Impressions, Data, Audience, Intent

I’ve been reading through a raft of year-end predictions from the digital advertising-oisie (thanks so much AdExchanger.com for putting it all together).
I’m not an advertising “native” as you might say, but just a humble investor in advertising technologies, platforms, agencies, and next-big-things.  So the vocabulary takes some getting used to.
But something just struck me: most of the predictions are all about using “data” to gain insight into the “intent” of members of an “audience”.
I’ve got a novel idea: why not just ask them?
What made search advertising such a rock-star was that you don’t have to guess what the searcher is interested in: they’re telling you.  Not perfectly.  Not always.  But it’s a big step in the right direction.
All kinds of targeting approaches jump through hoops to try to guess a prospect’s intent.  These schemes are ingenious: if you combine context, history, behavior, offline data, and social network, you know a whale of a lot about the prospect.  But it’s still incredibly hard to know what’s on their mind.
I’m looking for advertising breakthroughs which, like search, piggyback off an obvious indication of intent.  That’s where we should be investing next.
Have you run across anything along these lines?  Let me know…

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