I moderated a panel discussion at OMMA Behavioral in SF last week and one of the questions that came up during the discussion was simply paraphrased as, "when will BT be taken seriously". The fact is that the actual audience of people utilizing behavioral targeting platforms to the fullest extent of their usage is small, much smaller than the amount of hype and discussion would lead you to believe.
One of the problems that faces the BT companies, whether they are the 1.0 version that focuses on click stream data or the 2.0 that aggregates ISP level data and works with search data, shopping data, social graph data or other applicable data points, is that there are too many ways to go with the data. In direct response marketing there's a mantra that if "you give the consumers too many choices they will choose not to choose one". This is the same problem that faces the agencies and the marketers. Too many choices and they throw up their hands and go back to more pressing problems. The effective result is that the audience for behavioral targeting remains small while the promise still looms in front of us.
One of the panelists made a great statement - its about purchasability (however you spell it). Just because I know that data points that will help describe my audience doesn't mean that I know how to act on it! My observation is that BT will be taken seriously when the companies selling it are capable of walking in with case studies and actual examples of how that data was used to build a buy and how that buy worked to extend reach, drive an increase in results or achieved the desired goals of the client. If someone can show me that information, then i will buy it and so will every other marketer.
Our industry likes to keep secrets only we keep the wrong ones. If these platforms work, and I know deep down that they do, then show me. Share the data with us. We can never keep a secret about a new start-up, but we can keep a secret about how effective the tools are that said start-up has created.
I also know that the clients are the ones that are keeping these secrets. If it were up to the start-ups, they would be on the mountain top telling us all about the effectiveness of their platforms, but the clients are doing a disservice because they are stunting the growth of the industry by keeping this information close to the vest. Please open up and share a little. Your value proposition lies in the actual product much less so than how you market the product. Put your money where your mouth is and demonstrate the right tools for the industry... please.
So my answer is this - it will grow when we mature and share the information on effectiveness as well as when we come up with ideas and actions that media planners can take to implement for their campaigns. Makes sense, doesn't it?
Someone really smart told me all about it. They worked in Cable.