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Five BT Companies Reviewed

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Introduction


We've asked the industry's leading behavioral targeting companies about the nuts and bolts of their capabilities, including reach and frequency, pricing, formats, segments, data points and privacy issues. We also asked for examples of clients -- on the publisher and advertiser sides, when applicable -- and testimonials, when available, from some customers whom they've helped reach their behavioral targeting goals.


Why? With the increasing popularity of behavioral targeting -- including studies that show increased visibility -- more and more brands are taking a look at what behavioral targeting has to offer. As behavioral targeting allows brands to find customers based on where they go online and what they do while they're there -- rather than making a guess based on context -- brands need to make sure that they have the right behavioral targeting partners to successfully reach potential customers.


We've outlined the answers from the five companies in the following pages, which we hope you'll take, compare and find out what may work best for your company and your behavioral targeting needs. Let's go!


Next: Claria






Author Notes:
Nanette Pietroforte is an editor at iMedia Connection.

Claria



Reach & Frequency


What types of sites do you target? Is there a particular focus that sets you apart from competitors?
Claria targets its users' behavior in order to display relevant, target ads for its advertising clients.


What is the combined reach of your network? (in unique users)
We reach over 80 percent of the U.S. internet population.


What is the total number of ad impressions across all of your sites per month?
We don’t disclose.


What is the average frequency per reach?
We don’t disclose. It is dependent on the type of campaign and objective.


What is the average frequency of consumers?
We don’t disclose. It is dependent on the type of behavior being displayed.

Pricing



What’s your pricing structure(s)?
Each program is unique in design; program rates vary by category and partner needs.

Formats



What types of formats and ad units do you accept?
We accept pop-up and pop-under formats for our GAIN Network, and banner ad formats for our BehaviorLink network.

Segments



Describe the audience segments your company uses and how that system of segmentation differentiates you from your competitors.
The key differentiator for us is targeting by behavior. This allows an advertiser to segment the audience by consumers who have shown an active interest in their category. Behavioral marketing also allows advertisers to better segment their audiences by usage and display different offers to those groups. For example, an advertiser utilizing behavioral marketing can display a trial based offer to a non-category user, an offer to insulate its heavy, loyal user and an acquisition offer to a competitive loyal user.

Data Points



Describe the data points your company uses and how that system of segmentation differentiates you from your competitors.
We are able to understand a user's anonymous behavior across the web. This allows us to understand when a user enters the purchase cycle and how they progress through it. Having this visibility allows are advertisers to understand the best opportunity to display their message.


Do you track behavior through cookies or some other technology? If something other than cookies, what is it?
Our targeting is based on anonymous web wide user profiles obtained from proprietary client side technology.


What percentage visibility do you have of a consumer’s total online behavior?
We have visibility across a broad spectrum of commercial sites.

Privacy



How do you address privacy?
Claria's behavioral marketing platform uses client side software technology to allow advertisers to target consumers based on their individual needs and interests by not simply presenting ads in context, but by also varying the content of the ads based on anonymous individual consumer behavior. All of the behaviors that Claria identifies, collects and analyzes are anonymous and permission based.


How are consumers notified that their behavior is being observed?
Claria's ad supported software is available for free, and in exchange displays advertising messages based on anonymous user behavior. Consumers install software supported by Claria's advertising within the core principles of notice, consent, and control.


Do you collect any personally identifiable information?
Claria doesn't collect and use any information that allows us to identify users.

Clients



Can you please name some of your major clients on both the publisher and advertisers sides?
We don’t disclose.

Next: Revenue Science


Revenue Science



Reach & Frequency



What types of sites do you target? Is there a particular focus that sets you apart from competitors?
At Revenue Science we believe that marketing is a conversation in digital media. Context is the key for a consumer to invite a marketer into that conversation, therefore, the type of sites that we partner with play a large role in our success as the global leader of behavioral targeting. Revenue Science partners with two types of sites:

The first is premium media properties run by the world’s largest media companies such as Dow Jones, Reuters, Associated New Media, Univision and others. These sites have large, high-quality audiences that are consistently sought after by advertisers.


The second is sites with rich behavior but little context. On these sites -- such as blogs, social networks and others -- the currency is an interested audience, not a contextually relevant space. We open this immensely valuable opportunity for publishers and marketers alike by aggregating audiences of many sites together to create scale, then creating segments that make the audiences easy to address.



What is the combined reach of your network? (in unique users)
Revenue Science’s network reaches well over 100 million unique users.


