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Trust key to targeting’s future

neil dulake
Speakers at AOP’s behavioural targeting (BT) forum, held at IPC Media on 30 July, predicted a future where all online ads have a ‘behavioural’ element -but respecting user privacy and maintaining trust are absolutely key to its continued development.

Neil DuLake, commercial development manager of guardian.co.uk, stressed that a policy of holding no personally identifiable information (PII) is crucial, with page keywords, search terms and IP used increasingly to serve ever more relevant ads.

"Dissenting voices"

“Dissenting voices” about Phorm’s ISP-level targeting were not representative of the majority view, argued its commercial director Nick Barnett – one particularly vocal objector had also stopped using his mobile phone because “he didn’t want to be tracked”.

But still, everyone is responsible for respecting privacy online, said Barnett, not just vendors. All the same, exactly why online targeting should be such a "lightning rod"for recent criticism is unclear, when offline marketers have been utilising PII information for years.

Influencers most attractive to agencies

On top of trust, 'segmentation', or identifying distinct audience groups, to enable targeting, was a recurring theme at the event.

A segment made up of “influencers” would be “the most saleable segment for the agency world” said Matt Simpson, chairman of the IPA Digital Media Group and head of OMD Group Digital, as the effect of word of mouth becomes more visual across sites with social networking and recommendation features.

“Understand the value chain” he urged publishers offering targeted ad placements, “higher yields will come, but don’t focus on this from the start.”

Cross-platform targeting

As for the future of targeting, Dulake predicted further partnerships between publisher sites, and increasing cross-platform targeting, taking in online video and mobile.

The main complaints about advertising the Guardian gets, said Dulake, are about irrelevant ads –through behavioural targeting,transparency and involving the audience in the debate,they could be made a thing of the past.

Members can download presentations from the event.

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