Skimlinks can now ‘pre-target’ users down to a product category

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In late 2015, London-based affiliate marketing network Skimlinks announced a programmatic targeting service for advertisers called Audiences.

It is a data coop that pools anonymized data about online visitors’ purchase intents, which is then used by advertising platforms for ads or other targeting. Participating site publishers share the data coop’s revenue. Skimlinks says that its network covers 1.5 million websites, about 20,000 retailers and 1.4 billion shoppers.

When it was announced in November of 2015, Skimlinks said that the visitor data was divided into segments of 200 or so product categories, with indications about how soon the users in a given segment wanted to buy that product.

As it turns out, CEO and co-founder Alicia Navarro told me, those “product categories” were really about product-specific retailers and brands, not actual products.

Let’s say a user browses to a page on a participating publisher’s site. The publisher might have a review of new Sony cameras. Since Sony makes other kinds of electronic products, though, the “product category” might be consumer electronics. If the page was on, say, the site of a retailer that specializes in cameras, then the category might be cameras.

Navarro told me that her company’s machine learning was generating some segments in categories that were actual products, like microwave ovens, but there were too few categories, with too little user data, to be useful.

This week, however, Skimlinks is announcing it can now generate actual product categories — such as “digital cameras” — at scale, creating about 900 product categories. They include electric irons, golf bags, humidifiers, microwave ovens and homeopathy.

[Read the full article on MarTech Today.]

About The Author

Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.


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