USAToday.com said on Tuesday that it would offer advertisers the ability to target its audience based on their demographic and behavioral data, following the lead of other publishers trying to capitalize on users’ behavior.
Using Tacoda System’s Audience Management System, USAToday.com can combine a user’s site activity with gender, household income and zip code information gleaned from registration to create their own segment.
Complementing the custom option, the site offers seven pre-set segments using either behavioral or demographic information. The five behavior-targeted segments are: investors (bulls and bears), travelers (lookers and bookers), male sports fans (armchair athletes), technology early adopters (e-fluentials), and car buyers (tire-kickers). Advertisers can also target women and affluent households.
The program builds on USAToday.com’s move in February to ask some visitors to register to gain access to its site. Unlike NYTimes.com, which requires all visitors to the site to register, USAToday.com only asks frequent visitors for their zip codes, ages and genders. The site now has 7 million registrations, according to Lorraine Ross, vice president of advertising sales.
“It’s going to offer advertisers a way to eliminate waste from their campaigns,” she said. “We’re able to help them refine that search” for the right consumer.
With the program, USAToday.com joins other top sites in looking to give advertisers more options to finding the right audience. In June, the Wall Street Journal Online rolled out a similar program in conjunction with Tacoda rival Revenue Science. The Online Journal offers advertisers eight categories based on a user’s site behavior. In February, New York Times Digital began its own behavioral segmentation program, which it called wide-angle targeting. (It has since changed the product’s name to behavioral targeting in an effort to simplify matters for advertisers.)
NYTD offers advertisers the chance to link behavioral and demographic data. For example, an advertiser could target male auto buyers age 25 to 30. Likewise, Randy Kilgore, the Online Journal’s vice president of online advertising, said the Online Journal’s program could do the same.
However, Tacoda CEO Dave Morgan said its software gave ad sales teams more flexibility in creating segments and the ability to do so on the fly, instead of waiting for the IT department to do code changes.
“It’s the ability to mix and match these segments, not against just what the publisher thinks is valuable but what the agency and advertiser thinks is valuable,” he said. “The problem with most targeting systems is they can’t respond on the fly.”
In addition to giving advertisers more pinpointed reach, targeting programs allow news sites to sell lower-priced run-of-site inventory at a premium. Instead of selling the space as inventory, the site can sell the audience visiting it.