Where Behavioral Targeting and CRM Meet, and Where They Can Marry

MediaPost’s Behavioral Insider an article entitled “Beyond Surfing Data: Where Behavioral Targeting And CRM Meet” in which he interviews Undertone Networks CEO Mike Cassidy.


Phil’s telling opening comment triggered this Reactionary with Insight post:

“[Behavioral Targeting]
remains for most publishers little more than a tool for squeezing a little extra revenue out of “sub-par” inventory, and for most advertisers a tactic for generating higher response rates. Worthy goals– but hardly paradigm shifting.”


First of all, I think it is important to point out that this interview sets up what I believe to be the front-end of what BT has to offer.  As a prospecting tool BT sets up an advertiser with the opportunity to draw forward individuals who have been primed by preferred events that increase their potential to respond to future advertising.  Now I have been strong in the past with my arguments that the ability to predict people’s responses to advertisements based on event-based targeting is mediocre at best, but I do admit it is stronger than not deploying BT at all.  Cost-determining should make this a decision worthy of evaluation.


But this interview introduces more that is worth your consideration.  When BT and CRM begin to come together, we are looking at much more than simply increasing an advertiser’s ability to drive prospects at a higher rate.  We are talking about what we do with higher-valued prospects after we have acquired them.  And that get’s pretty interesting.


The article defines the event-based targeting on Undertone as follows:


By placing a pixel on the home page, advertisers can track how customers or would-be customers engage with the brand, segmenting customers with as much granularity as they wish in terms of what and how much, or how often, they buy; what types of content they browse; the intensity or casualness of their interest; and how short or how long their sales purchase cycle tends to be. They can then follow these customers anywhere on our network and serve them ads based on their customer profiles.”


This is does not sound altogether much different than BT on TACODA, Advertising.com or other networks.  Dave Morgan’s recent blog post, The Ad Network Resurgence talks about how there are going to be more and more networks over time.  I asked him what happens when BT becomes the commonly offered by each network and represents less of a differentiator.  Undertone’s BT sounds like a solid representation of what is becoming more commonly expected by what was originally brought to market by networks like TACODA.  I guess to cover basis, over time, advertisers that see BT as being core to their strategy will begin to buy on more and more networks that offer BT and perhaps buy on less and less sites and networks that don’t make this available.


So the only limitation of this is of course that you have to advertise on the specific network to reach that browser.  There are some advertisers out that that may advertise on more than one BT network and then pixel their sites with more than one BT network’s pixels so that they can track and target people from each network but there is no cross-over tracking and targeting. 


Think about that.  I can be seeing the same person on the same networks, have had targeted three separate times and never known it.


Say I use TACODA, Advertising.com and Undertone and pixel the same five pages on my site and then I advertise on all three networks, if I encounter the same individual on my site I have just tracked her by all three BT networks at the same time.  Good thing insomuch that if that individual goes to any of those networks I will hit her with a targeted ad.  But what happens with the sequence of ads?  What happens when she goes to each network 3 times and then on the fourth time she clicks on an ad on one of the networks.  I don’t know that its actually the 10th time I’ve seen her, only the fourth according to the data provided by the network that acquired her.


The interview with Mike Cassidy talks about post-acquisition integration capabilities with CRM.  I have not heard much about BT integration possibilities with event-based targeting.  Anonymous click-stream data doesn’t really offer that much integration opportunity.  And there is even less opportunity when the data format is associated with the network’s third-party cookie.


Cassidy says that an advertiser can “…evolve and refine both their advertising messaging (for greater relevancy and timeliness) and their customer profiling over time, based on a potentially far richer data set. A whole new universe of possibilities opens up for more efficient up-selling, cross-selling and closing the sales loop in the sales cycle.” 


Nothing more than that is said, but I think that it’s worth exploring here.


A lead that is acquired through a BT network initially comes through like any other lead from any other network ad.  He will have come through a unique click-thru that an advertiser will presumably setup that will tell what network they came from.  Then the network will provide reporting that will report on the pixel tracking so that should report the pixels, ads and sites that are associated with the lead.  Now I have advertiser tell me that certain popular BT networks can not report to them the navigational pathway of the pixel-tracking.  So if an advertiser pixels a lot of pages, and a browser can bounce around the site a bit, there is no way to know the pathway of that navigation.  But of course, BT is not a site analysis tool.


So the advertiser gets the data they normally get.  If they use an ad server they will get a little more data, ad rotations, etc. and then of course they get the data that I have described that the network provides.  But there is no integration of this data.


When the lead lands on their web site, the lead can get tagged by a CRM system with a first party cookie for the first time.  Now the browser can be tagged, the tag can be associated with the source and the lead can now be tracked by the site analysis system (Webside Story, Omniture, Web Trends, etc.) and any one of the numerous CRM tools) as a lead converts to a customer, etc..  All of the acquisition marketing data associated with BT stays with the BT network and all of the CRM data stays with the CRM system.


Complete isolation of acquisition marketing data and customer data.


CAN THIS BE DONE DIFFERENTLY?  SEE MY NEXT POST (tomorrow/Monday): Marrying Behavioral Marketing and CRM with First Party Ad Serving

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