Recently, eBay's comparison shopping site, Shopping.com, entered into a partnership with Revenue Science, a behavioral targeting company, to start displaying behaviorally targeted ads to visitors based on their search activity on the site and the pages they visit. The partnership will enable Shopping.com to deliver more relevant advertising through behavioral targeting to audiences on Shopping.com as well as on its premier consumer reviews site Epinions.
With the proliferation of ecommerce, incorporating behavioral targeting to consumers’ access to product and pricing information has become increasingly important for advertisers. As an example, “The wealth of behavior that Shopping.com can draw on to enable behaviorally targeted campaigns from its two sites will be incredibly attractive to advertisers who want to reach consumers throughout the sales cycle,” says Nick Johnson, senior vice president of business development and general manager of account strategy for Revenue Science.
Already have domestic partnerships with such companies as Shopping.com, Wall Street Journal, ESPN.com, Univision.com and Dennis Digital, (the interactive division for Maxim, STUFF, Blender and The Week magazines), it was only a matter of time for New York based Revenue Science to expand internationally.
Last month, Revenue Science announced its presence in the UK and Europe with the addition of such blue-chip clients as FT.com, The Guardian, Associated New Media, News International, Reuters and Wanadoo.
According to Johnson: “The U.K. has shown the most demand as we have been selling there for a little over a year now and are working with major publishers. We just opened an office and hired a managing director to handle the volume of campaigns. However, we expect that the Japanese market will reach U.K. levels very quickly as the market is quick to embrace and maximize the value of new technologies like behavioral targeting.”
Revenue Science introduces behavioral targeting in Japan
With the rapid growth of online users in countries such as China (by the end of this year alone we will have seen the online population in China go from 70 million to 100 million) and Japan (the percentage of households in Japan using broadband is set to grow to over 70 percent by 2007 according to eMarketer), coupled with top U.S. internet companies like Google and Yahoo! expanding their international operations, companies such as Revenue Science must start viewing globalization as a necessity rather than a sideline.
Revenue Science entered into a strategic partner agreement with DAC, Japan’s leading online advertising company, to introduce behavioral targeting in Japan. Says Johnson, “We are excited about the partnership and the opportunity it presents in the second largest internet market in the world. We are aggressive in the market. Within a month of the partner agreement, we were able to sign up multiple publishers in the DAC Ad-Network to use BT.”
The below initial Revenue Science/DAC partnership publishers represent about 90 million page views per month and will expand to include more publishers and page views of 400 million in Q1:
- A cosmetic community site that is Japans #1 largest site
- A parenting/mothers' site
- A car site
- A golf-related site
- Two of Japan's largest TV stations
- One of the biggest publishers of female lifestyle magazines.
“Our partnership with DAC is a major signal to the media world that behavioral targeting is a marketing tool for everyone-- not just English language or U.S. marketers. It continues to prove what we’ve been saying all along-- that behavioral targeting applies to any publisher and any market,” says Johnson.
As always, U.S.-based companies involved with foreign operations experience localization and usability challenges. As an example, Johnson says:
“Our behavioral targeting goes far beyond the 'section level' where most behavioral targeting stops. Revenue Science technology is effective because it looks at every word on a page, regardless of the section, and we had to make sure that was understood and valued correctly. Then, we have to translate our technology to work with 'double-byte' characters such as the Kanji alphabet.”
According to a recent survey by iMedia/Ponemen, 64 percent of all U.S. ad agencies are buying behavioral targeting with an average 13 percent share of budget going towards the strategy. They forecast an increase to 21 percent share of budget for 2006. Behavioral targeting is rapidly growing and it is clear that this technology is going to include inventory management systems and an increased emphasis on sales strategy in the near future. Planners and buyers will need to seek out new online opportunities where they can identify their targets and build robust campaigns to meet their objectives. The promise of behavioral targeting has become a reality and is poised to become a standard part of the global media mix.
