Engage Unveils On-Site Profiling Software

CMGI ad network and technology company Engage Monday rolled out a new product that enables sites to profile and serve ads based on in-site browsing habits.

A remarketing tool, Engage’s Echo system observes visitors to a site, records their behavior via anonymous cookie, and then serves ads based on the interests the visitor has demonstrated. For example, the system is meant to differentiate surfers who have purchased items from a marketer’s site, and those who have not — and deliver targeted messaging, across the Engage Media network, accordingly. The goal, say the product’s developers, is to facilitate a second sale.

“If [e-commerce sites] can get someone to make a second purchase in a thirty-day time, the probable lifetime value of a customer goes up dramatically,” said Dave Miller, director of new product development for Engage AdKnowledge. “What makes this thing powerful, is the ability to do cross-selling and up-selling.”

Miller said the program’s charter customers have achieved an average 289 percent increase in post-click conversion rates, but declined to elaborate whether the ROI based on on-site profiling, with its higher degree of specificity, is proving greater than network-wide profiling.

But he did say Echo and Engage’s network-wide profiling products, which involves a database of more than 84 million anonymous profiles, were meant to work in conjunction with each other. Sharing profiles allows marketers to serve ads to specific users across Engage’s network, based on the preferences they demonstrated at the marketer’s site.

“In the original endeavor of Engage Media, we made the decision to look at every movement of browser across Web sites, every page, every site, and somehow categorize and catalog it. What ends up being generated are category-wide interests,” he said. “But there are opportunities for profiling that are basically done on very specific moments to a user that are very indicative of their interests.”

Echo is similar in function to competitor DoubleClick‘s Boomerang product, which debuted almost a year ago. But Miller said one of Echo’s major differentiators is its access to Engage’s broad ad network of more than 4,500 sites.

“Every advertiser’s dream is to control their communication they have with a customer. Those are limited when [users] come to a Web site: when they come, customers already have some knowledge of what the advertiser does,” he said.

“But if they identified them out on the Web, and continue to communicate to them in same way on Web sites — that’s an enormous advantage over having to make bland and generalized marketing messaging that tries to capture large group of advertisers.

Miller said he anticipates Echo amounting to about ten to twenty percent “of the media side of our business. Once Echo is fully developed, it could be a lot of our business.”

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