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Selling Behavioral Targeting Campaigns

Posted by Dan Vigil on December 4, 2008

As newspapers across the country continue to rollout Yahoo!s APT platform, strategies are starting to emerge for selling BT (Behavioral Targeting) campaigns to local businesses. Because the APT platform allows local newspapers to sell BT campaigns on both the Yahoo! network and local news websites, too many newspapers are confusing the sales process. Here are a few things newspapers need to consider as they move forward with their BT sales efforts:

1. Only Yahoo! Can Provide Sufficient BT Inventory Initially.

While it’s exciting that newspapers can now track the behavior of their site visitors using Yahoo!s tools, the road to building BT inventory on newspaper web sites is a long one.  Newspapers that expect to have sellable BT inventory within weeks of launching the APT platform are setting themselves up for disappointment.

Regardless of the higher page views that news sites often enjoy, the economics of BT inventory is dependent upon unique users,  something that “local” newspapers have in limited supply. BT inventory can only grow so much as the on-line user community grows and newspapers have limited themselves by being the “local” source for information. While it’s true that users can be members of multiple BT categories, the value of the target decreases as the number of categories they are part of increases. BT sales efforts need to be focused on Yahoo’s BT inventory first.

2. Contextual Advertising Still Rules On Newspaper Sites.

In their zeal to market new BT campaigns locally, newspapers may neglect their real strength which lies in contextual advertising. In contrast to BT opportunities that are limited by online users, there are an infinite number of online user interests which contextual advertising can take advantage of. 

By “contextual” we also include targeted section campaigns which are becoming more effective when combined with topic specific advertising messages. These campaigns offer advertisers the ability to communicate with the newpaper site users by messaging different offers to the same user at different times rather than segmenting and classifying users into targeting categories.

3. Agencies Understand BT.

Just as many agencies jumped on the bandwagon of local search, the same has happened with BT. In fact, agencies have been marketing BT campaigns for the past 4 years to their larger accounts. The cost of BT programs has generally been very high though, so they have not been able to provide solutions for lower tier clients.

The Yahoo! partnership allows newspapers to create lower cost entry points for BT which should attract more agency interest. Purchasing BT campaigns direct from Yahoo! can cost as much as $25,000/month. Agencies can buy Yahoo BT campaigns from newspapers for as litttle as $2500/month. Newspapers need to reach out and create custom packages for agencies in their local marketplaces.

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One Response to “Selling Behavioral Targeting Campaigns”

  1. Phillip said

    Good post! But about your point 1) – I think smaller sites can also use Behavioral Targeting to sell media and make money. Imagine an auto site – where BT clusters are created based on their searches – defining car category. This site could offer sponsorship to one of the auto-builders for ALL users who searched a certain car type / category. I’m sure that both parties win: the automaker knowing the competitor is sending its message to the prospect, and the site which will definitely get a total higher CPM.

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