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Business’ Guide To Mastering Behavioral Targeting


Imagine a world where you could sell to a consumer who’s looking to buy just what you’re selling. If such a world existed, it would be regarded as the holy grail of marketing. Rather than spending money on expensive advertising campaigns, marketers would simply locate the ones who need what they’re offering, and they would sell it to them.

There’s a marketing technique that lets you do just that! It allows marketers to create more effective, better-targeted messages that are extremely likely to resonate with both customers as well as prospects alike. The technique is called behavioral marketing. 

What is Behavioral Targeting?

Behavioral targeting is established on the actual behavior of your audience. You can leverage purchase activity, website activity, and activities from third-party applications to deduce how your customers are engaging with your brand and what they truly wish to see.

A recent study showed that 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a merchant that has some degree of personalization on their website.

Online marketers, with the help of tools such as heat maps, web analytics, and user recordings, can uncover vast amounts of insights from the actual behavior of consumers, which organizations can then use to enhance their marketing campaigns.

In other words, you take all the details collected from your users and use them to build a more pragmatic profile of them, which you can then use to customize your marketing messages based on which stage within the marketing funnel they are in. As data and devices multiply at a rapid speed, behavioral targeting is taking on many forms.

Is Behavioral Targeting the Same as Contextual Targeting?

As a digital marketer, you have more than likely heard about Behavioral and Contextual Targeting in sync, however, if you’re like the majority of marketers out there, you may not be entirely clear on the difference between the two. This is where the majority of startups fail.

Both Behavioral and Contextual Targeting make use of intelligence to place advertisements before the likely-to-buy, most relevant shoppers. Both these forms of targeting are dynamic as well, i.e. they continually upgrade to yield better results when provided with more data.

Although both forms of targeting have too many things in common, there are a few key differences in how they go about reaching their goal that are important for you as a marketer to know about. While Contextual targeting focuses on the content of webpages solely, Behavioral Targeting keeps track of the behavior of the online user.

So, the biggest distinction is that Behavioral campaigns serve advertisements to prospects on the basis of their past behavior while Contextual campaigns try to place ads only where “best-fit” potential prospects are going to be looking.

This takes us to our next section.

Benefits of Behavioral Targeting

Behavioral targeting is a strong marketing tool that is rooted in the contemporary, data-centric world that we live in. But it isn’t about using tech and numbers alone. Behavioral targeting provides value to both businesses as well as consumers.

Business-related Benefits

Improved Engagement.

Understanding consumer habits helps businesses to recognize audiences that have engaged with specific products, services or touchpoints. Additionally, it helps to identify audiences that are in the right behavior or moment for a certain campaign they might be running, this leads to faster conversions. Targeting users with no brand awareness or behavioral intent will restrict engagement. Leveraging behavioral targeting amplifies the impact left by a number of critical metrics, such as conversions or clicks.

Matching Customer Needs with Creatives and Messaging.

Personalized messaging converts more leads and eventually lowers the amount of wasted ad spend. Pertinent ads pose a higher probability to steer consumers along the purchase funnel than generic ads that aren’t personalized. Ads that align with a lead’s previous purchase behavior are much more likely to convert than ones that don’t.

Improving the Bottom Line.

Ultimately businesses want the best possible return on investment (ROI) on their campaigns. Delivering ads that match with audiences previous behavior is more likely to drive conversions than ones that are generic. With behavioral targeting, companies can see a rise in new business, engagement, repeat customers, and other key metrics. Targeting the right customers and focusing on retaining them is the secret to boosting your sales and improving your business’ bottom line.

Customer-related benefits

An Augmented Ad Experience.

Customers aren’t always willing to give up their personal data. However, they also aren’t interested in seeing ads where the experience is unengaging or ads that aren’t relevant. This is the exact reason why, when surveyed, the majority of customers favour personalized advertising. This personalization ultimately improves their experience and helps them engage with the company better.

Better Efficiency.

Ads can be a quick route to purchase, providing a fast way of identifying the best product/ service for their needs without a long searching process. This increases efficiency for consumers, allowing them to get to storefronts quickly and finding the most relevant products, rapidly.

Awareness of New Offerings.

By seeing ads that are personalized to them, consumers can keep up to date with new products/ services that interest them. Retargeting based on behavior can also help to complete purchases that a user was distracted from. You can leverage this feature even more swiftly within your operations by having a mobile application for your business.

We’ll now be looking at the latest trends and some useful tips you should incorporate within your behavioral targeting campaign, in order to gear yourself up for the decade to follow.

