Behavioral targeting is the state of the art today but it doesn't always confirm a willingness or ability to buy. For example, a young woman might enjoy researching on travel sites that feature the places she'd like to visit, however she may not be able to afford an all-inclusive vacation package to Fiji. In cases like this, behavioral targeting is ineffective because it tags everyone who visits a travel site, regardless of their ability to make a purchase.
Another reason that behavioral targeting campaigns come into question is because they rely on the tracking of consumer online habits through the placement of cookies or tracking pixels. ComScore reports that at any given time only 30% to 40% of the online audience has a tracking pixel in place, and most of those cookies are concentrated on the top 1% of web properties. This leads to limited inventory and massive over serving of the ads to the same audience. In addition, most consumers don't appreciate having their activities monitored and some are proactive about blocking or erasing trackers with firewalls and online security programs. The practice of placing cookies and pixel tracker limits the potential audience, but it also undermines consumer trust and can reflect badly on a company brand.
One common alternative to cookie based solutions is geo-targeting to the zip code. Zip Code level targeting breaks the U.S. into 40,000+zones, however there can be drastically different demographics within each zip code. This generally means that the zip code solutions are currently used for low cost remnant inventory or as filler in campaigns
Over the past two years The Marketing Grid has been working with our partner Semcasting who has been working on ways to reinvent online advertising targeting as it is currently defined. Our design objectives were to dramatically improve the precision of the digital ad targeting, increase the reach of campaigns to near 100% coverage, while still adhering to all privacy and Do Not Track guidelines. The result is Smart Zones.
Smart Zones is a breakthrough audience identification platform that maps nearly 100% of online traffic into qualified, target ready audience while protecting user privacy. Smart Zones is the first compiled demographic database for the Internet.
Smart Zones segments the U.S. Internet into 30 million zones (15 million consumer and nearly 15 million business), creating more granular targeting than zip code level targeting that is typically used for the 65% of remnant inventory. It proves a tremendous advantage over traditional zip code demographic targeting in that it triples the reach of most campaigns while ensuring exposure to prospective consumers who actually meet the targeting criteria.
For example in zip code 01810, Andover MA, the average income is $155,000. Using Smart Zones, 01810 can be broken in 28 demographically qualified zones that each reveals very different incomes from the zip code average. For example in one zone in Andover there are 30 individuals with an average income of 98,000, well below the zip code average, while another zone across town there is a zone with 28 people who have an average income of $252,000. Having this information as part of the targeting methodology allows companies to more accurately identify their best prospects and suppress the worst – at a sub-zip code level.
Smart Zones maintains the highest standards of online privacy and complies with "Do Not Track". There is no application or usage of cookies or tracking pixels. There is no communication, linkage, or access to personally identifiable information – making Smart Zones 100% privacy friendly.
Through Smart Zone's 15 million+ target ready consumer zones with more than 70 million demographic combinations an average of 600 times more accurate targeting resolution is achieved with 3 times the coverage of any cookie dependent alternative.
If you have questions or would like to learn more about Smart Zones please feel free to contact me at chris@marketing-