The concept of behavioral targeting in marketing has had somewhat of a revival lately after a great deal of negative coverage in 2004.
Advertising companies providing behavioral targeting services tout up to 2000% increased response rates compared to other forms of online media buys. By 2008, behavioral targeting spending is expected to exceed $2 billion for that year.
Some experts think that in a decade from now, behavioral targeting and marketing will be synonymous; i.e. all successful marketing will be based on behavior.
What is behavioral targeting?
Behavioral targeting is the method by which advertising or other content is shown to a client or potential client based on activity on a site or network of sites. It differs from contextual advertising as it's not based on the content or a part of a Web site, but on the person who is interacting with that content.
Behavioral targeting across networks
As you can imagine, large advertising networks can amass enormous
quantities of data on individual users and really refine what is displayed to the user. Have you ever been to a site that displayed ads totally non-related to that site, but oddly enough promoted a product or service you're really interested in? Chances are that is behavioral targeting at work.
A word of warning
If you're going to utilize an ad network that specializes in behavioral targeting, be sure to understand *how* they target and *how* your ads will be displayed. There's been a number of high profile cases in recent years of ad networks utilizing spyware to gather data and show ads. Advertising via spyware isn't a great way to increase favorable perceptions of your business and products :).
In-house behavioral targeting
Where ad networks aren't involved, behavioral targeting can still be carried out effectively on a single site; but it does require multiple accesses by a user, or a lengthy visit. For example, if this kind of behavior is displayed.
Small scale behavioral targeting
As you can imagine, the software needed for this kind of targeting is quite expensive, although I'm sure that over time it will become more affordable. Even so, there are some strategies that you can use in relation to your own site to experiment with behavioral targeting that won't require you to take out a second mortgage.
Use your cart software.
It's not unusual for people to add products to a shopping cart and proceed all the way to the checkout stage - and then abandon the cart. In another article, I cover some strategies for minimizing shopping cart abandonment, but the abandoned carts themselves can offer a gold mine of information.
Depending on your shopping cart software, even thought the order wasn't fully processed, the email details of the shopper and the items in the cart may have been retained.
Autoresponder/ list management software
If you're running autoresponder and or list management software, checked into some of the advanced features that some of these applications offer. The autoresponder/list manager package I use includes a feature where you can initiate a mailout to subscribers who have/haven't clicked a particular link in a previous communication.
This allows for better segmentation, i.e. trying to stir up interest in a particular group of subscribers such as those who have already expressed an interest in a product vs. those who haven't and need some extra coaxing.
In the interests of transparency and disclosure, please note that the owner of Taming the Beast.net often receives goods and services mentioned in reviews for free, or may receive payments or affiliate commissions for advertising or referring others to merchants of products and services reviewed.
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