Behavioral Targeting Meets Inventory Management

Revenue Science and Trafficmac have teamed up to develop advanced tools to manage inventory for behaviorally-targeted campaigns.

The new tools are aimed at helping Web site publishers keep track of the impact a behavioral targeting deal has on overall site impressions. Inventory management has long been an issue for online publishers, and the increasing complexity behavioral targeting brings has created even more difficulties.

“Revenue Science has a great product for behavioral targeting, and we have a great product for inventory management,” said Lorne Brown, president of Trafficmac. “By tying the two together, we enable the salesperson to adjust their inventory to know what they have available by site and what they have available by audience at the same time.”

Many publishers still manage their ad inventory with a spreadsheet sent around to all the ad sales team, which gets updated as inventory is sold. Those spreadsheets may keep track of what impressions are available on each section of a site, say, technology, sports and news. This process in itself has problems with timeliness and accuracy of information.

This is where Trafficmac’s Queue Management System (QMS) comes in, to automate the ad operations process, Brown said. “If you’re segmenting by site or various pages that are targetable to advertisers, that’s complicated enough. Now, if you’re talking about audience segmentation, that brings a new twist to it.”

Using Revenue Science’s Audience Search service, a publisher can find, validate and deliver targeted audience segments to advertisers. The system tells the publisher how many impressions it will take to deliver users interested in a certain category, such as technology. Inventory management challenges arise, however, when a technology audience member is viewing a page in the sports section.

“When sales people sell a behavioral targeting deal, they don’t know what impact it’s going to have on their inventory,” Brown said. “We allow a publisher to manage their inventory by site, and by integrating our inventory system, which has site information in it, with Revenue Science’s audience product, which has user information.”

By tying those two together, a salesperson can now know how many ads are available to sell by site and how many ads are available by audience. It combines the two so salespeople or management will know what impact a behavioral targeting deal in technology will have on the overall inventory on the site.

“It may be a much higher CPM if I can target someone just for sports across the site, but at the same time, I need to manage what that’s going to be taking out of the technology and news categories to deliver those users. Revenue Science knows, but they don’t have a way to communicate that to salespeople. We have the inventory and sales data, because they’re booking the orders in our system,” he said.

Clients of both companies can take advantage of the cross-product integration immediately, and the integration will become more involved as behavioral marketing processes evolve, Brown said. Currently, the Wall Street Journal Online is a joint client. Other Revenue Science clients include ESPN, Reuters, and CBS Marketwatch. Trafficmac clients include The Economist, WPP, Beyond Interactive and MSN.

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