The ‘It’ Couple: Behavioral Targeting and Video, Part 1

According to Nielsen//NetRatings, broadband penetration jumped from 65 percent in 2005 to 78 percent in 2006. This jump eliminates most barriers to consumers viewing and requesting video online. For sellers and planners, it means proposals saturated with video placements and ads.

What does this mean for behavioral targeting? Is there a role for behavioral targeting in the online video revolution? For the next two columns, leading experts in video and behavioral targeting will answer the following:

  • What role does behavioral targeting currently plays in video?
  • How do you see behavioral targeting playing out in video in the next 12 months?
  • What role is your company playing in the maturation and development of this space?
  • Why do you think behavioral targeting and video are (or aren’t) a good fit?
  • How does behavioral targeting and video work from your perspective? Is this different from display advertising?

What role does behavioral targeting currently plays in video?

Troy Young, CMO of VideoEgg: It’s currently in its infancy. Companies are still working out what formats and placements work best for video advertising. Standards are only beginning to take shape. I would expect media companies to get more focused on advances like behavioral targeting in the next 18 months as the market matures and inventories increase.

Bill Gossman, CEO of Revenue Science: Behavioral targeting is all about relevance to a person, not a page, and to the person’s stage in a purchase funnel. To maximize this benefit for marketers, all ad units need to be supported. At Revenue Science we target all ad types, including video, display, and text. Another key role behavioral target provides in video is audience aggregation, that is, building large, high quality audiences that are currently the target of most video advertising.

Mark Josephson, president of Seevast: Behavioral targeting has infinite potential, but it’s just beginning to scratch the surface in video. In 2006, Forrester Research found that more than 80 percent of Web video viewers called video ads that appear before or after clips “annoying,” while 75 percent claimed to ignore them. These ads are regularly seen as intrusive to users and often completely untargeted and irrelevant. However, when you add behavioral targeting into the mix, the ads will be more relevant and viewers may actually pay attention. That’s why we are such big fans of post-roll sponsored links, text ads that appear after the clip is viewed. When clicked, the ads open a new browser. And since it’s performance based, advertisers and publishers are happy.

Joe Kyriakoza, product development VP at Jumpstart Automotive Media: Video opportunities with BT [behavioral targeting] are limited today, mainly because video inventory in general is limited across the Web. While there’s an abundance of video inventory on user-generated content sites (such as YouTube, Revver, etc.), the risk of your ad playing prior to a group of teenagers performing a “Jackass”-like stunt isn’t a thrilling proposition. Niche video inventory, in categories like automotive or finance, represents about 1 percent of the inventory available to its advertisers. Video in BT will evolve as the opportunities become available across other professional lifestyle content.

How do you see behavioral targeting playing out in video in the next 12 months?

TY: The infrastructure for behavioral targeting has matured over the last couple of years. Publishers can leverage the platforms to video ad serving fairly easily. As these systems mature, as more brands enter the video market, and as inventory grows, we’ll see behavioral grow. You’ll start to see this later this year. The rules will be slightly different, I think.

BG: Experimentation, experimentation, experimentation. Video ad formats are the next phase of the merging of the Internet and media such as IPTV. The industry has much to learn about the use, performance, and costs of video advertising, as compared to other formats. Behavioral targeting will play a huge role in this effort as it enables performance testing at the audience level, in real time.

MJ: Behavioral targeting has proven to be a successful online marketing approach in 2006, and the next 12 months will see continual growth as well. Combined with the phenomenal growth in video, many companies are starting to recognize the increasing influence that behavioral targeting and video can have together. Since so much of the video growth is coming from user-generated or amateur videos, advertisers are coming to understand that they will need more tools to enable better targeting to reach their desired customer.

JK: Some things still need to happen on the technical side for it to be fully functional with multiple partners, but opportunities will begin to sprout up. Video and BT is a great marriage of targeting and creative strategies, and the performance will reflect that. Inventory, however, still will be an issue.

In part two, our experts answer more questions about behavioral targeting and video. Stay tuned!

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