Viewpoint – Stephan Noller

Behavioural targeting is a big part of the industry already. The share of campaigns using targeting almost tripled last year – a big jump in the number of people using the technology.

The big trend in online advertising for the next year is the return of branding. It will be the main growth driver for online display. At, we think targeting can do a lot to make branding campaigns more efficient. We see it as part of kicking out the click and replacing it with brand-based key performance indicators.

The other significant trend is that prices for behaviourally targeted advertising are rising while untargeted cost-per-thousands are going down. In other words, people are willing to pay more for targeting/ agencies and advertisers are really starting to understand what it can do. In addition, targeting was previously positioned as a performance technology – just a way of increasing click-through rates – whereas now agencies are seeing it as a way of reaching a campaign’s intended audience. They’re starting to see it in a similar way to advertising around relevant content, and they’re willing to pay similar rates.

The privacy question around targeting is still very much live. From the beginning, we have focused very strongly on privacy; we take it very seriously and think the rest of the industry should too, but we also believe that it’s absolutely possible to do targeting in line with consumers’ expectations of privacy. It’s much more about a lack of transparency and education in the market. We have to explain more about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. Consumers will become more accepting of technology like ours, because we’ll have educated them and been more transparent about what we’re doing.

At the same time we have to take the views of the European Commission very seriously. I’m the chairman of the Internet Advertising Board Europe Policy Committee, and what I’ve learnt from dealing with Brussels is that they’re very concerned about behavioural targeting, and that there’s a chance they’ll move to regulate it, but they also say that if the industry improves the education it does and the level of transparency it offers, we’ll be allowed to move on without regulation.

Stephan Noller CEO

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