May 20, 2008, 12:00 AM

Online advertisers looking to behavioral targeting, survey shows

The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization’s 2007 State of the Market survey finds 80% of online advertisers would pay more for targeted pay-per-click campaigns.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Online marketers recognize that targeting customers is a way to get more out of online advertising – so much so that four out of five of them are willing to increase their online ad budgets to add behavioral targeting to their pay-per-click campaigns, according to a new survey.

The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization’s 2007 State of the Market Survey of online marketers, including retailers, also found that 57% of online advertisers are willing to spend more on demographic targeting, such as by age or gender. Marketers on average are willing to pay 11% more for both behavioral and demographic targeting, the survey determined.

Additionally, while 75% of those surveyed say they are not currently targeting or re-targeting searchers, 40% of that group plan to do so within the next year. Re-targeting is the practice of sending targeted display ads to consumers who searched a marketer’s site for a product, but did not make a purchase.

The study also found that most online marketers are not willing to pay more for dayparting, the practice of scheduling online ads to run at certain times of the day. Only 30% said they’d pay more – on average, 9% more – for clicks based on dayparting.

“Online advertisers are always faced with the challenge that there are a finite number of searches occurring daily. Behavioral targeting gives advertisers an opportunity to expand the search marketing universe,” says Kevin Lee, CEO of search engine marketing firm Didit and a member of SEMPO’s board of directors.

For the survey, SEMPO surveyed a mix of 867 search engine advertisers, including online retailers, and search marketing agencies. In results released earlier from the survey, SEMPO found that the North American search engine marketing industry grew from $9.4 billion in 2006 to $12.2 billion in 2007, exceeding earlier projections of $11.5 billion for 2007.

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