It could be one of the strongest marketing tools you have; so what is behavioral targeting?
Simply explained, behavioral targeting refers to a range of techniques and technologies that online businesses and marketers can use to closely define and target audiences. These tools collect important strategic data about customers’ shopping and browsing habits while on a business’s website, including how they get there and what links they click on.
When used correctly, behavioral targeting strategies allow businesses to observe the online behavior of their customers and then customize their communication with those customers to match. This makes it a more powerful tool than the related demographic targeting, which can focus on groups of customers but not the details themselves.
Unless your online business caters to a very niche market, behavioral targeting can prove a very useful tool. Most ecommerce businesses cater to several different types and groups of customers with different values and habits. With behavioral targeting, you can take all of these details into consideration to deliver the best communication methods available for your customers.
Different Types of Online Behavioral Targeting
Behavioral targeting is not a single thing that can be given a single definition. Instead, it is a term that comprises a variety of methods and techniques. Some of the most common of these methods that many online businesses use include the following:
Customizing Deals – Online retailers can use behavioral targeting to determine which of their products or services a certain customer may be most interested in by seeing which page they visit most often. Once they have a good idea which way customers are leaning in their prospective purchases, retailers can then offer these customers personal deals on those purchases. This can persuade customers to go ahead and make the sale.
Personalizing Websites – This is a popular method utilized by many major ecommerce sites such as Amazon.com. By analyzing which products a customer has shown the most interest in, online businesses can determine which of their products it would be most beneficial to highlight for those customers. They can then personalize their product highlights for each customer based on these tastes. If customers see a selection of related products next to their online shopping carts, they are more likely to include them as well.
Personalizing Email – Mass email notification can be an effective marketing tool, but for many online customers it just looks like spam in their inbox. To stand out among these impersonal messages, online companies can personalize customer emails based on their movement around that company’s website. By making the message instantly more relevant to the customer, retailers increase their odds of the customer taking an interest in it.
Remarketing – This type of online advertisement has proven to be a revolutionary innovation in Internet marketing. Remarketing basically refers to online ads that follow customers from site to site. Retailers analyze behavioral targeting data to find which customers seem the most interested in their products. They can then strategically purchase ad space on other sites that display their marketing specifically to these customers. In this way, online retailers can keep up unobtrusive communication with their customers even after they have left the retailer’s site.
Privacy Concerns with Behavioral Targeting
While behavioral targeting is a powerful tool, it is not without its controversies. Chief among these is the distaste that many customers often have knowing that their personal data is being collected without their control.
If you don’t use it right, behavioral targeting can make your customers feel like you’re stalking them. And if you’re too persistent with your communication to a single customer based on behavioral targeting data, then you’re just going to look like a spammer and drive away customers who might otherwise be interested in your business. It becomes a fine line to walk; ideally, you want to do most of your data collection anonymously, collecting only a shopper’s habits and not their personal information.
If businesses do target one customer specifically, make your communication brief, courteous, and to the point. Don’t bombard customers with continuous marketing across all platforms by spamming their email and making every ad they see based on your business. With behavioral targeting, a little bit goes a long way.