By knowing how users behave online -- in terms of the Web sites visited -- online firms say they can sell more ads. Thus, so-called behavioral targeted ads are under way at large online ad sellers Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL.
Google will remain on the sidelines -- at least for now. But its Web portal rivals are stepping up their efforts to use behavioral targeting to make display, or banner, ads more relevant to Web site visitors. Making Ads Count. The idea is to serve up ads based on what people look at online.
"If you were online searching for a car, the next time you were online you would see ads for car loans and auto dealers served up to you automatically," said Chris Winfield, president of Web marketing firm 10e20.
Without such targeting, banner ads can show up anywhere. The car buyer could see ads for golf clubs, even if he doesn't play golf.Web portals are hoping behavioral targeting improves the performance and sales of display ads.
Advertisers have jumped on the idea, says Ian Thomas, director of customer intelligence for Microsoft's digital advertising solutions unit. The company started using behavioral targeting last year.
"(There is) considerable demand," he said via e-mail. "Our behaviorally targeted inventory is frequently sold out, and we receive regular requests from advertisers to extend the range and depth of targeting that we offer."
Microsoft, Yahoo!, Advertising, Online Ads, Behavioral Targeted Ads