IP Targeting vs Behavioral Targeting

Behavioral targeting of consumers online is a common practice for increasing online advertising efficacy and reducing cost.  Behavioral targeting is the practice of tracking and analyzing a user’s online activity to determine previously unknown personal characteristics about that user.    Behavioral targeting can be used on a stand-alone basis or in conjunction with other types of targeting.  Typically, additional types of targeting variables can include factors like demographics or geography, this is often referred to as audience targeting. This information is then used to influence future advertisements (typically banner and display advertisements) served to a prospect’s Internet browser. Some El Toro customers have used or tested behavioral targeting campaigns and we often get questions about how our services differ.  Below we discuss some of the most notable differences.

  • Cookies are losing their audience – Most behavioral targeting relies on 3rd party cookies and cookie matching to track customer behavior.  As we discussed in a recent blog post, the addressable audience of “cookie-able” computers shrinks each month due to an increasing number of browsers that disable cookies by default and increasing usage of Do Not Track options in web browsers by consumers.
  • Past behavior may not indicate future intent – One of the more common targeting tactics in behavioral targeting is to create segments of individuals based on past browsing behavior and then serve topical ads to those individuals.  In order to get segments large enough to hit traffic minimums, most targeting providers will include data that is up to 30-90 days old.  The problem with this data is that an individual looking for a new car or a DUI attorney (for example) 30-90 days ago has most likely already found one.  This can result in the customer spending a large percentage of their advertising dollars on prospects that are no longer viable.

While behavioral targeting is superior to untargeted ads, our clients often find that they can achieve even better results by using IP targeting of households based upon either audience modeling or targeting their current and past customers.  To learn more about how you can integrate IP Targeting into your next advertising campaign, please contact us.