A media contacts ebook on Behavioral Targeting reports the history of behavioral targeting, which is summarized in this article. Here’s the link to the original behavioral targeting e-book: MC Insight: Behavioral Targeting.
The earliest concepts of behavioral targeting were made about thirteen years ago. During 1999, behaviorally targeted advertising did not survive the recession of the dot com industry because it was unable to address the issues of data ownership and privacy.
The earliest firms to pioneer behavioral targeting were Engage, using their Profiliz technology, and DoubleClick, using WebBeacon / Boomerang.
DoubleClick is an expert in serving advertisements, and the company used that expertise to create individual web user profiles containing personal identifiable information (or PII). These profiles were used for ad targeting within a network of websites under DoubleClick’s media sales operation. However, with the use of PII, this method apparently became a terrible issue on privacy and was hastily deserted. DoubleClick then focused on ad serving and technology, leaving its media sales business behind.
Meanwhile, Engage had a proposal to publishers, telling them that if they share their behavior profiles, they can have better knowledge about their consumers. However, issues surfaced as to who really owns the generated data, and consequentially, only a few publishers took part in this proposal. It should be noted that the context of the advertising market during that time was not capable of supporting complex sales and buying models.
Advertisers during that were not so much concerned about ROI and assumed that the measure of success of their advertising is similar to traditional metrics. Inventory was bought at a very cheap price, and so targeted inventory were not as attractive as they now. Furthermore, technology that time was not as sophisticated as what we have now, and the 3rd party ad serving technology didn’t follow standards that are as rigorous as today.
Behavioral targeting technology in 1999 was revolutionary, but it was insufficient to delivering its vision.
Behavioral targeting had a comeback in 2003. There was a significant development in technology and the advertising market, and many data and privacy issues were settled.
Search engines have used targeting technology significantly, and advertisers and agencies understand the technology and its benefits better. Third party ad servers and networks have urged wider use of this new technology, and made using it more practical.
For publishers, behaviorally relevant inventory has become a commodity. Revenue Science, Tacoda Systems and other specialists on behavioral targeting have broaden the scale of this commoditization.
Advertisers are now attracted to behavioral segments because they reduce wastage and lessen cluster. Also, for publishers, giving low cost and unattractive inventory can now be sold by relating these with certain behavioral mind sets.
The efforts of Revenue Science and Tacoda Systems were focused on promoting sales to benefit publishers, and by doing so selling the technology to agencies. Because of this process, behavioral targeting was put into the top of industry discussion in the United States.
Behavioral targeting can be considered to be still at its infancy stage. Customers can be dissatisfied with this technology simply because of its intrusive nature, and the wrong use of this technology may cause obstructive legislation.