Top Brands, Social Media and Tweaking Behavioral Targeting


sem1.jpgADOTAS — Adam Wicks Walker, Chief Strategy officer of Hydra, has a few predictions from the coming year.

1. Corporate America will stop dragging its feet in embracing accountable online media.

Economic pressures are going to force companies to innovate their advertising…or die. That means doing much more than dipping their toe in the waters. With an ROI mandate breathing down their necks, even the stragglers are going to start wholeheartedly embracing the use of the Internet and direct response tactics to drive immediate actions and transaction, and will insist on tracking stats for proof of delivery. That the Internet is able to provide accurate stats gives it a huge advantage, and makes for less financial risk than traditional advertising media.

2. The race to harness social networking will grow even hotter.

Over the past several years, we’ve seen a vast increase in social media networks and their popularity and a fundamental, long-term shift in consumption away from traditional, top-down, business-to-consumer advertising. As more big brands take notice that consumers are much more interested in what their friends are doing and thinking than what a random display ad presents to them. So expect to see progressive brands abandoning their broad based campaigns to more targeted arenas where consumer WOM is already taking hold.

3. Direct response will stop being a dirty word.

There is no denying that our current economic climate is forcing many brands to reassess their advertising spends. Realizing that impressions are a trivial way to track effectiveness of a campaign and that neither CPM nor CPC are able to deliver the results they want, many brands are turning to direct response. We’ve seen this trend at Hydra several quarters now and expect to see it strengthening in 2009.

4. Exchanges and arbitrageurs who bring no added-value to the table will start getting forced out.

Our industry is filled with thousands of players who at best, just add confusion and clutter to the marketplace. And, with only 40% of premium ad space available, advertisers are fed up with the me-too’s who promise big but don’t deliver. As a result, in 2009, you’ll see a plethora of advertisers who will demand that the ad trade industries start to organize content providers in a much better fashion.

5. Many advertisers will choose to sidestep the privacy debate

As privacy remains a hot topic for consumers, many advertisers are finding themselves in hot water. While tired of taking time out of their busy schedules to fight privacy issues, many don’t know how to target consumers in a productive and non-invasive way. But, next year all of that is about to change. In 2009, many advertisers will avoid privacy-related issues all together by abandoning behavioral targeting in favor of successful advertising models like CPA that deliver a positive ROI.

6. Behavioral targeting won’t go away, it will just get smarter

Unlike television, radio, print and billboards, the Internet is the only medium where ads can be tracked and micro-targeted. And, savvy brands who need to reach a specific audience understand this. In 2009, more and more brands that rely on targeting will insist upon taking advantage of the tools the internet has to offer and will focus more of their budget on micro-targeting to ensure that their ad dollars are reaching their wanted demographics and producing the biggest ROI possible.

— Express your opinion, comment below.


  1. Once we weather the economic crisis, serious brands will flock back to a more targeted CPM system. CPA will be left for the snake oil sellers. I would never trust my brand to be handled by a performance marketing network.


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