Behavioral Targeting

From BC$ MobileTV Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Behavioral Targeting (commonly abbreviated BT) is the process of segmenting users by not just demographics, income, race, gender or other superficial characteristics, but also by other (often times more relevant) metrics such as time spent interacting with an object or message, frequency of interactions, recency, likelihood to purchase after following a certain trajectory of interactions, etc...

Behavioral Targeting activities typical center around building and/or exploiting existing user profiles, user preferences and user activities/histories, in order to tailor a message (i.e. marketing), offer (i.e. advertisement) or a specific product/service to a specific user at a specific point in time, thereby controlling, influencing or otherwise benefiting from knowledge about, their behaviour.


"With the greater attention paid to overall ad targeting, and the rising focus on brand messages online," says Mr. Hallerman, "this market will nearly quadruple by the end of 2011, growing to $3.8 billion."

There are three key reasons for the large spending gains:

Behavioral targeting helps marketers reach a more engaged audience with fewer ad impressions Behavioral targeting helps publishers monetize their "long tail" pages — the non-premium or remnant inventory that either is sold for less money or remains unsold Even though individuals are often not aware of the process, many tend to find ads targeted by their actions to be more relevant to their needs, and therefore more palatable or even welcomed. [1]

Legal Issues

There are a number of outstanding legal issues regarding the practice of Behavioral Targeting at each layer of the OSI network protocol, but most public debate has been conducted around the Application, Computer/Device and ISP levels.

A recent inquiry from the US Federal Government has been inconclusive at best, despite the pointedness of each of the questions posed. [2]

The inquiry has found that the majority of the major players are denying their involvement in Behavioral Targeting or Tracking. [3]

Standards Bodies

Political Bodies


The Federal Trade Commission is the primary regulatory political body in charge of looking out for cosumers' interests in the US. They have ruled towards less strict self-regulation by the Content & Ad businesses engaging in Behavioral Targeting activities. Despite releasing a major guideline for such self-regulation process, they have as yet not issued any formal legal or political mandates.

[4] [5]

Major Players







External Links


  1. eMarketer - Behavioral Advertising on Target... to Explode Online:
  2. Behavioral Targeting: The government wants some answers:
  3. List of Replies to the US Governement's question "Does your business engage in Behavioral Targeting?":
  4. Behavioral targeting - FTC still prefers self-regulation:
  5. FTC Staff Report - Self-Regulatory Principles - For Online Behavioral Advertising:
  6. Tracking the trackers - Mozilla's anti-Big Brother add-on:

See Also

Advertising | Privacy | LBS | Personalization | Social Media | Marketing