USAToday.com Adopts New Audience Segmentation Strategy

News Web site USAToday.com Wednesday said it had adopted “Precision Targeting,” an ad targeting system that ties users’ zip codes with Claritas’ PRIZM NE clusters.

The company claims it’s the first online publisher to marry zip codes from user registration data with the popular offline system. Claritas’ PRIZM NE system uses neighborhood-level data to categorize people into segments with catchy names like “Blue Blood Estates,” “Bohemian Mix,” “God’s Country,” and “Middleburg Managers.” USAToday.com will use Claritas’ Consumer Point software to associate the data.

“Precision Targeting allows us to offer clients an online version of traditional offline marketing tools that have proven successful for 30 years,” said Jeff Webber, senior vice president and publisher of USAToday.com. “It’s critical for online publishers to offer marketers tools that allow them to align planning and execution with the rest of the media mix.”

USAToday.com also uses Tacoda’s Audience Management System to offer segments to its advertisers. The company says the two solutions are “different parts of the same process.”

“We’re definitely not abandoning the behavioral targeting that we’re doing today,” said Laryssa Kundanmal, director of sales solutions for USAToday.com. “This just means we’re not limited by the content on our site. We can offer differnet types of segments.” Kundanmal went on to explain that the site couldn’t currently offer advertisers home and garden enthusiasts through behavioral targeting, because it doesn’t have that type of content on its site. The new data capabilities would help address that deficiency.

The PRIZM NE system has been catching on in the online world as of late, with players like aQuantive’s Drive PM and Hitwise using the clusters for targeting. Others, like Tacoda, have created their own behavioral targeting segments that are somewhat reminiscent of the PRIZM clusters.

USAToday.com will also use data from Mediamark Research’s (MRI) Survey of the American Consumer. MRI continually surveys consumers to track their exposure to advertising media and their use of advertised goods and services.

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