One of the most powerful assets available in the world of display advertising is the ability to target consumers. Advertisers can improve their sales pipeline by reducing the amount of disinterested consumers that are targeted by campaigns casting nets that are too wide.

Advertising is slowly moving toward prediction, where ads are served to consumers who are in the market but don’t yet realize it. We’re not there yet, but we have an immense amount of data to work through that can help us target consumer behavior.


Consumer behavior is not easy to categorize. There are no standards that account for every individual’s actions, like we don’t all like apples or oranges. The closest we can get is to categorize consumers by groups, taking what we know about individual desires and using that to reach out to wider arrays of consumers.

When we buy banner advertising space from ad exchanges, we are using search terms to help define consumer interest. We also target by location, and look for consistencies in gender and professional life. We may try to target specific industries, or an entire group of people like “moms in their 30s”.

When you buy from ad exchanges, you are buying from sources that have an audience that matches what you’re targeting. It cannot account for individual behavior, yet, but they have done most of the legwork involved in targeting for you. You need to utilize your own market data to help drive this traffic in the right direction, but buying your traffic from these platforms is an excellent method to target consumers based on the behaviors that define them.

Bio: Ted Dhanik is the co-founder of engage:BDR, and is an active accelerator in the Los Angeles startup scene. Ted Dhanik has more than ten years of experience launching brands with display advertising. Contact Ted Dhanik through engage:BDR.

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