Behavioral targeting was billed by many ad technology companies as a win-win for all parties involved: Advertisers would be able to target their ads to highly-specific audiences, publishers would be able to wring more revenue from their ad inventory as a result, and consumers would see fewer irrelevant ads. But fast-forward a few years and many online publishers are now questioning whether behavioral targeting has done anything to help their businesses at all.

Digiday polled 40 publisher executives responsible for revenue generation at their companies on the impact behavioral ad targeting has had on their overall ad business. Thirty-three percent of respondents said they believe behavioral targeting has resulted in greater ad revenues for their companies. For 45% of respondents, behavioral ad targeting has not produced any notable benefit, while 23% of publisher executives said behavioral targeting has actually caused their ad revenues to decline.

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