Is your targeting dazed and confused? Let's clear things up by defining the five types of targeting.
Expert: Someone who brings confusion to simplicity. --Gregory Nunn
Eight years ago, before getting into digital media, I worked as a media negotiator at a New York buying shop. It was my first job out of college and I desperately needed a stable income (my student loans had reared their ugly heads). Like most people entering media, I had no background or understanding of the profession. I spent the first few years buying spot radio and television for markets I'd never heard of, where the general manager was also the disc jockey and billing supervisor. We almost never discussed targeting. When we did, it consisted of targeting certain designated market areas.
When I entered the digital realm, everything was about targeting. Even the basic function of recommending a site had a name: "site targeting" or "targeted reach." Eventually, instead of listing all the ways we'd target, we'd state we were "precision-targeting" or "advanced-targeting." Targeting is what set us apart from others in the offline world, where media was purchased across a broad set of metrics. It wasn't focused. To clients, we promised the Holy Grail of no waste.
Then, confusion set in. Since we were all coming up with our own targeting terms and using them to suit our own purposes, we found didn't have a universal vocabulary.
A spot buyer isn't looking at a proposal saying, "What do you think they mean by a 'gross rating point'?" However, interactive planners do wonder what a seller means by "behavioral targeting." Often, behavioral targeting is just a fancy way of saying "contextual placement." I'm guilty. I recently did a Q&A on Reuters' "smart thinking" and classified it as behavioral targeting, although some may argue that under the traditional definition it wouldn't be.
Since we rely on speed to create digital campaigns, it's often difficult for a planner to clarify the details of a "targeting solution." As a result, it's either omitted from the plan or included, creating a situation where a planner may misrepresent or misunderstand pertinent details. These days, clients are also more suspicious of targeting and will ask more questions. At the very least, they're looking for evidence that we understand what we're recommending. Therefore, it helps if we're all speak the same language.
Below, the five most popular ways to target online:
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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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12:00pm ET/9:00am PT