we are still a relatively new solution in the marketplace, we are seeing clients run campaigns where the goals are simply to better understand their audiences. We see this typically in the [consumer packaged goods] space where advertisers are not necessarily selling products online but need to better target audience and measure them. That being stated, we do have our share of clients which look to back-end performance. Where we've seen success in helping our agency partners is once an audience profile is confirmed as a core converter, we can then help them retarget that audience across our cookie network, helping them both minimize wasted media and fulfill an object for a number of campaigns.
AP: What do you see as your limitations right now or what are the top three challenges you face or hear from advertisers?
SK: There are inherent limitations when you're a first-of-its-kind solution. We have a lot of education to do in the marketplace, a lot of testing, but remain confident in our ability to help clients achieve new insights and media efficiency. Our clients are telling us they need two things: better targeting and better measurement. It's incredible how common a theme this seems to be across the buying and measurement communities. What's exciting for us is the Aperture platform provides solutions across both of the aforementioned challenges that agencies and clients are facing.
AP: Let's talk privacy. How do we go about treating consumer privacy while still making this work for marketers?
SK: In light of the new behavioral targeting guidelines issued by the FTC [Federal Trade Commission], we go to great lengths to protect consumer privacy. From the disclosure and choice side, we require that all of our partners include prominent disclosures around dropping the Aperture cookie and, at the same point in time, provide consumers with the ability to opt out of Aperture targeting. Additionally, we only retain data for 12 months, putting us at the very low end for data retention. Finally, we designed our solution with input from the nation's leading privacy law firm; this allowed us to build a robust network with built-in privacy safeguards, ensuring consumer's PII [personally identifiable information], or data tantamount to PII, is protected and kept out of the behavioral targeting world.
AP: What is the selection process for your ad network partners?
SK: We work with the top 2,000 Web properties. Since we are buying audiences and not necessarily sites, we are working with vendors who can help us efficiently and in the most scalable way possible reach our verified audience.
AP: Where do you see all this going in the next 12 months, and what will your role be in it?
SK: We believe that Aperture has a big opportunity to become the premiere audience measurement platform on the Web. No one else has our breadth, depth, and scale of data, and we believe that this solution could soon become the industry standard for agencies, marketers, and publishers.
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Based in New York, Anna Papadopoulos has held several digital media positions and has worked across many sectors including automotive, financial, pharmaceutical, and CPG.
An advocate for creative media thinking and an early digital pioneer, Anna has been a part of several industry firsts, including the first fully integrated campaign and podcast for Volvo and has been a ClickZ contributor since 2005. She began her career as a media negotiator for TBS Media Management, where she bought for media clients such as CVS and RadioShack. Anna earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from St. John's University in New York.
Anna's ideas and columns represent only her own opinion and not her company's.
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