Elizabeth M. Lloyd is chief marketing officer of Dragon Media Online, Inc., a leading international marketing services company that has developed world-class, performance-driven online marketing solutions and best-of-breed email database management -- all designed to monetize international and multicultural markets. Lloyd's work on international online marketing has been highlighted in numerous publications as well as in academic curricula for MBA international marketing programs worldwide.
Following are a few ways that the modern browser is beginning to play the role that was previously only possible within a device specific application:
HTML5 and geolocation
If you are building an application that needs to perform location-based services, you may want to consider HTML5. Geolocation is a standard within the spec and roughly 80 percent of modern web browsers are compatible with the geolocation attribute. If you think you need to build and iPhone and Android app to get "Foursquare-like" check-in functionality, think again.
HTML5 and the camera
If the application you are building needs to make use of the camera, consider that, pretty soon, consumers may not need an app for that. While the spec is still in draft, the W3C has outlined standards for various types of media capture from within the browser. We still have a long way to go before you begin to see web-based applications that can execute augmented reality, bar code scanning, or audio capture like Shazam, but this is definitely on the way.
HTML5 and the accelerometer
The launch of Safari 4.2 introduced access to the accelerometer (you know, that thing that makes images tilt when you turn your phone) from within the browser. This is significant, as it will allow standard web developers to create more interesting interactions without the need to create an application. Here is an example of a web browser accessing the iPhone's accelerometer:
Device-native applications are still necessary in order to take full advantage of various hardware elements on a given device, but if hardware-intensive functionality is not part of your strategy, web standards may be an alternative to the more costly process of building apps for every platform.
The media kingdom, restructured
Twenty-first century marketers have begun to embrace branded utility in order to reach the inattentive, empowered, choice-driven consumer -- apps have simplified the creation of useful software. While the app is a new phenomenon, one thing remains constant; in a world where content is king, distribution is the kingdom. Although fragmented, the current app store ecosystem has allowed for ease of distribution.
Over the next few years the open web will undoubtedly begin to regain some of the attention lost to siloed app stores. Much like the early days of search engines, 2011 will be a transition period where multiple channels must be considered in order to distribute content for maximum discoverability. In addition to native app stores, numerous third-party app stores have hit the market to help distribute apps in a more seamless manner.
One third-party app store in particular is experiencing quite a bit of growth. GetJar recently got picked up by AT&T for distribution across various cheap handsets, as well as Blackberry phones. While GetJar will not be available on the iPhone, the AT&T partnership will be a coup for the startup, as is it will extend its reach to Android and other open platforms.
Another interesting project is Intel's AppUp. AppUp will carry apps for netbooks -- a growing trend. Although still new, Intel provides consumers with an app store from a trusted brand.
In addition to third-party app stores, app-mania has given rise to numerous app recommendation engines.
As a marketer promoting an application, is it essential to have your content in each one of these indexes? Probably -- at least until the app ecosystem normalizes and takes its rightful places as part of the web continuum at large.
As previously mentioned, we are living through a period not unlike the early days of search engines. Web applications are, in many ways, the true realization of the web as a medium beyond the shadows of its media ancestors. The challenge of curating and distributing applications has yet to be conquered on a grand scale.
Web applications are unlike any prior media and a period of mania in which illogical actions run rampant is to be expected. The period of mania must however come to a close. 2011 is the time to begin to transition back to a strategic approach to marketing in a world of ubiquitous access. It will be a year when we open web standards will make a resurgence making it easier for marketers to communicate with a larger consumer base.
You will most likely be faced with difficult questions this year but remember, they are no different than questions you have faced before, even though the decisions at hand regard new sets of devices. Remember these three things and 2011 will be a piece of cake:
- Don't settle for the status quo; question everything
- Consider all your options before committing to a direction; it is worth the extra time
- Learn the words, "no, that is not a strategy" and use them every time your gut tells you to (if you get fired for doing so, call me, I need people like you)