Monday, September 13, 2010

Intent and Behavioral Targeting

Can I change the ads?

An interesting by-product of behavioral targeting (BT) is that I get a lot of ads from the same industry.   Over the last couple of years I've worked with clients in the education space - particularly around graduate degrees from for-profit institutions.    The side-effect: I see a tremendous disproportionate number of ads from the likes of GCU, Western Governors, etc. whenever I surf for interesting news stories. 

It seems that a weakness of BT is that just because I visited a site it doesn't mean I'm interested in buying the product.  There are numerous reasons to visit a site and only some relate to the purpose of display ads - driving traffic.  Since I rarely (never?) go to the "Apply Now" pages and only review course descriptions the systems should infer my intent as something other than a prospective student. 

I wonder what ads I've been missing.