Break Media Joins Behavioral Targeting Crowd with BlueKai and eXelate Deals

Break Media’s video-based advertisers will be able to behaviorally target the network’s audience of 18-to-34-year-old men after the company announced separate deals yesterday with data exchanges BlueKai and eXelate. The Los Angeles-based Break Media characterized the newly available consumer data as originating across the Web and didn’t reveal specific sources.

While it now has access to Nielsen’s household data that eXelate recently picked up, Huan Le, SVP of business development for the firm, was focused on detailing how data deriving from online would be used to target audience clusters. He alluded to possible opportunities for hospitality marketers to target online consumers who have recently searched for hotels, plane tickets, or rental cars.

“If [viewers] had searched for a flight from Los Angeles to Paris in the last 30 days, then they are going to fall under ‘in-market’ for a trip to France,” Le said. Targeting can also be done “if someone had been on Amazon and had researched books or gone to Walmart.com to research cleaning products… It’s really people who are looking for – or in some cases buying – those kinds of goods and services.”

Break’s media and ad network, which includes in-house properties like Break.com, MadeMan.com, and Chickipedia.com and around 100 third-party sites, is ranked eighth by comScore among online video ad networks. According to the Reston, VA-based market research firm, the network hauled in around 63 million unique visitors in January.

However, Le said, targeting those viewers in audience clusters was not an option before the data agreements. His company’s network offers standard and custom video ad units, such as pre-rolls, “interactive pre-rolls” with extra features like polls, and video overlays, as well as take-over/skin ads. “All of that stuff can now be targeted,” Le said.

Indeed, the BlueKai and eXelate deals mark Break Media’s initial foray into using third-party data to create theoretically better-targeted ads. Many other firms have looked to do the same during the last six months.

On an industry level – since the company’s demographic is tightly defined as young and male – the development further bolsters the notion that targeting ads according to simple demographics (i.e., age and gender) may be on its way out. So-called passion points and product interests are becoming an increasingly normal part of the mix. The announcement also shows that Break Media is looking to make its sizable audience – which largely consists of sex- and humor-oriented content seekers – more attractive to big brands and their progressively data-sophisticated ad agencies.

For instance, Le dropped the name of a major carmaker when describing what the ad units can now do. “We could target a pre-roll at a recent [car research site] Edmunds.com user who searched for a Toyota,” he said. “Whether they searched for ‘economy compact’ or ‘cars with mileage over 30 miles per gallon’… Whatever it is, [marketers] could target not just using a Toyota pre-roll, but a pre-roll targeting people who have searched about Prius, Camry, or 4Runner.”

Lastly, Le didn’t comment on specifics about Break Media’s CPM rates or how they could be affected by the enhanced targeting.

UPDATE: Le says he didn’t intend to suggest that BlueKai or eXelate worked directly with Edmunds.com, Amazon, or Wal-Mart. According to Break Media spokesperson Michael Kirkland, those company names were cited only as general examples in terms of potential data providers. Le failed to make that distinction while speaking with ClickZ.

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