What is the total number of ad impressions across all of your sites per month?
Revenue Science leads the market, serving more behavioral targeting ads than any other company. Other companies may claim to serve more ads, but all ads that Revenue Science serves are behaviorally targeted. Revenue Science serves seven billion behaviorally targeted ad impressions per month, more than any other.


What is the average frequency per reach?
Frequency per reach is based on individual campaign objectives.


What is the average frequency of consumers?
Again, this really depends on the individual campaign.

Pricing



What’s your pricing structure(s)?
We do revenue shared pricing.

Formats



What types of formats and ad units do you accept?
We accept all types of ad units. We work with both text and display ads-- including rich media.

Segments



Describe the audience segments your company uses and how that system of segmentation differentiates you from your competitors.
Revenue Science is the only company that provides the tools for customers to actually search for the right audience. Customers interactively describe and create audience segments using natural-language keywords taken directly from an advertiser audience specification or RFP, and can make adjustments in real-time to build targeted reach appropriate for the campaign-- all within a familiar search interface.

Because Revenue Science can search for content at the level of words on a page, it is easy to create custom segments that match an advertiser’s specific requirements for a campaign based on visits to pages with specified words, rather than force-fitting the advertiser’s requirements into the pre-defined site sections/categories. The system operates in real time, enabling quick iteration to determine the optimal combination of keywords or interests that will deliver the most relevant audience-- it literally takes just seconds.


A critical differentiation for Revenue Science segmentation is our Behavioral Relevance Index (BRI). BRI evaluates the relevance of behavioral audience segments and assigns a score to each. Then, using a simple slider bar interface, publishers and advertisers can make relevancy (higher BRI scores, lower reach) and reach (lower BRI scores, higher reach) adjustments at any stage of a campaign.


In addition, we are the only behavioral targeting company whose segments are verified by Nielsen//Net Ratings. Working with Nielsen ensures that buyers and sellers will know if a segment actually represents what it should, and that the indicators used to qualify consumer interests are valid. Even the best technologies need to be objectively scrutinized by a third party in this way to maintain credibility.


Data Points



Describe the data points your company uses and how that system of segmentation differentiates you from your competitors.
We target audiences by

  • What they do:

    • Pages/sites visited

    • Content read (down to word level)

    • Searches

    • Actions (ads clicked, products viewed, data entered)

  • What they say:

    • Registration (no personally identifiable information is ever seen by Revenue Science)

    • Social profiles

    • Blogs

  • How they do it:

    • Recency/Frequency

    • IP Attributes

    • Purchased Data


One thing that distinguishes Revenue Science is the depth of behavior. Most BT providers work only to the “section” level where we look at every word on every page.



Do you track behavior through cookies or some other technology? If something other than cookies, what is it?
We also use pixels-- a 1x1 invisible image on a page


What percentage visibility do you have of a consumer’s total online behavior?
We only see behavior on an individual site or network of sites that partner with us.

Privacy



How do you address privacy?
Revenue Science never collects personally identifiable information of any of its clients' users for its own purposes. Revenue Science is also a member of NAI (Network Advertising Initiative) and Safecount.org.


How are consumers notified that their behavior is being observed?
We act as an agent of our partner sites and adhere to the privacy policies that users agree to through use of those sites.


Do you collect any personally identifiable information?
No.


What steps do you take, if any, to protect the privacy of the end users?
Revenue Science never collects personally identifiable information of any of its clients' users for its own purposes. Revenue Science is also a member of NAI (Network Advertising Initiative) and Safecount.org.

Clients



Can you please name some of your major clients on both the publisher and advertisers sides?
Publishers: (This does not include our Japanese sites.) ABCNews, Associated New Media, Autobytel.com, Barrons.com, Blender.com, Bolt.com, Carsdirect.com, Dealtime.com, Dow Jones, Edmunds.com, epionions.com, ESPN.com, FT.com, FoxNews, Guardian.com, Homestore.com, Hoovers.com, Interactive Corp., Internet Broadcasting, Jumpstart, KBB.com, LinkedIn.com, Maximim.com, Morningstar.com, Nasdaq.com, RedNova, Reuters.com, Shopping.com, Smartmoney.com, TheStreet.com, TheWeek.com, TVGuide.com, Univision, WPNI, Wanadoo, WorldNow, Zacks.com

Advertisers: Revenue Science works with more than 80 percent of the worlds leading brand advertisers. Some of our advertisers include Fidelity, Hyundai, Oracle, American Airlines, Cingular and Dell, just to name a few.


