2 min readThe possibilities of behavioural targeting


Programmatic advertising and the use of CRM technology is making behavioural targeting a real possibility for businesses keen to engage with potential customers in novel ways – however, the barriers of user privacy and multiple device tracking remain major hurdles to be jumped.

Steve Chester, director of data and industry programmes at the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), told Marketing Week that the possibilities offered by this kind of marketing can make things better and more efficient for both consumers and businesses.

Advertisers will no longer need to target broad swathes of the population, instead focusing their content towards the right people who are more likely to purchase their products or services.

For instance, brands can target people based on their browsing habits online, ensuring they access internet users who will be interested in whatever they are offering.

Research from the IAB and YouGov estimates that online behavioural advertising accounted for 12 per cent of all ad spend in 2011, with Mr Chester suggesting this investment is only likely to increase in the future.

This is not only related to direct response campaigns, the model traditionally associated with behavioural targeting.

“There is a chunk of brand awareness activity as well and it is growing because programmatic is a method of accessing inventory efficiently. As a result, we expect to see a substantial increase in the amount of video inventory that is bought programmatically,” explained the IAB director.

Excitingly, the UK is the most advanced market for this approach, both in terms of revenue and maturity. Video ad platform SpotXchange recently predicted that 38.9 per cent of online video revenue will be traded programmatically, up from nine per cent in 2012.

“The industry is working on ways to understand consumer journeys across all devices in order to target them with relevant advertising at the right time,” concluded Mr Chester, adding that privacy needs to be at the forefront of marketers’ minds if they are to avoid getting into hot water or damaging the reputation of their brands.