Behavioral-Focused Online Ads Whup Context-Targeted Ads

21 September 2007

NEW YORK: Online consumers are consistently more responsive toward behaviorally targeted (BT) ads than contextually-based (CT) equivalents, according to a study carried out by Jupiter Research and released this week.

Jointly commissioned by behavioural targeting shop Revenue Science and AOL, the report claims that the behavioural approach outperforms contextual by 22% in some categories.

Whoops Revenue Science marketing vp Marla R Schimke: "We're glad to see that the voice of the online consumer echoes our position that behavioral targeting is more effective - for advertisers, publishers, and for consumers - than contextual advertising."

The study's key findings reveal that ...

  • Overall, two-thirds of online users have taken actions as a result of viewing online ads.

  • Across all advertising, 14% of online consumers are more receptive to BT ads than to CT ads: 63% vs 49% of the total audience.

  • BT outperforms CT in terms of consumer attention by at least 10% across fourteen major product categories, from Financial Services to Consumer Electronics to Pharmaceuticals to Fashion and Style, ie:

    • 17% more online purchasers of computing products are more receptive to BT ads.

    • 18% more online auto purchasers are more receptive to BT ads.

    • 20% more online telecom purchasers are more receptive to BT ads than to CT ads.

  • Attention-getting behavioral targeting is preferable because more than 75% of online shoppers shop only once per month or less - and the majority research a product only once or twice before buying.
Among Americans spending over $500 online annually, 10% more were defined as behaviorally receptive; while among those spending less than that figure, an additional 17% fell into that category.

Observes Schimke: "Due to the level of consumers' online activity, marketers have to maximize a limited opportunity to move consumers through the purchase funnel."

Data sourced from (USA); additional content by WARC staff