Study: Behavioral Targeting Works

Ads targeted by user behavior drove 73 percent greater brand favorability and 29 percent more purchase intent when compared to ads placed in content areas, a Dynamic Logic study of a Snapple campaign on iVillage found.

The study, conducted with Snapple agency Deutsch, is one of the first to examine so-called behavioral targeting — the practice of delivering ads to individuals based on their previous surfing behavior.

Despite the lack of public research backing up its effectiveness, behavioral targeting has become one of the most talked-about areas in online advertising. Technology vendors like Tacoda Systems and Revenue Science are steadily signing up new site partners. Meanwhile Tacoda, aQuantive’s DrivePM and 24/7 Real Media work to increase the scale of such offerings by applying the technology to multiple sites.

In the iVillage case, Snapple Beverage Corporation wanted to reach diet and fitness conscious women with a message about its Snapple-a-Day meal replacement drink. Rather than just putting ads in the Diet & Fitness channel on iVillage, the publisher used technology from Tacoda Systems to identify site visitors that had visited that content area within the past 45 days. These people were selected to receive the Snapple-a-Day ads even when they were in other parts of the iVillage site.

The study found visitors targeted outside of the Diet & Fitness channel scored higher for key brand metrics than those who saw ads within the channel. Those who saw the ad outside the channel had 76 percent aided brand awareness, compared to 66 percent of those inside the channel. Fifty-one percent of those exposed outside the channel reported being aware of the online ad, as compared to 33 percent of those exposed inside the channel. Thirty-six percent of those who saw the ad outside the channel had a favorable impression of the brand, as compared to 21 percent inside. Thirty-seven percent of those exposed to the ad outside the channel said they planned to purchase the product, as compared to 29 percent inside the channel.

“When we first made this technology available, we all intuitively thought it would work to make advertising schedules more impactful,” said Douglas W. McCormick, chairman and CEO of iVillage. “But now it’s a fact and this study proves it.”

Related reading