Any of you who keep up on the online advertising market through related blogs, articles, etc. have certainly noticed the rapidly developed "ad network shakeout" meme. The story goes like this -- as the economy worsens, companies will continue to decrease their marketing/advertising budgets, and the hundreds of new ad networks that have popped up over the last few years will have to compete more vigorously for the diminishing dollars available, thus resulting in a shakeout where many won't survive.
While I'm in full agreement, and feel their survival depends on technology, targeting and optimization (an ROI differentiation), that's another post altogether. But I did want to note a few smart comments I read recently, made by folks within ad networks. Philip Smolin of Turn notes in this article:
Some of our algorithms at Others Online combine the power of both contextual and behavioral, and we've also found this to improve results. Contextual targeting (behavior now) generally outperforms behavioral targeting (past behavior) except when page context is just really bad. And it's just logical to reinforce your contextual targeting with behavior you've seen in the past.
Behavioral has always been about display advertising, and yes it will be key. But what about text ads and other keyword-based (not category-based) targeting? I find it interesting (and exciting) that Others Online is the only company today offering behavioral targeting technology for keyword-based ad inventory.
Another interesting comment made by Joe Apprendi, CEO of Collective Media at Behavioral Insider (link requires password/registration, unfortunately):
Couldn't agree more. If I'm an advertiser, I'm only interested in reaching an audience with certain product/market-oriented affinities -- otherwise it's just a waste of an impression ("spray and pray"). I hear this a lot from ad networks, and it's frustrating them because most of them have NOT indexed their audience -- they've only indexed the sites in their publisher network.