Behavioral Ads Get Fewer Clicks, More Conversions

NEW YORK Internet users who click on behaviorally targeted ads are more likely to become customers, according to a new study.

Research from AOL’s found that behavioral targeting ads produce lower response rates than run-of-network placements, but those clicking them more often open accounts or complete a registration form.

In the personal finance category, behavioral-targeted ads drew a click-through rate 56 percent below untargeted ads, yet they had a 90 percent higher conversion rate than untargeted placements. Similarly, targeted auto ads had a 64 percent lower click rate but 323 percent higher conversion rate. For education ads, clicks declined 22 percent and conversions rose 105 percent.

“What is happening is the advertising is more relevant to them,” said Lauren Weinberg, associate director of research at “There are less wasted clicks.” based its findings on three campaigns using its Audience LeadBack technology, which targets ads based on Internet behavior tracked anonymously by cookies. For instance, a user who visited a car-comparison site could be targeted with auto ads when visiting non-auto sites in the network. The campaigns used for the study served about 200 million impressions from July to September.