Client Testimonial
We chose to work with Revenue Science as our BT provider because they offer the best combination of technology and service in the industry. They understand my needs as a publisher and the importance of maintaining a strong relationship with our readers. Advertisers know we have a valuable audience and Revenue Science's targeting capabilities creates an amazing depth of data that enables us to package and deliver TheStreet's value in new ways. This has opens up opportunities with new advertises and helps us extend relationships with existing advertisers.
-- Thomas P. O'Regan, vice president, advertising sales, TheStreet.com


Next: SpecificMEDIA


SpecificMEDIA



Reach & Frequency



What types of sites do you target? Is there a particular focus that sets you apart from competitors?
SpecificMedia is the only ad network that solely focuses on "brand name" properties. For more than six years, we have represented 450 of the top 500 premium sites on the internet.


What is the combined reach of your network? (in unique users)
75 million unique users.


What is the total number of ad impressions across all of your sites per month?
Four billion impressions.


What is the average frequency per reach?
We reach each of our users an average 53 times per month or a little under two times per day.

Pricing



What’s your pricing structure(s)?
CPM and CPC.

Formats



What types of formats and ad units do you accept?


  • 728x90

  • 300x250

  • 120x600

  • 160x600

  • 720x300

  • Text

  • Rich Media

Segments



Describe the audience segments your company uses and how that system of segmentation differentiates you from your competitors.
We have 35 standard behavioral segments across our network, such as “Auto Shoppers," “Travel Shoppers,” “Investors” and many more. The difference between SpecificMedia and other BT providers is we have no quarrels about opening up our sites/sections for advertisers and agencies to create their own custom behavioral segments. Our segments are richer because we create the profiles based on premium sites rather than low-end/low traffic properties. On top of all of this we let the advertiser select the recency and frequency of any given segment for their campaigns.

Data Points



Do you track behavior through cookies or some other technology? If something other than cookies, what is it?
We solely rely on cookie-based information to track users.


What percentage visibility do you have of a consumer’s total online behavior?
We only have access to content destination sites that the users visit in our network.

Privacy



How do you address privacy?
We rely on the acceptable practices of using anonymous cookies to track a user's behavior, and we never collect any personally identifiable information.


How are consumers notified that their behavior is being observed?
Through our privacy policy.


Do you collect any personally identifiable information?
No.


What steps do you take, if any, to protect the privacy of the end users?
All behavioral information about the user is encrypted and stored in the client’s cookie with no information stored at the server level, and since we don’t collect any personally identifiable information about the user there is no material risk to the end user.

Next: TACODA

TACODA, Inc.



Reach & Frequency



What types of sites do you target? Is there a particular focus that sets you apart from competitors?
Tacoda targets people, not pages. Partnering with more than 3,000 premium websites Tacoda delivers online brand advertising at scale within branded publishers that any marketer would be proud to be associated with.

Tacoda operates the world's largest and most sophisticated behavioral targeting ad network focusing on audience related products and services.



What is the combined reach of your network? (in unique users)
In the past 90 days, the number of monthly unique visitors has jumped from 85 million to 130 million and the number continues to grow.


What is the total number of ad impressions across all of your sites per month?
Each week Tacoda runs an average of nearly 80 campaigns. In the past 90 days, the number of monthly ad impressions has increased from roughly 300 million to above one billion.


What is the average frequency per reach?
Tacoda typically limits the frequency of its campaigns to no more than four views per unique user per day.


What is the average frequency of consumers?
In certain segments consumers have a frequency of more than 20 times per month.

Pricing



What’s your pricing structure(s)?
Tacoda provides tiered CPM pricing models based on the number of segments included in a campaign and the overall volume of the campaign.

Formats



What types of formats and ad units do you accept?
Tacoda accepts IAB standard units; 728x90, 300x250, 120x600 and 160x600 and has certified PointRoll, KlipMart, Unicast, Interpolls, Poindexter and Eyeblaster for their respective in-banner executions.

