March 29, 2006, 12:00 AM

Data-driven advertising converging online search, display ads, study says

41% of the online marketers surveyed by Forrester would pay a premium for help in coordinating search and display ads. New services at SEM companies will rise to offer behavioral and contextual ad targeting alongside search bid management.

Search engine marketing is getting pricier by the day – so is top-tier online impression-based advertising. Online marketers are looking to alternatives that boost ROI and a new report from Forrester Research finds that one alternative getting their attention is behavioral targeting.

“With major portal inventory selling out at top dollar 12 months in advance, marketers can’t afford just to buy reach,” says report author and Forrester analyst Shar VanBoskirk. “They need media partners that can help them reach their customer.”

The rise of behavioral targeting -- serving ads to users whose online behavior implies interest in a particular product or service – underscores the ascendancy of data driven advertising and the convergence of online keyword search, contextual, and display ad buys, according to Forrester. With 41% of the online marketers surveyed saying they’d pay a premium for help in coordinating search and display ads, behavioral and contextual targeting services will start showing up at search engine marketing companies, according to Forrester’s report, with tools that optimize behavioral and contextual ads alongside search ad bid management tools.

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