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How advertisers use your online data

How advertisers use your online data

As Kipp reported this week, your private data is fair game on the internet. Anna Gibbons of neo@Ogilvy explains how advertisers use your data.

August 5, 2010 4:40 by



For a cosmetic brand, contextual advertising used to mean buying space in the makeup section of a fashion magazine. The data and technology available within digital channels now means we can target advertising against specific keywords, wherever they might appear.

As an example, that same makeup brand could advertise to women in the Middle East whether they are reading The New York Times fashion blog or watching Lauren Luke’s DIY makeup videos on YouTube. Contextual targeting allows us to broaden the scope of our activity, reduce the premiums we, as advertisers, might have to pay to secure contextual relevance in a magazine, newspaper or TV show and, ultimately, make the advertising more relevant to consumers.

The slightly more controversial method of targeting online – behavioural targeting – didn’t exist before 2005.

Through analysis of a person’s activity online (note: not all data is personally identifiable), we are able to build a picture of how interested a potential consumer might be in a certain product based on what is being searched for, what ads are being clicked, and what articles are being read.

We can look at the frequency of this behaviour and overlay on it a purchase cycle of, say, a car, and predict when the consumer might be in the market for a car.

Using similar logic, it is possible to identify whether someone has visited a website – and by the pages they visit, whether they are, in fact, already a customer. Through this, we can start to communicate using messages more fitting to their relationship with the brand.



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