Search Ads & Behavioral Targeting.

I have tea. This may be the only thing getting me through this afternoon. I think I’m getting a cold or something. Let’s just keep things simple, okay? Speakers for this panel are Kelly Gillease (, David Kopp (Yahoo!), Jonathan Mendez (RAMP Digital) and Natala Menezes, (Microsoft). Chris Sherman (Search Engine Land) moderates.

Chris starts off by discussing how behavioral targeting is really the up and coming approach of the future for targeting ads to users. It’s a pretty unique way of reaching out to someone based on a whole series of behaviors.

Jonathan Mendez is going first.

Search is the original behavioral targeter. He plugs his new company a little.

Personalization and Targeting areas to focus on:
1. Build segments and Affinities
2. Hypothesize relevance
3. Create and develop
4. Test and validate
5. Monitor

In terms of segmentation, think thick slices for high impact. Even a small lift across a wide amount of people will make a huge difference. There are a lot of different ways that you can go about creating your slices. Think about who they are, how they reached you, how many times they’ve been around. Keep the environment in mind. Where they are, what language they speak, what resolution they’re using and what browser they’re using.

Take a look at the search URL. There is a wealth of information in the parameters that Google provides and obviously you can add your own as well if you’re doing tracking. Don’t underestimate cookies for tracking people.

If you see a lot of people coming in from one particular segment and landing on a particular page, customize that page to reach them.

Temporal targeting, if one page does better on week days and another on week ends, direct people to those. Customize those for the people who are looking for them.

Social search is very useful for creating segments.

Bringing the behavioral targeting from the search page to the Web site so that you’re customizing things on the actual page. You can customize the ads on your site based semantically. He uses Edmunds as an example.

Kelly Gillease steps up as Jonathan takes his bow. Her company is a niche provider of destination travel products like sightseeing tours, theater tickets, etc. I may bookmark that.

They’re working on getting their brand name out there even more. So they were running a banner ads targeting the people who were visiting but not buying. They have a fairly strong search program in terms of visits and sales but low overall brand and category awareness. While they get a lot of visits, they need to build brand trust.

Only 8% of visitors see their homepage, 20% of people didn’t know that you could book these sorts of activities in advance. One thing they learned from their test was that there is an enormous amount of interplay between banner ads and search.

Resist the temptation to silo marketing programs. Assess the impact ofo display campaigns across programs, especially search. A banner campaign needs a search campaign. If you’re going to launch banner ads, make sure that when they search on the term they can find you too. Close the loop and let them build on each other.

Our next speakers is Natalia Menezes . Audience intelligence and what that means. What does behavior mean? What is Microsoft doing about it.

They did a study on searcher moms. 2/3 of the moms use search after seeing ads elsewhere.

Targeting a specific searcher by profile. How do you reach two very different segments searching for financial planning? Ignore the demographic and psychographic markers. (Really? I think the Persona modelers would disagree.) Look at what they’re doing, what have they searched for, visited, bought. You need two key pieces of data: a list of users and a sample of site visitors.

The more you know about a user the more they convert but the more you know, the lower your rate of interaction is as well. You know fewer people really well.

They’re testing two demographic tools: commercial intent of queries and demographic prediction

Tomorrow they’re going to a behavioral targeting system. If you’re interested in testing any of their tools, you can fill out a form for their beta.

David Kopp is up now, he looks startled. It’s okay. I don’t know what’s going on either.

Behavioral targeting enables you to focus on user intent. What is it? It’s modeling users’ behavior to derive intent. Technology + Reach + Insight = Relevance. Behavioral targeting used to be very rigid and rule based but now they’re taking in a lot more information and taking into account a lot of other factors to help them determine what the user means. They think they have not just a very wide reach but also a very deep reach. They get an average of 1800 page views per user across a variety of portals, they’re able to base their decisions on an unmatched level of precision. Big words. Backed up with some pretty impressive stats from case studies.

I’m feeling a little dizzy so I’m going to skip the Q&A portion. I apologize.

Susan Esparza is former managing editor at Bruce Clay Inc., and has written extensively for clients and internal publications. Along with Bruce Clay, she is co-author of the first edition of Search Engine Optimization All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies.

See Susan's author page for links to connect on social media.

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One Reply to “Search Ads & Behavioral Targeting.”

I don’t think the cold slowed you down Susan, nice job blogging the session. I think you summarized what I had to say more succinctly than I did!


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