5 Steps to Using Behavioral Targeting Effectively
Bad publicity has equated behavioral targeting to spying. Despite its negative reputation, when used appropriately as a marketing tool, behavioral targeting actually can help combat intrusive advertisements and marketing messages to consumers. Here are five ways to help you use it effectively:
1. Understand your approach. Site-side behavioral targeting uses web analytics to analyze data about customers’ behaviors online. This information then can be used to recommend and personalize marketing actions, such as follow-up emails, online offers or more traditional, targeted "offline" direct mail pieces. Essentially, site-side behavioral targeting is event-based marketing online.
Behavioral ad targeting collects customer information based on cookies or data through internet service providers. This data is processed and then used to serve specific ads online to consumers, targeted to their latest activities.
Behavioral ad targeting outside of your website always should be based on anonymous information, such as search terms and URLs visited. Site-side targeting, on the other hand, is part of the customer relationship and permits taking click and customer data into account for follow-up targeted marketing activities.
3. Keep it relevant. Behavioral targeting is about listening to your customers and interpreting their actions — the goal being to personalize marketing communications so they feel it's a service, rather than an intrusion. Just like a good sales assistant, behavioral targeting lets you pay attention to your customers’ browsing and buying habits. Therefore, you can provide them with relevant information, when appropriate, to encourage them to make purchases. Getting the balance right can help improve relationships with your customers, increase sales and maintain loyalty.
4. Be consistent. Consistency goes hand in hand with relevancy and is crucial for successful behavioral targeting strategies. Customers expect a similar experience from a brand, no matter which channels they interact with you in. If your business's online, retail and call-center marketing departments aren't all aligned, customers will notice.
5. Pay attention to customer responses. Carefully evaluate your customer contacts and the histories of their responses to determine whether they find the targeted content you’ve offered useful. If they haven’t clicked on information or multiple offers targeted to them, then you shouldn’t keep using the same content repeatedly.
It's your job as a marketer to educate and reassure consumers that behavioral targeting can benefit them. It’s about providing a service, not spying on their every move. Whether you focus on site-side or behavioral ad targeting, respect your customers and ensure their privacy.