A Tale of Two (Three Actually) Behavioral Ad Standards Projects

There’s a ton of action right now around behavioral targeting standards. Here’s a recap of what’s in process:

Revenue Science is busy planning its next move for the behavioral targeting standards project it proposed earlier this month. The company was set to meet yesterday to determine who it will ask to be on the coalition’s board. However, the project has been dealt an early blow in that largest behavioral ad network Tacoda has said it won’t be involved. No surprise there.

Meanwhile, the IAB is formalizing its own behavioral targeting guidelines document, which it will make public by month’s end. The IAB’s standards likely won’t try to establish common vocabulary and procedures (the main issues Revenue Science is taking on), but rather will focus on privacy and disclosure. The organization doesn’t have a long history stumping for behavioral targeting standards, but it’s trying to be more vocal as publishers feel a more urgent need to restore the health of IAB standard display advertising. The consensus now is that better targeting, including behavioral targeting, is pretty much the only thing that can reverse the never-ending declines in banner ad effectiveness — in terms of both direct response and branding metrics. In another sign of its eagerness to project thought leadership in behavioral targeting, the IAB had a presence at the FTC Town Hall on the subject back in November.

The two standards movements come as the FTC begins a process of creating a self-regulation standard for behavioral targeting. It unveiled is proposed document back in December, and a comment period for the suggested rules will last until April.

On a side note, would someone please come up with a better name for behavioral targeting? It’s fine by itself but whenever I’m forced to write about it with descriptors attached, as with Revenue Science’s “behavioral targeting standards coalition,” the resulting sentences are enough to put Dave Morgan himself into a deep coma. Possibilities: something corny like “yester-targeting” or something blunt like “past targeting,” or maybe a word with a pop culture reference, like “I Know What You Did Last Web Site… targeting.” Naturally, I’m open to suggestions.

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