1. Personalization is the New Loyalty.

“Creating a one-to-one customer experience contributes significantly to customers that are more highly engaged, which in turn has a direct impact on the merchant’s bottom line.” – Blair Lyon, VP of marketing with Monetate

Content personalization is the next big thing within behavioral targeting that is going to provide you with the conversion thrust you want. This technique simply focuses on treating each visitor distinctly and engaging in a more detailed interaction than the traditional one: static e-shop – visitor. If you know the technique to read visitors’ intentions in real-time, why not respond to these intentions and present before them just what they want?

Some of the current personalization techniques include:

  • recommendation engines that exhibit products on the basis of a visitor’s navigation patterns
  • targeted email drip campaigns
  • personalized onsite search
  • dynamic landing pages that display more pertinent information to the user
  • personalized interactions with the visitors (pop-ups, banners), displayed during key moments: on landing page or on exit

In the near future, marketers can effectively leverage personalization by looking at the data that is available to them about the visitor; such as keywords they searched for, ads they clicked, their location, whether they’ve been to the site before, and buying history, and compare that against a set of variables put together in place.

Those variables could include:

  • Location: city, region, country;
  • Device: iPad, iPhone, Windows, Linux, Mac, Android phone/tablet;
  • Search keywords: which keywords brought them across or on your website;
  • Visitor frequency: first , second, fifth, tenth time visitor;
  • Proximity to payday, date and time of day;
  • Referring URL: any website that referred them;
  • Customer history: have they bought from you prior to this, what, at what price;
  • Session’s behavior: page views, navigation clicks.

There are many other variables which can be taken into consideration like gender, age, etc. — possibilities are endless and it majorly depends on what your customers really want and how much information you can extract about them. The aim of personalization is to have anchor clients for your business which can help form a solid foundation for your business that can help you grow and scale for the years to come.

2. Emergence of Geographic Targeting.

Geotargeting, the method by which content is delivered to a consumer using geographic location details about that individual, is a booming trend in the marketing realm currently. At a fundamental level, a business can limit its outreach to consumers only located in an outlined geographic area such as a city or a state. However, location often furnishes more meaningful, much deeper, and identifiable attributes that define what a person needs or is interested in.

Only some time ago, jeans company True Religion needed to promote new products and events at its retail stores. The company was able to serve up dynamic emails distinct to each audience to steer in-store traffic by using geo-targeted emails focused on areas in which the brand had a high concentration of stores.

65,000 geo-targeted emails were opened with a 2.5% CTR (click-through rate) and a 1% in-store conversion, a considerably huge impact for one campaign with a small data set, per True Religion’s Director of Global e-Commerce, Gary Penn.

Examples like the one mentioned above support metrics that find geotargeting increases the performance of all kinds of marketing methods by 2X, right from email campaigns to paid search. According to the Local Search Association’s LSA Insights database, it doesn’t matter what vertical your business is in. The CTR for geo-targeted mobile display advertisements was way higher than the industry benchmark for all verticals.

Here are a few practical tips for using geotargeting to reach your target audience:

  • Locate a setting where your target audience has specific wants or needs
  • Define an area of interest or a radius around your store by time or distance
  • Use location-centric keywords for Paid Search Ads
  • Discover location intent by leveraging search history
  • Analyze consumer preference and behavior from past locations visited
  • Use location-specific landing pages to provide relevant content
  • Gain an edge by taking advantage of geographic specific events

3. Behavioral Segmentation – the Future of Digital Marketing.

Behavioral segmentation is the process of classifying and grouping customers on the basis of the behaviors they exhibit. These behaviors include the types of content or products they consume, and the measure of their interactions with an app, website, or business.

Segmenting consumers based on their preferences and behavior offers the promise of turning marketers into armchair psychologists. With behavioral segmentation, marketers are now giving people precisely what they want, precisely when they need it. 

Acquisition, engagement, and retention are all vital factors to keep in mind when examining customer behavior. Contemplating the ways in which your users can relate with your product/service will help you accomplish a constructive and sustainable behavioral segmentation strategy.

Here are some ways marketers and brands can use behavioral segmentation to build more cost-effective and smarter marketing campaigns:

  • Create segmented content tailored as per the prospect’s income
  • Conduct combined studies of people’s attitudes and interests paired with demographic data psychographics to make the segmentation more effective
  • Create persona-specific campaigns
  • Move budget to audiences that are more conversion-ready
  • Segment your video ad audiences to control the number of times each segmented group sees your ads over a specified period
  • Avoid wastage of money by narrowing your segmentation
  • Better time your messages by predicting when traffic is higher