Programmatic Video #WotW: What Is Online Behavioural Advertising?

Programmatic video is the fastest-growing category of programmatic buying, but a lot of marketers are still struggling to get to grips with the basics.

A recent study by the Association of National Advertisers and Forrester found that only 23% of marketers said they understood programmatic and were using it to execute their campaigns. This is despite the fact that more than half of US publishers reported selling their premium video ad inventory programmatically in August 2014 (Adap.tv), while mega-brands like American Express and P&G vowed to shift the majority of their ad spend to programmatic by the end of 2014.

There’s clearly a knowledge gap between the programmatic front lines and everyday marketers, making 2015 a key year for programmatic education. As with any burgeoning new trend, one of the main causes of confusion is vocabulary.

Any discussion of the topic produces a web of jargon and acronyms that’s enough to send anyone running to Google. But fear not, this is easily solved.

Each week we’ll be serving up handy guides to the most important programmatic video terms, courtesy of Unruly co-founder and CTO, Matthew Cooke. Last week we looked at what First Look deals are. This week, Matthew explains what Online Behavioural Advertising is.

Stick around and see how quickly you can master the art of programmatic.

What is Online Behavioural Advertising?

Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA) is the term used to describe the collection of information about users’ online activities and the use of that information to better target ads. Examples of the kinds of data that can be either directly collected or inferred from data collection are user age, gender & income bracket and online interests. There are literally thousands of different types of data available for targeting from third parties like Bluekai, Lotame, Exelate etc.

When Unruly talks about audience targeting using data collected at the user level, whether using third party or first party data, we are talking about online behavioural advertising. Using OBA techniques, we can target users classified in particular ways based on data previously collected. We don’t know who those people really are at a personal level, such as their name or other personally identifiable information, they are identified and targeted via a unique identifier.

There are various legal rules and best practices that apply to OBA, such as giving users the chance to opt out of the targeting and making sure that any data collections practices are adequately disclosed.  It’s for legal and best practice reasons that we always have an opt out icon across all Unruly ad formats which allows users to opt out of Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA) with us.

An example of non-OBA targeting would be targeting based on keyword matches, site content or by picking sites known to be dominated by particular audiences. If it’s not at the “user level” it’s not OBA. All users of third party cookie data vendors like Bluekai, Exelate, Quantcast, Lotame etc are OBA.