back to article Behavioural targeting works, claims US study

Behavioural advertising is more than twice as good at getting ad-viewers to make a purchase compared to non-targeted internet advertising, but costs more than twice as much, a survey has found. US advertising network trade body the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) commissioned the study, which was based on data provided by …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    OK - it works for the *advertisers*

    ... but at what cost to the privacy of the targets? (ie. the users)

    Unless & until they can acquire the information with an up-front positive opt-in from the targets, I shall continue to studiously ignore all advertising (and anyone thinks I can't do it - I was thrown off an advertising appraisal panel in a former company because they'd show me the 30 second "reels" and I had no recollection of any of them - my brain simply refuses to admit the information).

    On the rare occasions they manage to infiltrate my defences, then I usually make a mental note that if they need to advertise it that heavily, it must be crap and I don't buy crap (willingly).

  2. Harry
    Thumb Down

    "converting 6.8 per cent of viewers into ...

    6.8% seems like a high figure, but ...

    Any persistent targeted contact is far far more likely to be seen as deliberate harassment, thereby convert the *other* 93.2% of viewers into dedicated NON-customers who will avoid that company's products at all costs.

    You win some, you lose some -- and you probably lose a LOT more than you win, but of course the researchers never reveal the statistics that don't stand in the favour of whoever commissioned the statistics.

  3. Nathan 13

    It may work, it may increase conversions by 10000 gazzillion % but

    Unless you have full explicit consent from each customer to spy on them, its about as ethical as putting cameras in the customers house and monitoring them 24/7.

  4. Nick Kew

    Yes please!

    Does behavioural advertising (thanks for not succumbing to 'merkin spelling there) mean that my accepting inoffensive ads but immediately adblocking anything that moves on a page will cause them to stop trying to inflict flash-crap on me?

  5. jake Silver badge

    "Tracking"? Stalking, more like ...

    "Systems track a person's web use"

    Stalking is illegal, no matter how you try to pretty it up.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Just because I'm a man and I like sex dosen't make me buy Viagra from you...

  7. Identity

    An interesting study but...

    it doesn't take into account those who might be so turned off that the advertiser actually loses a customer. Still, if the overall numbers show an increase, I can't see advertisers "leaving money on the table."

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Rather depends on which viewers you're dealing with...

    These aren't the droids we're looking for...

    Move along...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But the question is:

    Can they statistically predict which finger I'm holding up and that I refuse to knowingly click on one of their crap ads?

  10. Graham Marsden

    Beahvioural Targetting works, claim study...

    ... AdBlock Plus works even better, assert users!

  11. Spanners Silver badge

    More reason for AdBlock

    As far as I can tell, I either ignore adverts or, if they are really annoying/obtrusive, chose other products. If I want information on something, I will do the finding out by...

    1. Looking down the shop shelf

    2. Asking people

    3. Product reviews

    and the like.

    Adverts are deliberately trying to show their own product in the best light. If someone is trying too hard, this proves that the item in it may not be all it claims.

  12. Thomas 18

    Logic error

    Maybe companies who can afford more expensive adverts can do so because they have better products. People will be more likely to buy a quality product from an advert.

    - Database access and tracking = expensive

    - Quality products = bundles of cash to spend on expensive ads

    Correlation, not causation.

  13. crosspatch

    Doesn't that just put the D in Duh!

    Gator/Claria reached that conclusion 10 years ago. Nothing new here, move along.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ... and some you lose

    I wonder how many fewer eyeballs there are on those ads because an increasing number of people, put off by the the creepier aspects of data-pimping, are installing ad blockers / cookie cleansing /no script?

    A sharply increasing number of distinctly non-techy mates are becoming sufficiently pissed/motivated to install ABP rather than just hit the 'off' button in google's so-called dashboard, giving google/other parasites a 0 percent chance of getting them to click on ads and make a purchase, rather than the 2.8 percent they previously enjoyed via 'normal' ads. I wonder when they'll lobby to get ad blockers banned, doubtless some 'cab for hire' ex minister could sort them out.

    The harder you squeeze the bar of soap, the more likely it is to fly from your hands.

  15. David Pollard

    Isn't this a tautology?

    "Behavioural advertising is more than twice as good at getting ad-viewers to make a purchase..."

    Aren't members of the targeted group intrinsically more likely to make a purchase, by definition? If the targeting is working, those selected were probably going to make a purchase anyway.

    Targeting may well select more of those who are actively comparing products prior to purchase, but the survey doesn't seem to provide any evidence that this 'makes it good' at promoting purchases.

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  17. The BigYin

    The internet has adverts?

    How quaint.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    The study shows what??

    The study shows that Targeted Advertising DOESN'T work?

    Table 1 of the study document shows that for 2.8 times the outlay you get 6.8% conversion instead of 2.8% for the run of network (RON) adverts, or to put it another way 2.4 times more sales. The conclusion therefore is spending 2.8 times more on traditional RON advertising would yield greater returns.

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