Behavioral Targeting: How to Target the Right People at the Right Time
Behavioral targeting is a marketing technique that helps you segment audiences based on their actions and activities — and not just by demographic parameters.
This kind of data-driven targeting can help you create specific user profiles based on previously collected behavioral data. Marketers, like you, use behavioral targeting to increase engagement even as more and more online users are successfully avoiding most ad formats.
Behavioral targeting data is usually collected via:
- web analytics tools;
- customers’ browsing histories;
- collected IP addresses; and
- collected cookies.
And the metrics most often collected are:
- type of device used;
- geographic location;
- transactional data;
- visit data;
- browsing history; and
- purchase history.
Basically, marketers can use any type of data that provides actionable insights to increase conversions and engagement.
Beyond Demographic Data
The problem with using demographic data is that it can typically be accessed by anyone, including your competitors.
To keep your competitive advantage, use more of your own customer’s data to create more personalized online shopping experiences. This will help you achieve greater return on investment and return on ad spend, while also ensuring your customers get the right ads at the right time.
If you successfully target the right group, your audience will be potential customers who are familiar with your product, and you'll generate much higher conversion rates.
Behavioral targeting allows you to create a detailed user profile and deliver better ads with better timing. On the flip side, this targeting limits the possibility of delivering irrelevant ads. Both of these scenarios improve your advertising campaign key performance indicators.
How it Works
So, how does behavioral targeting help create these profitable and personalized advertising experiences? It’s all about tracking customer behaviors online and collecting pieces of information regarding their behaviors with small, temporary internet files called “cookies.”
A powerful data-gathering tool and a successful means of implementing it are required. This is why the best behavioral advertisers invest in a good data management platform.
In broad strokes, the process usually involves four steps:
1. Collect Cookies: Gather the data
When users visit a new website or sign in, a cookie is put on their computer, saved either temporarily on a local memory drive from which it's deleted after the browser is closed or permanently on the hard drive.
2. Make a User Profile: Crunch the data
Since cookies are collected and saved over time through new page visits, time spent on particular pieces of content, your users’ ad clicks and behavioral patterns related to search and shopping habits can be recognized.
3. Define Consumer Groups: Slice and dice
Using the profiles and patterns created, you can build different target market groups. Once these distinctions are recognized, behavioral targeting websites will be aware of the interests, purchasing trends, likes and dislikes of the members of each of your audience segments.
4. Share Relevant Information With Customers: Conversion time
After that, instead of receiving random ads, your customers will only see personalized ad material and custom content based on past behaviors when they reconnect to the website or network.
Cordes Owen is the founder and CEO of Bake More Pies, an integrated marketing agency with digital DNA.
Related story: Level Up the Context in Your Content for the Win