Behavioral Targeting: The Pre-Game Prep

I’m amazed at the amount of hoopla and buzz that goes into a single football game. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as rabid as the next fan. But boiled down, football involves fairly simple things: passing, catching, running, and tackling. Yet, it’s probably one of the most complex sports to execute. The amount of preparation that goes into one game is astounding.

Like football, behavioral targeting is very simple in its essence. We have a long way to go, however, before it’s properly executed. I’m beginning to think many publishers aren’t putting the necessary legwork and planning into it to make it a success.

Sales Reps Still Don’t Get It

This isn’t something many of those on the behavioral side of the table want to hear (especially vendors who have signed a number of sites into their networks). Sales reps aren’t doing a very good job selling behavioral targeting. Most have blinders on when trying to explain behavioral targeting and the criteria used for choosing segments.

Maybe this stems from a general lack of knowledge and requests for proposal (RFPs) that lack specifics. Regardless, if a rep can’t explain how his behavioral segments were defined, even I will hesitate before purchasing. This could potentially become buyer’s remorse.

Some Sales Reps Don’t Want It

Some reps (whom I respect, and who do a fabulous job) really don’t care much about behavioral targeting. They often won’t even include it in proposals. Their rationale for not wanting to deal with it stems from the fact they just don’t see the point. Their view is the amount of legwork required and the backend questions, concerns, and work don’t add up to something positive.

Others have told me the total number of consumers in certain segments are too low to be worthwhile. Scalability, which has always been an issue in behavioral targeting, remains an issue. This is particularly the at issue when it’s attempted in conjunction with other targeting criteria, such as geotargeting or day-parting.

What’s the Solution?

  • Better training. I’m sure everyone must know this. Sales reps need a better understanding of how behavioral targeting fits into an overall mix of different tactics on a proposal. When done right, it can help make everyone look like Super Bowl champs.

  • Better price information. I still can’t figure out how much some sites charge for behavioral targeting. Some sites state there are no incremental costs for behavioral targeting; others have difficulty getting the information to me.
  • Greater detail. Normally, information such as cost, impressions, placements, creative size, and flight dates are enough. In the case of behavioral targeting, more is necessary. Details might include available inventory against a specified segment and the qualifications for what type of behavior is required to fall under a segment.

I’m sure I’ve missed some things. If you’ve worked with behavioral targeting, I’d like to know if you’ve come across these issues and others.

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