Segments



Describe the audience segments your company uses and how that system of segmentation differentiates you from your competitors.
Tacoda has developed a proprietary taxonomy and segmentology for assembling data into meaningful segment profiles for marketers. There are several differentiators that makes Tacoda’s “Behavioral Targeting” behavioral targeting including:

  • A library of over 250 transparent, pre-built audience segments

  • The ability to create custom segments on the fly

  • The ability to create post-campaign reports that show delivery and performance characteristics by dozens of hundreds of different segments, regardless if the campaign was actually targeted to that segment

  • The ability to transparently modify segments on the go to optimize campaigns


Data Points



Describe the data points your company uses and how that system of segmentation differentiates you from your competitors.
With Tacoda’s proprietary taxonomy and segmentology technology, consumer media consumption habits are observed through direct relationships with media and ecommerce publishers. This enables Tacoda to view all consumer behaviors within those sites, unlike many of the other ad networks who are only using cookie-based response and under valued pages with ad tags for data collection


Do you track behavior through cookies or some other technology? If something other than cookies, what is it?
Tacoda uses cookies to manage user profiles. Tacoda believes in consumer control and we rely on the standard browser tools like other third party ad servers to provide consistency and control.


What percentage visibility do you have of a consumer’s total online behavior?
Tacoda sees 100 percent of a user's behavior through those publishers it has partnered with.

Privacy



How do you address privacy?
Privacy is a topic that Tacoda is very concerned about has taken many steps to ensure consumer privacy and protection. Tacoda is a member of NAI, TRUSTe, and ensures all publishers are in compliance with FTC regulations for the protection of minors and general privacy practices.


How are consumers notified that their behavior is being observed?
Currently, Tacoda requires all of its publisher partners to include full disclosure in their privacy policies. Tacoda continuously works on new methods for consumer disclosure.


Do you collect any personally identifiable information?
Tacoda does not collect personally identifiable information. All data that Tacoda has access to and/or is collected within the Tacoda Audience Networks is anonymous.


What steps do you take, if any, to protect the privacy of the end users?
As stated previously, Tacoda is a member of NAI, TRUSTe, and ensures all publishers are in compliance with FTC regulations for the protection of minors and general privacy practices. Additionally, Tacoda provides multiple options for the consumer to opt-out of Tacoda cookies. Tacoda’s back end technology contains a robust system for segregating individual publisher information within its databases.

Clients



Can you please name some of your major clients on both the publisher and advertisers sides?
Publishers: Cars.com, Advance.net, HGTV/Scripps, ABC Television, Tribune Company.

Advertisers: Monster, AOL, HP, Tickle.


Client Testimonial
Working with Tacoda has been great. Through the use of their behavioral targeting engine and Tacoda Audience Networks, we are getting a better understanding of who our users are.

We do not register our users so through the use of census data and geo-demographic segmentation, Tacoda has helped us bring these two areas together to get a better understanding of our audience. From here, the Weather Underground sales team can put together and sell solid behavioral targeted campaigns.


The Tacoda Audience Networks then allows us to fine tune proposals because we have an even better understanding of who our users are without the user having to register with us. It has definitely been a win for us to work with Tacoda.
-- Eric Strong, sales director, Weather Underground


Next: WhenU

WhenU



Reach & Frequency



What types of sites do you target? Is there a particular focus that sets you apart from competitors?
WhenU targets categories of consumer interest, not individual sites. We have built a category map of the internet which allows us to identify the subject of interest of our consumers in a 100 percent privacy protected manner. Our privacy protection sets us apart from our competitors, all of whom deploy tracking cookies or other methods of harvesting consumers’ behavioral data for server-side analysis in order to target based on behavior. In addition, we focus primarily on the contextual piece of behavioral targeting, which is more tightly defined as being at the moment the consumer is interested in the subject versus building a historical behavioral profile (e.g., this person is interested in travel now versus this person has visited travel sites in the past). We have found that it is not neither necessary nor desirable to harvest behavioral data for server-side analysis because the usefulness of behavioral data degrades very quickly.


What is the combined reach of your network? (in unique users)
More than 10 million unique users.


What is the total number of ad impressions across all of your sites per month?
We typically run 200 to 300 million impressions per month.


What is the average frequency per reach?
We show an average of two ads per active consumer per day (i.e., for consumers who go online that day). The exact number of ads WhenU will show an individual in a given day depends on that person’s behavior; if you’re actively researching purchases, you may see more, but only if we have an ad to show you that is highly relevant to what you’re doing at that moment. Our “inventory” is potentially unlimited, but frequency is strictly capped to ensure relevancy and provide a better consumer experience.

Pricing



What’s your pricing structure(s)?
We price primarily on a CPC basis with some CPM pricing.

