Why Publishers Should Offer Behavioral Targeting

Like it or not, 2005 is poised to be the first year we media buyers and planners won’t have the leverage we’ve had during the past four years. The days of purchasing premium content placements as if you were on “Let’s Make a Deal” are over. The agency side can no longer ask for everything and anything.

Yet we still have some leverage. There’s a greater possibility that publishers will lose ad revenue to competing sites with desired placements still available. If anything, 2005 will present publishers with an opportunity to either expand their business or hold on to unsold inventory in less desirable site sections.

Even with a robust online ad market, outside of specific placements, most sites (including many premium ones) still have plenty of inventory for sale. That’s why I find it hard to believe some premium branded sites still don’t offer behaviorally targeted placements.

This should serve as a reminder to those sites. Here’s why they should offer behaviorally targeted placements.

Marketers Want It

As CPMs (define) climb and desired content placements sell out, marketers must find the most cost-efficient way to reach target audiences and deliver a return on investment (ROI) that will make agencies and clients happy. Agencies and clients had the advantage over the past four years when it came to buying the desired audiences. Now, when certain publishers can’t provide them, agencies and marketers will seek out the ones who can.

Offering Behavioral Segments Builds Trust

Many sites boast of having quality audiences none of their competitors can match. This isn’t always so easy to demonstrate. Sure, we can often tell a lot through post-click and post-view analysis. But what if the desired placements aren’t available? By demonstrating a site can deliver the same type of audience, a publisher can help build trust with the client.

Case Studies Help Get Others Onboard

Advertising is like the NFL. It’s a league of copycats. If something gets one team to the Super Bowl, it could very well get another team there, too. Sometimes it takes more than the lowest price to get advertisers onboard. I’m sure the case studies The Wall Street Journal Online did for American Airlines and the one by iVillage for Snapple helped get other clients on board.

Is there a particular advertiser you’d like to have on your site, but those premium placements just aren’t available? Present the advertiser with a case study demonstrating you can still deliver the type of audience that client seeks.

This will be a great year for our industry. I hope even with all the inventory issues, sites will still be able to offer the types of quality segments agencies and clients want. Next year’s question will be: Who was left behind?

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