The idea is essentially to obtain user-behaviour data from the MSN and MS Search networks to find out what people are interested in. They are then targetted with ads on topic to those interests, rather than specific keyword searches.
For example, if I'm searching around for prams and discount baby clothes, chances are I'm a new mum (well, dad actually) so I would be in the "new parent" category which advertisers could specifically target.
The behavioral targeting component of MSN's adCenter ads is one of the bids the company is making to differentiate its search engine marketing product from its dominant competitors
Actually, Yahoo! have been doing this kind of thing for a few years now, and it's likely to have more of a focus with it's upcoming Panama platform.
Google also filed a couple of patents on this last year:-
This could be the future of ad targetting for the web and the scenery around this space could change quite a bit depending on who implements this the best way. I'm not sure how well it works in practice, but in theory it certainly makes sense.
Hi everyone, I just wanted to clarify something about this. Yesterday's Media Post article referred to the recently launched behavioral targeting for display advertising, and incorrectly stated that behavioral targeting was part of Microsoft adCenter - they have since corrected the article. Behavioral targeting for Display advertising is not related to any functionality currently available in Microsoft adCenter.
I'm sorry about the confusion and please let me know if you have any questions.
Hi Briggidere, We're working on this - we've developed behavioral targeting technologies available in demo format at Microsoft adCenter Labs [adlab.microsoft.com]. This is a "testing ground" for new search technology and we take the best features from adlabs to incorporate into the adCenter user interface.
The two behavioral search technology demos in adLabs are Demographics Prediction and Detecting Online Commercial Intent.
More forum discussion about AdLabs on this thread [webmasterworld.com].