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Behavioural targeting still a niche offering for publishers

LONDON - Four-fifths of online publishers are now using some form of targeting to increase the value of advertising on their sites, but only a fifth are using behavioural targeting, according to new research.

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The information was gathered anonymously from 150 publishers in a survey sponsored by ad optimisation firm The Rubicon Project and conducted by Econsultancy in August and September.

Geographic and contextual are the most popular methods of targeting, with 51% and 49% respectively employing them. Demographic targeting is used by 31% and time targeting by 25%.

In addition, 45% of publishers allow advertising networks to cookie their visitors in return for a higher CPM.

The survey also pointed to a healthy market for online display advertising. 57% of publishers said revenue had gone up in the past year, compared to 27% who said it had gone down.

This contrasts with the Internet Advertising Bureau's recent study of the online advertising market, which showed that display spend dropped by 5.2% to £316.5m from the first half of 2008 to the first half of 2009.

There was also an indication that publishers are working with an increasing number of ad networks.

A balance of 37% of publishers said they were working with more ad networks than a year ago and a balance of 26% said they expected to be working with more in a year's time.

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