OMMA Behavioral: Come for the Speakers, Stay for the Baklava


Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending OMMA Behavioral, MediaPost’s one-day behavioral targeting conference. As I was telling a co-worker this morning, my brain is exploding with BT goodness! I took 20 pages of notes, so this will definitely not be the last Tech Affect blog post on this topic.

Before I dig in, I wanted to say hi to Stewart (no business card) from IC Group, for listening to me rant about how social networks used to be called online communities; to Elissa, from Revenue Science, who used to work as a censor at ABC (I still say it sounds like fun!); to Carolyn at TRUSTe, who has promised to upload a picture of the two of us to her Facebook profile; and to David and Shauna who work on the product development team at

Special thanks to Anna at [x+1] for introducing me not only to her friendly entourage of fellow [x+1]-ers, but also to the MediaPost event team — Jeremy, Jon, Carla and Lou.

It was a major coup for MediaPost to gather so many of the industry’s great minds in such an intimate format. And the baklava was so good, I almost didn’t mind being kicked out of the BlueLithium/Yahoo RSVP-only luncheon. Almost.

More to come! And thanks to panelist Jonathan Mendez from Optimize and Prophesize for making this OMMA Behavioral logo so I didn’t have to. (Google image search totally failed me.)

5 Comments OMMA Behavioral: Come for the Speakers, Stay for the Baklava

  1. Anonymous

    Now that we got those “shout outs” out of the way, how about those notes? I could use a good injection of BT expertise for a few of my clients!!

  2. David Kolner

    Thanks Leslie – we at are excited to hear about future coordination amongst publishers for standardization of Behavioral Targeting – one of the themes launched by Revenue Science on the BTSC. Looking forward to hearing your take on the subject!

  3. Leslie

    Hi, David! Thanks for popping by.

    I agree, it’s important to define what we mean when we refer to BT. I was surprised to hear it described almost exclusively in terms of banner advertising at the conference. I am also not convinced that knowing a visitor’s area code, and serving up an ad based on that, constitutes BT. (Is having an area code a “behavior?”)

  4. David Kolner

    Hi Leslie – not sure what other publishers are doing, but for us we don’t consider knowing a visitor’s area code to be BT (like other publishers, we might use IP for geo targeting which I might lump into Demographic Targeting). has a unique opportunity to tailor ads based on Business Searches conducted on our site, so we can derive purchase intent from the fact that user looked up a sequence like ‘car repair’ and ‘car dealerships’ within a one week timeframe; we then use this behavior for any advertising served on our site, such as display advertising.

    Forgive me for tooting our horn (and the pun), but we do think that ours is a much stronger Behavioral Targeting link than other sites that simply call site feature usage (or even just site usage) Behavioral Targeting. Again, this brings us back to the same conversation about standards, standards, standards – would love to see better agreement so that media buyers can feel comfortable knowing what they will get. I think in the short term the lack of standards gives an advantage to publishers with direct sale (since buyers are confused as to what they are actually buying from a network since standards are so inconsistent), and that better standards will give more selling power to networks, but as a publisher that can’t possibly monetize everything directly, we see value in having a consistency that helps us better monetize network resellers, where (again) we think our BT stands out anyway.

  5. Leslie


    Thanks for keeping the conversation going! And thanks for further defining what publishers stand to gain from standardization. I agree, the search-based BT going on at sounds like it is a cut above the demographic targeting that gets misclassified as behavioral.

    Did you see Jonathan Mendez’s recent post on this topic? I share his concern that, while we need to prevent the non-BT companies from misrepresenting their solution as behavioral targeting — just because it’s the online marketing buzzword du jour — so much of the standardization conversation seems not to be about standardizing the definition of BT itself, but standardizing BT’s “segments.”

    To me, segmentation is the antithesis of BT. The old direct marketing metaphor simply doesn’t work in this space — BT breaks the existing on- and offline marketing paradigms. Yes, it might be easier for a media buyer to say “I only want to buy Brooklyn yuppies,” but, the beauty of BT is that a great behavioral solution may discover an even BETTER prospect for X product/service than the Brooklyn yuppie.

    I think Jonathan Mendez has it right: “The future of BT has to be about customization, not standardization.” (If what we’re talking about is segment standardization.)

    David, I hope your erudite comment proves to WhitePages that you deserve your own blog…though you are welcome to keep chatting away here anytime 🙂

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