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The Online Advertising Playbook: Proven Strategies and Tested Tactics from The Advertising Research Foundation by Robert Barocci, Taddy Hall, Steve Rappaport, Joseph Plummer

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Affinity Targeting

We all know there are numbers of sites for any particular interest, whether it’s cars, planes, celebrities, social networking, independent films, music, soccer, or stamp collecting. When someone likes one site better than others in a category and feels a connection with it—an affinity—does it matter? Yes it does, and in ways important to targeting advertising, according to the Online Publishers Association Audience Affinity Study (OPA 2002a).

OPA, with research partners comScore Networks and Millward Brown IntelliQuest (MBIQ), studied the webwide behavior of a sample recruited from comScore’s opt-in panel. These people gave comScore their explicit permission to track their every click. Millward Brown IntelliQuest surveyed attitudes toward websites and web advertising, and predisposition to buy branded products. From the responses MBIQ created an “Affinity Index” comprised of three correlated measures: site visitors’ “likelihood to recommend” a particular site, their “satisfaction with [its] content,” and whether a site was bookmarked by users and placed in the “favorites” section of their browsers.

MBIQ also created an affinity gauge with high, medium, and low levels. The key finding: Websites attract loyal visitors. Fifty-one percent of visitors displayed high affinity for the sites on which they took the survey. Forty percent exhibited medium affinity. And the low-affinity group? Just 9%.

High-affinity visitors distinguish themselves in a variety of important ...

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