Monday, February 11, 2008

Behavioral Targeting Standards Consortium

Revenue Science is announcing a new initiative call Behavioral Targeting Standards Consortium (BTSC). The purpose of this consortium is to put some standards definitions and best practices for behavioral targeting. This effort hopes to the form an association of diverse key industry players who will help shape these standards.
According to a press release by Revenue Science
“As the behavioral targeting industry continues to grow, confusion surrounding the technology has also expanded along side it. How does behavioral targeting differ from audience retargeting? What constitutes an audience segment? How are segments constructed and where does all this data come from? How should behavioral targeting be measured? These are questions the industry is hearing more and more. Without standards around these issues, it can be difficult for advertisers to plan and execute behaviorally-targeted media buys or measure performance.“

As ad networks are spring up every day claiming to do Behavioral targeting I believe there is a need for such a consortium because all behavioral targeting companies are making up terms to confuse advertisers, publishers and consumers. Last year Revenue Science touted that are reaching over Billion behaviors a day. “Reaching Billion Behaviors” is something I called confusion because it is not clear how you define a behavior. In a blog post last year I showed how you a network can reach billion behaviors just by having one user view 30 pages on a site.

I am not too sure if a behavioral targeting network like Revenue Science is the right entity to lead this initiative. According to Media Post article, in 2004, Tacoda proposed a set of 22 standard behavioral targeting segments to simplify the media-buying process--ensuring that advertisers who bought "Auto Buyers" as a segment on one site would get an audience that exhibited the same quality of behaviors on another site. Competitors were concerned that the standards would favor Tacoda's operating model. Other companies have also attempted to put forth their own standards since then but still too much ambiguity in the market.

Last year Revenue Science released a site called, a site aimed at educating consumer, publishers and advertisers on what Behavioral Targeting is. The sites’ promise was to provide articles, events, and success stories from industry experts and eventually grow to include an interactive section where users can share their questions, ideas and experiences with behavioral targeting. It is almost one year and all I see is case studies and discussion from Revenue Science only and that too is very minimal. Maybe it is lack of coordination in the industry and this consortium will help or maybe it was just a short term marketing ploy.

Let’s hope this consortium does take off. If you are interested you can join the consortium at to join, and the consortium's first meeting will be held at OMMA Global Hollywood in March. Keep in mind Revenue Science will have you email (the thank you email come from marketing).

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