Behavioral targeting is all the rage with online display advertising right now, and video search engine blinkx is bringing it to video. For the past few years, blinkx has offered contextual video advertising through its Ad Hoc program, which matches ad keywords against a speech-to-text translation of the video, as well as all the tags and titles associated with that video. “We are extending targeting in Ad Hoc from contextual to behavioral,” says CEO Suranga Chandratillake.
He explains the new targeted advertising product in the video below (I caught up with him last week as he was passing through New York City). Overall, blinkx powers 17.5 million video searches a day across its network, which reaches more than 60 million people a month. But for now, the behavioral targeting will work only on blinkx.com, which is a small part of its overall reach. Using cookies, blinkx will assign psychographic profiles to people base don what they watch. It will start with nine profiles, including Yoga Moms, Digital Dads, Gossip Girls, Adventurers, and Infonauts.
Brands will be able to target specific segments by showing their ads only to Yoga Moms or Digital Dads. People are classified in the different buckets depending on what they watch. Binkx trains the system by extracting different concepts from each video and matching them to a profile. For instance, videos about children, crafts, soccer, or terrible twos are the types of things Yoga Moms supposedly watch. Advertisers can see the keywords associated with each psychographic profile to determine who they want to go after.
By blending contextual and behavioral targeting, Chandratillake thinks he can get the best of both worlds. But true behavioral targeting would probably require data inputs from beyond blinkx.com, and even beyond any group’s video viewing habits. True behavioral targeting would take into account what websites you visited recently, and not just what videos you’ve watched. But blinkx is starting with what it can control. Down the line, it might have to incorporate data from broader behavioral targeting ad networks.