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More Blurring of the Lines or Value Add?

Lisa Picarille over at Revenue blogged yesterday a pre CJU post as she gets ready to head out to Santa Barbara. Here’s what I found really interesting in her Getting Schooled post……the end where she posts a press release sent out by ValueClick. I haven’t been able to find a copy of it anywhere else, but here is what she posted:

ValueClick Media and Commission Junction Partner for 2007 Holiday User Re-targeting Promotion WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. September 6, 2007

ValueClick, Inc. (Nasdaq:VCLK) today launched a behavioral targeting program to help retailers increase online sales from campaigns run on the ValueClick Media display advertising network during the upcoming holiday shopping season. Both ValueClick Media and Commission Junction are making the “Ring in More Holiday Sales” user re-targeting promotion available to their advertiser clients. Advertisers who place a holiday user re-targeting campaign by October 15 are eligible to receive one million run-of-network bonus impressions.

“User re-targeting is the single most effective form of behavioral targeting because it presents your message to individuals who have already expressed interest in your brand”, said David A. Yovanno, general manager of ValueClick Media. “Our extensive network reach and experience serving online retailers provide a unique advantage for any advertiser focused on sales performance, especially during the competitive holiday shopping season.

User re-targeting allows advertisers to reserve inventory targeted exclusively to consumers who have visited their sites or interacted with their online ad creative. Advertisers simply place ValueClick Media pixel tags on the pages where they want to identify visitor behavior. When those users are identified again on any of the 13,500 sites in the ValueClick Media network, they are served highly customized ads increasing the likelihood of response and conversion. Campaigns for Commission Junction clients can be optimized across the ValueClick Media network using existing Commission Junction conversion tracking pixels, eliminating the need for additional tracking tags to be placed. Affiliate marketing clients should contact their Commission Junction program manager for more details. ValueClick Media is one of the few online advertising media properties capable of delivering a behavioral targeting solution on such a massive scale. According to comScore Media Metrix, ValueClick reaches 131 million unique users per month, or 73 percent of the U.S. Internet audience.

Interesting. ValueClick made a big fuss last year (I believe it was last year) with the launch of their behavioral targeting on ValueClick Media. I’d heard rumors recently of CJ merchants being approached with running ads on ValueClick Media. From the press release, it looks like a full push will be made to pull some of their CJ Advertisers into the ValueClick Media fold for Q4.

VCLK is offering one million bonus impression on the VCMedia network if Advertisers sign-up by Oct 15. The ads displayed on the VC Media network will be retargeted ads. Advertiser’s ads will be displayed to end users who have already visted the merchant’s web site on VCMedia publisher’s sites. So how does VCLK know if an end user has already been to the merchant’s site? Merchants place VCLK’s pixel on the pages of the merchant’s site where they want to tag user’s behavior. Here’s where it gets really interesting to me. Bolding by me:

Campaigns for Commission Junction clients can be optimized across the ValueClick Media network using existing Commission Junction conversion tracking pixels, eliminating the need for additional tracking tags to be placed.

Existing CJ conversion tracking pixels? Hmmm….is this the tracking pixel that merchant’s put on their receipt page to track the sale? Someone correct me if I’m wrong on this one (I’ve no doubt someone will if I am wrong here) but that’s the only tracking pixel I’m aware of that CJ advertiser’s use. That pixel looks for the CJ cookie and passes such information as the Publisher ID, Advertiser ID and amount of sale. So exactly how will that work? Or do they mean the img pixel provided to CJ publishers that some people use and some people don’t? If it’s that pixel, then surely CJ would let their publishers know they are using information collected on the CJ publisher’s site to deliver ads on their VC Media publisher’s site. Maybe there’s another tracking pixel I’m not aware of. But the wording of the press release makes it seem like they mean the Advertisers tracking pixel. And I’m still back to how will that work? Will this impact CJ Publisher’s in anyway? Will CJ Advertisers be paying the CJ publisher even if it’s the VCLK Media Publisher serving the re-targeted ad that’s the “last click” in prior to the sale? Where will Advertiser’s feel the real value is coming from for closing the sale? I’m feeling rather confused and in an ambigous place on a Friday. Maybe some people will come back with some clarification from CJU. Hopefully ValueClick is setting this up in such a way that one set of publishers aren’t compromised for another set of their publishers. I’ll eargerly await hearing any input from CJU attendees

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