How to Get the Most Out of Behavioural Targeting

Competition for share of mind is more fierce, especially now than at any previous time in history. Marketers need to create innovative and effective marketing strategies to beat all other competition for their share of your mind space.

With conservative estimates suggesting the average person is subjected to over 5,000 marketing messages a day, how can marketers ensure their message is the one that wins a share of your attention and thoughts? For many, the answer lies in behavioural data and behavioural targeting.

Targeting customers and prospects based on the behavioural data they generate is revolutionising marketing and advertising. In the past, customer and prospect segmentation was largely achieved through demographic data or developing marketing tactics such as niche microsites to appeal to specific segments. However, behavioural targeting changes all that because it allows marketers to target individuals with more precision. The result is a reduction in costs and an increase in campaign effectiveness.

Potential Benefits

Originating in the retail sector, more and more marketers are now starting to tap into the potential benefits of behavioural targeting. This shift is predominately a result of increased education and awareness of the power of behavioural data and the increasing availability of technological solutions that makes it easier for marketers to execute.

The whole point of running a marketing campaign is to target a specific audience with a specific message. Behavioural targeting enables marketers to understand what customers and prospects are doing, how they are responding to marketing campaigns, what motivates them and what they are interested in. Once a marketing team has this information they can make their selections and target specific audiences.

The messages that are subsequently broadcast to the people within the campaign selection will be relevant, timely and interesting to the recipient, personalised to them as an individual and, as a result, deliver much higher levels of engagement and conversion.

There are many ways in which you can use customer and prospect behaviour to enhance your marketing campaigns. Here are six of the most effective and popular.

1. Build Customer and Prospect Profiles

You just had an influx of prospects to your website but they did not convert. But don’t worry, they may not have purchased this time but there is still a lot you can do with the behavioural data they left behind.

Set your tracking tools up to measure elements like click-through rates, average hover time, average dwell time etc. and you can begin to understand how a particular prospect responds to your content, creative and promotions. What you learn will help you sharpen your content and messages and be more precise with your targeting in the future.

By creating customer and prospect profiles you can assign that individual’s behavioural data to their profile. This means that next time they visit you can deliver them a better and more personalised experience based on the information you know about them.

You can also use this information in future email, SMS, phone or mailing campaigns. As a result, you’ll be able to deliver much more personal messages.

2. Track Search Terms

Tracking the search terms a customer or prospect types in to find your website can help you tailor your web content so your pages speak to your visitor in their own language style. By recording this information against customer and prospect profiles in your database you will be able to individually tailor your email marketing and direct mail campaigns too.

By tailoring your content and marketing messages in this way, and combining it with personalisation, you will achieve a significant increase in conversion rates and sales revenues.

Of course, this information also guides your SEO activities and, because of Google’s Panda Algorithm factors in ‘time spent on site’ as a ranking factor, engaging with visitors in a language style that matches their own increases the time they spend on your site – further improving your SEO performance.

3. Monitor On-site Activity

There are a wealth of tools you can deploy to track and capture data about a visitor’s behaviour on your website. If that visitor has:

  • previously converted, or;
  • is responding to an email marketing campaign,

you will be able to tag all their behavioural activity to their profile in your database.

This data will help you understand how they got to your site, how they responded to your current or past marketing campaigns, what they are interested in on your site and so on.

Recording this data allows you to serve your customers and prospects the right message at the right time and in the right place to the right person. Whether you deliver this message by dynamically serving content to them in real-time on your website, or you deliver it to them via email, mail, SMS or phone, this gives your customers and prospects a much more engaging and personalised experience with your organisation and brand, which improves their loyalty and boosts their purchasing activity.

4. Re-target Visitors

Increasingly marketers are capitalising on behavioural data and adopting retargeting as a marketing tactic.

There are a number of platforms available that track cookies across multiple sites and automatically direct advertisers’ content to people who exhibit certain behaviours.

For example, if someone has expressed an interest in buying a holiday to the Maldives by searching using those keywords, regardless of whether or not they visited your site, you can serve them your Maldives holiday ad.

You select the behavioural characteristics you want to target. In turn, when a prospect’s behavioural characteristics match your specification your ad is triggered.

5. Use Email Engagement Data

Most guides look at behavioural data generated by interactions with websites. However, it is also highly relevant to email.

Whenever a customer or prospect responds to an email campaign by downloading a piece of content, clicking a specific button, sharing your content, or taking some other similar action, they give marketers a wealth of information that can be used to segment future campaign selections.

This means that you can identify more engaged customers and calculate their propensity to buy. You can also identify more engaged prospects and deliver additional marketing messages to them to stimulate further engagement and conversion.

Email is a very important source of behavioural data and can help you target more engaged individuals with enhanced communications campaigns and increase conversion rates.

6. Leverage the Power of Social Targeting

Whenever someone joins a group, follows a person or likes an activity, they provide valuable behavioural data, which more and more marketers are using.

The new social web is a destination for interacting and sharing content through copy and paste, the use of share buttons or URL shorteners, which means someone’s social connections are more important than ever before.

Social targeting is often seen as an extension of behavioural targeting, but some marketers see the two as separate.

Behavioural data from social sources adds an extremely rich layer to your existing customer and prospect profile databases. It enables you to better understand people’s preferences and motivations but also helps you understand social engagement.

You can use this information to learn more about your marketing activity so you can create more engaging, likeable and sharable offerings to your target audience.

You can also use this to further refine your campaign selections and home in on extremely targeted segments.