Welcome to my blog on Content Intelligence and Engagement Performance; I have spent years in collaboration, messaging and social space developing advanced technologies to improve the consumer experience and lead generation. Was inducted into the Viral Hall of Fame by Marketing Sherpa as well as other industry awards. Join me in the conversation.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Future of Social Ad Targeting

Facebook is by far the most user generated content rich sites when it comes to aggregating consumer’s preferences to real world products and services i.e. people fanning pages (1.5MM+ fan pages). The overall challenge with Social Ad Targeting is respecting consumer privacy and the fact that a great deal of social information is now public domain. Companies like MyLikes.com “Word of mouth advertising platform connecting advertisers with influencers Share your likes with friends, make money or donate it to charity” are using peoples “networks” like on Twitter to broadcast brand offers they get paid when others click. The big question is authenticity and will this increase relevance?

Now we’re seeing a fast move towards more audience targeting, where demographic, behavioral and contextual data are aggregated to create a unified view of a target audience. Social graph ad targeting is a way for marketers to target consumers based on who they're connected to within online social networks but its hard to see if these companies are really using the graph or just doing cookie based re-targeting as we talk about below.

The offline world has been doing this for years and has highly structured data trading processes where as the online marketing world is just starting to really trade in this valuable currency.

The consumer self selected information is becoming the nexus of this equation, however, with Facebook recent changes in its data use policy ad platforms that once got data from API / FB Connect sites are now or should be disconnected.

Special Provisions Applicable to Developers/Operators of Applications and Websites
2.6. You will not directly or indirectly transfer any data you receive from us to (or use such data in connection with) any ad network, ad exchange, data broker, or other advertising related toolset, even if a user consents to that transfer or use.

Analysis: This entirely new clause strongly suggests that some online advertising companies have been doing exactly what it says they shouldn’t be. This is unsurprising given that many online advertising companies have built their businesses on secretly buying and selling user data, however that data might have been gained, then using the information to do things like target ads. It’s not clear how Facebook can enforce their good behavior on its site, but the clause is a good first step to limiting abuse.

Using cookies and attaching those cookies to Personally Identifiable Information (PII) violates privacy laws created to protect consumer’s privacy, HOWEVER, brands, publisher sites and ad platforms have figured out that consumers check the box on the privacy policy and terms of use policy without reading anything opened up the door to PII and cookie. We’re seeing major players engaged at scale to improve ad targeting (re targeting) using data obtained from database marketing, social sites and other highly segmented data to improve ad efficiency. The NAI is pushing hard on policymakers from enacting tough online privacy rules recently released a new study showing that ads targeted based on users' prior Web-surfing behavior are more valuable than run-of-network ads.

"It's clear that behavioral targeting has the potential to significantly elevate the value of the inventory -- to the advertiser, to the publisher and to the network," says report author Howard Beales, a former head of consumer protection for the Federal Trade Commission.
The study is based on a survey of 12 ad networks -- all NAI members -- about their 2009 ad revenues. For the study, researchers surveyed 12 ad networks that belong to the NAI about their 2009 ad revenues. Beales reports that marketers paid average CPMs of $4.12 for behaviorally targeted ads, compared to $1.98 for run-of-network ads.

As of last week Facebook’s deputy general Michael Richter announced “ In the proposed privacy policy, we've also explained the possibility of working with some partner websites that we pre-approve to offer a more personalized experience at the moment you visit the site. In such instances, we would only introduce this feature with a small, select group of partners and we would also offer new controls.” In other words, partners are going to use social targeting and leveraging your graph to increase Facebook and their monetization.
The off-site and in game opportunity is enormous using consumer data to increase ad relevance. Using social data to improve ad efficiency is not new concept and a recent study by Razorfish shows that those who fan have 3 fundamental elements; Love of the Brand, Exclusive Deals/Offers and Service/Support

This is the year were more companies will push the boundaries of the social graph to increase sharing, conversation and click through probability. With all good things there will be the bad apples abusing consumers. We hope that targeting will reduce the visual spam were getting now and add continuous value.


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