The New Behavioral Wunder

From the first time its international expansion was mentioned nearly two years ago, behavioral targeting has gone a long way in its growth outside the U.S. market.

Revenue Science secured credibility and recognition in the U.K. Tacoda announced and launched an international expansion plan. And a number of large ad networks such as and Blue Lithium have all leveraged the increasing growth of this advanced data-based targeting platform to establish themselves in Europe’s blossoming online market.

It is no wonder then that Europe, the second largest online advertising marketing in the world (after the US), would adopt behavioral targeting.

WunderLOOP, a company headquartered in Luxembourg with its head office in Germany, is one of the newer players in the behavioral targeting space to gain attention in Europe. Chaired by Michael Kleindl, co-founder and former CEO of AdLink, a large pan-European ad network, WunderLOOP recently announced the formation of its advisory board, which consisted of industry heavyweights across agencies, publishers, and business consultancies. The company has naturally raised a few eyebrows of those who religiously follow the development of behavioral targeting.

The Wunder That Makes You Wonder

To put the company in perspective, it’s best to mention WunderLOOP is financially backed by Niklas Zennstrom (founder of KaZaa, Skype, and most recently, Joost); Howard Hartenbaum (Forbes Midas List venture capitalist of the year 2006); and other well-known investment figures.

With such prominent backers, one has to wonder just exactly what WunderLOOP offers that’s attracted such robust support.

The company recently launched Wunderloop Connect, a self-service ad exchange for behavioral targeting-based online advertising. The firm claims this will be the first time behavioral targeting technology has been made openly available to all publishers who want to join the network, rather than a selected few titles.

Media buyers will be able to use the exchange to buy ad inventory in numbers, with user profile details. Publishers who take part and provide inventory will be able to determine criteria, how data are collected, and whether it is shared with other Connect members. They can also set the value of their users allowing them to maximize returns and control whether they accept a deal with an advertiser.

The Growing Need of Integrated Targeting

What sets WunderLOOP apart from the rest of the behavioral targeting vendors is its claim to be the leading provider (and certainly one of the first) of integrated behavioral targeting software and services.

The company’s unique dynamic, real-time technology allows publishers, ISPs, advertisers and site owners to deliver relevant and real-time advertising, content and offers across all forms of digital media including Web sites, e-mail, mobile services and IPTV (can you say “Joost”?)

Since 2004, the industry has anticipated the possibilities of extending behavioral targeting beyond the means of online as a natural evolution to consumer’s changing media consumption behaviors. Although it’s taken over three years for behavioral targeting to be included in online planners’ vocabularies, it seems the time has come for this platform to make a big push towards adoption as European online maturity reaches a new height.

What Does This Mean For Online Media?

Omniture announced its acquisition of Touch Clarity a few weeks ago, marking a first in the industry: effectively combine Web analytics and behavioural targeting to deliver automatic revenue and profit uplift “the online business optimization platform.”

With next-generation TV tracking companies such as Backchannelmedia in the US, interaction and measurement on tradition channels are taken to a hitherto unseen level. This means behavioral targeting will have to expand outside its online domain to quickly embrace all Internet-enabled channels to truly understand consumers’ complete behaviors across media.

Whether behavioral targeting will evolve into a cost-per-unique model or be “traded like a stock exchange” as WunderLOOP Chairman Michael Kleindl puts it, remains to be seen. But rest assured, as new digital channels such as IPTV, mobile, and others continue to proliferate and expand, WunderLOOP is well positioned to lead the industry to this promised land of cross-media consumption.

Behavioral targeting is as much about prediction and anticipation as it is about reaction and solution. Not only is targeting about integrating the front and back of data sources, the race is now on to converge horizontal channels to deliver the ultimate behavioral targeting solution.

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