Bizo Means Business: Tackling the Ad-Targeting Dilemma

Article ImageEffectively targeting specific audiences is one of the leading objectives of online advertisers. Websites have long used demographic information to help advertisers, but the Sept. 15 premier of Bizo aims to make it easier for business-to-business marketers to reach their desired online audience.

In November 2007, ZoomInfo, a business information search engine, revealed plans to launch an advertising platform that would provide traffic analysis and ad-targeting based on business demographics. This platform, called Bizo, would leverage the basic functions of ZoomInfo, which include delivering information on industries, companies, people, and products, and focus them into a specialized platform for business-to-business (B2B) marketing. The idea for Bizo developed when former ZoomInfo GM and SVP Russell Glass seized the chance to fill a gap in the B2B industry. "We realized there was an interesting opportunity to take the same set information ZoomInfo has and use it to target marketing online," says Glass, now the CEO of Bizo.

At the core of Bizo’s marketing platform is its "bizographic" data, or business demographics. This information centers on visitors to websites within Bizo’s Bizographical Targeting Network (BTN), which is a network of websites that gather information and collect data on what type of audience visits certain websites. Glass says that Bizo should have about 20 partners at launch time.
Bizo uses its proprietary business segmentation to convert data about businesspeople into nonpersonally identifiable (so it cannot be used by itself to identify or locate a specific person) business demographic segments. This includes information such as industry, company size, functional area, and seniority. This data enables business marketers to focus more accurately on specific sites and visitors.

To augment its bizographical information, Bizo uses outside data providers. In May 2008, Bizo announced it would use the IP intelligence technology from Digital Element to enhance its targeting capabilities within the BTN. With this intelligence, Bizo was able to better identify a particular audience by extracting information on website visitors such as their country, region, state, city, ZIP code, and domain name. All of this information is then converted into nonidentifying data.

Bizo’s clients describe what type of audience they wish to reach and their available budget when they sign up. The information Bizo has collected through its BTN then allows for decisions to be made about which sites have the best target market for a client. The websites that Bizo traffics ads to are not necessarily within the BTN. Bizo uses its partnership with ad networks such as Right Media and Revenue Science to place ads on sites across those networks as well.

Bizo also offers features designed to make targeting certain audiences more accessible. One such example is its analytics tool, which allows companies to see how many impressions were delivered and how many clicks they received, and to estimate conversion rates. Another feature available is what Glass refers to as the "what’s in your cookie" tool. This tool allows any businessperson to visit the Bizo website to see what information Bizo has compiled about him or her. Visitors can then edit, update, or opt out of the cookie Bizo placed on their computers if they would prefer not to see their relevant advertisers.

Effective online marketers need to understand who their audiences are in order to deliver to them the right content effectively. Glass says that during his time in marketing, he was never able to be fully successful with online advertisers because of the lack of specialized targeting products. It was this dearth of information that prompted the launch of Bizo. Now, as Bizo dives into the B2B market, Glass hopes to set Bizo apart. "The big difference with Bizo is that we have a complete focus on B2B marketers and what kind of targeting B2Bs are interested in," says Glass. "A lot of companies use demographic or behavioral data, but we focus on the business audience."