Formats



What types of formats and ad units do you accept?
We accept primarily IAB standard formats such as 250x250, 250x300, 600x400, et cetera. We also accept rich media formats and have our own proprietary shaping technology, which allows our advertisers to place uniquely shaped, attention-grabbing ads and images on consumers’ desktops.

Segments



Describe the audience segments your company uses and how that system of segmentation differentiates you from your competitors.
Since we are 100 percent protective of consumer privacy, we do not segment our audience. Instead, we built a complete categorization of the Internet broken out at high level (e.g., Travel, Dating, Automotive) down to discrete areas of interest (e.g., Luxury SUV, Las Vegas Hotels). We can also target based on geographic location.

Data Points



Describe the data points your company uses and how that system of segmentation differentiates you from your competitors.
We use impression and click data for our consumers in the aggregate based only on ads that consumers see via WhenU, whereas our competitors also collect extensive data on consumers’ browsing and other online activities (via tracking cookies, PIE and other technologies that harvest comprehensive records of consumers’ movements and activities across the internet.


Do you track behavior through cookies or some other technology? If something other than cookies, what is it?
WhenU does not use tracking cookies, nor do we employ any technologies to harvest consumers’ behavioral data for server-side analysis or profiling. WhenU takes a unique client-side approach to BT; our proprietary client software is loaded with a database of rules which makes decisions locally on the consumer’s machine regarding which ads to show based on the consumer’s behavior in a 100 percent privacy protected way. A very small amount of behavioral data is stored in encrypted form on the consumer’s computer in a manner that neither WhenU nor anyone else can access. Nothing about the individual consumer’s behavioral patterns is communicated back to WhenU’s servers for analysis; WhenU does not engage in any kind of consumer profiling, anonymous or otherwise.


What percentage visibility do you have to a consumer’s total online behavior?
Due to our focus on privacy, we do not have a high visibility into individual consumer’s total online behavior, and that’s the way we like it. Our track record demonstrates that it simply is not necessary to know everything about what a person does online in order to serve highly relevant advertising at exactly the right moment and achieve the high click through and conversion rates that make BT so desirable.

Privacy



How do you address privacy?
WhenU is built on privacy protection. We have architected our technology so that we can deliver behaviorally and contextually targeted ads while protecting privacy 100 percent as described above. Most BT solution providers are quick to point out that they do not collect personally identifiable information. But they do capture vast amounts of behavioral data and engage in extensive profiling of consumers. WhenU believes that approach is to BT is fatally flawed, and that the industry’s growing addiction to harvesting and hording vast amounts of consumers’ behavioral data is unhealthy and contributes to cascading trust among consumers.


How are consumers notified that their behavior is being observed?
WhenU displays extremely short, clear and prominent disclosure to consumers about how WhenU works -- including a sample ad and links to our EULAs and Privacy Policies, which are unusually short and free of excess legalese -- and we get consent from consumers to show ads based on their online behavior. Each ad unit served is clearly labeled; we remind people that the ad is coming from WhenU software installed on the computer, not website(s). There’s also a “?” on every ad unit that the consumer can click to learn more about how WhenU works, review the EULA and privacy policy and find opt-out instructions.


Do you collect any personally identifiable information?
Hell no. Nor does WhenU engage in any kind of consumer profiling, anonymous or otherwise.


What steps do you take, if any, to protect the privacy of the end users?
WhenU goes to extreme lengths to protect peoples’ privacy. Protecting privacy means more than just saying you don’t collect personally identifiable information. WhenU respects the privacy of peoples’ behavioral data as well: we don’t massage it, share it, sell it or lose it, because we don’t collect it in the first place. Having WhenU running on your computer is far less invasive to privacy than using a search engine or visiting a major news site. We know nothing about our users, and that’s the way we like it!

Client Testimonials

I believe in behavioral targeting, and WhenU provides a cost efficient way to utilize this evolving methodology. Kayak.com, a meta-search site in the travel space, has had a good experience with WhenU as they deliver a highly responsive audience at a fair price.
-- Dean Harris, CMO, Kayak.com
ROI is a major concern for Reunion and spending advertising dollars in the right place is essential to our business model. Otherwise, we do not continue to succeed. WhenU’s Behavioral Targeting helps identify qualified users for our service. WhenU staff is very focused on our goals and makes every effort to achieve them.
-- Gary Hall, senior director business development, Reunion.com Inc.

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Nanette is iMedia Communications' executive editor.   In addition to her roles at iMedia, Nanette has served as a specialist in content marketing, editorial content, public relations and social media for various clients. She's contributed to...

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