Predictive Behavior by Steve Blanshan

May 26, 2017

Change encompasses our daily lives, from moment to moment we encounter change and are forced to adapt to surroundings that we have little to no control over. It’s been a factor of our biological existence since the moment of birth and will continue alongside us until the end.

Perhaps change in never more present than in the world of digital where yesterday is as deep in the past as the giant T-Rex and we don’t just look towards tomorrow, we live in it. The top minds in our digital environment have learned to not only embrace change, but to reach for it. Staying still is the new falling behind.

One example of the ever-present winds of change happening here at PunchDrunk is our strategists and analysists insistence on pursing what we are labeling Predictive Behavior. Since our agencies conception we have fostered the believe that data equals knowledge, but knowledge is useless without action. To learn means more than to understand. It’s what we do with our knowledge that takes digital campaigns from average to extraordinary. We are learning from the vast amount of data that passes through our campaigns that the evolution of Behavioral Targeting is once again upon us.

When Behavioral Targeting first entered the digital dictionary its soul was built upon the data of third party research companies like Experian who could provide “buckets” of individuals whose online behaviors told us if they were looking to buy a car or take a vacation. We saw the birth of phrase like Auto Intender or Outdoor Enthusiast. An individual’s site visits determined what bucket(s) they belonged to and then the bucket was sold to media companies and agencies. Today these buckets are still for sale and not many of the qualifying rules have changes. Visit Kelly Blue Book just once and you will find yourself labeled as an Auto Intender for the next 90 days.

We at PunchDrunk worked diligently through the years to aid in the evolution of Behavioral Targeting, forming partnerships that allowed us to offer Next Generation Behavioral Targeting in which we eliminated the buckets entirely and pursued consumers based on their actual searches. It wasn’t enough to go to for us to deliver you an ad, we needed to see what type of vehicle you searched for and then we watched how long you studied that vehicle and matched your IP address with our other collected data points on you to determine if you were indeed the ideal target for our client – Mr. Mercedes.

We have been utilizing the Next Gen BT tactic for our client’s campaigns for the past few years, with small changes and adaptions as more and more data was discovered and now, after years of collection on YOU, the consumer, we can start to not just look at what you are doing currently, but what you will do next. We are learning to Predict Behavior.

The concept itself is simple and one every parent of multiple children can relate to. Our first child teaches us that if you put a plate of cookies on the table they will disappear in a blink, with our second child we learn to establish the rules before we put the cookies down, “you can have a cookie after dinner”. And with our third child we learn that no matter how many times you say wait to have a cookie, the cookies still disappear. With our first effort in anything we learn, our second we test, our third we begin to perfect, although in all fairness may be a long time still coming as evidenced by my efforts at carpentry.

You see predictive behavior unfold before you all the time, just walk down the grocery aisle and see how companies have paid for spot placement knowing that shelf A will produce more sales than shelf B. Years of watching sales and consumer behavior taught the grocery industry how to price shelves and predict sales. Now, with years of behavioral data on hand, it’s digital time to do the same, but in even a more impactful way.

Imagine running campaigns where we know the next site you will go to or what you will buy on Amazon tomorrow even without you conducting a single product search. Imagine the whisper of an idea in your mind touching you the exact moment an ad does. Imagine predicting with 99% accuracy what the engagement of your campaign will be before you launch it.

Tomorrow is closer than we think.