Criticism of behaviorally targeted ads by consumers, privacy advocates and the government has led to uncertainty in the market, which eMarketer expects to reach nearly $1.13 billion this year. Research from the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) indicates the high value of those ads, for both marketers and publishers.
The study, which looked at ads run on member networks during 2009, showed that among users who clicked on a behaviorally targeted ad, 6.8% converted. That compared with only 2.8% of those who clicked on a run-of-network ad. Clickers found behavioral ads more relevant, but the NAI did not study how likely they were to click in the first place, a key component of effectiveness.