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Behavioral Targeting definition

Behavioral targeting is an advanced form of targeting for internet marketers that can make a huge difference in your ability to reach a specific audience and to make big sales. In this post, we’ll examine why it’s one of THE most powerful tools for increasing revenue.

When creating any form of internet marketing campaign, it is highly important to consider the role of targeting. Targeting means that you have in mind a specific audience and that you’re using that in order to ensure that you can refine and pinpoint your message. In other words, you need to know precisely who your ideal customer is, so that you can then create marketing targeted directly at them. That marketing will be posted in the places where they are most likely to spend time and it will be designed to appeal to them.

Targeting becomes especially important online, seeing as we now pay per click for many of our adverts. The objective is not to get as many people as possible onto your website because that is expensive! Rather, the objective is to get only the right people to your website, thereby drastically increasing ROI, at least in theory.

Now, only people that are likely to buy from you will click the ads and that means that you’re not spending money to bring people to your site who never would have bought from you under any circumstances! This is targeting in a marketing sense and it impacts the way you design your ads, where you show them and more.

Behavioral Targeting

However, behavioral targeting is slightly different. Here, you are not just targeting your audience based on their demographics and their interests, but rather you are also targeting them based on their behavior. So, what do we mean by behavior in this context?

We mean that we’re marketing to them based on what they have clicked, how long they have spent on each page, what they have shown an interest in and whether or not they are engaged with your brand.

The thing to understand here is that most people don’t like being shown ads and if you try and sell something to them right away, then you will often risk driving them away and damaging any positive relationship that you might have formed.

I always liken this to asking someone for their phone number before you’ve even told them your name. They’ve shown no interest at this point and they have no reason to be interested in seeing you again. More importantly, they have no reason to trust you. And it’s the exact same thing if as soon as you land on a website, you’re shown lots of ads for expensive items.

openPR tip: The aim of behavioral marketing is essentially to ‘read the signs’, albeit in a very data driven manner, and thereby know whether or not they are likely to be interested in what you have to sell.

Some examples of this include:


Remarketing means using AdWords in order to target specifically the traffic that has already been to your site. This means leaving cookies on the users' computers, and then choosing the advertising you want to show them accordingly. For instance then, if someone had been to your website shopping for hats, then you could use remarketing in order to bring up advertising pointing directly at your hat pages and so on. 

This then means that you can use your traditional SEO techniques to reel in the interest, but then use remarketing and AdWords in order to bring them back again and show them the most relevant content. This one-two punch can be a great way to increase the quality of the traffic you get from AdWords (and so avoid wasting clicks), but also to create repeat visitors and remind traffic to return to your site. 

Now you are reminding someone of a product they’ve already shown an interest in, rather than trying to sell them something cold that they probably don’t care much about!

List Segmentation

In list segmentation, an email marketer will look at their mailing list and then try to identify who on that list is ready for further marketing. This will be based on cookies left on their computer due to their time spent on the website and also on their interactions with the email messages themselves. So if your readers have opened lots of messages, if they’ve followed links, if they’ve lingered on them – then you have people who are engaged and likely more inclined to buy.

openPR tip: You can use an autoresponder then in order to send targeted marketing messages to the right people at times when they might be more inclined to buy. I once spent some time considering buying a folding keyboard on Amazon and decided against it. An email came through a few days later when I was feeling vulnerable reminding me of the keyboard and I hit buy.

Tailored Ads

Personalized ads are adverts that are shown to you based on your broader behavior across the web and what you have shown an interest in. If you’ve looked at lots of websites about fitness, then personalized ads might take this to mean that you have an interest in fitness and therefore show you relevant ads when you are browsing the web.

Web Design

Web design can even be influenced by behavioral marketing by taking into account which pages people have come from and therefore what they are most likely to be interested in. If someone is on your homepage because they Googled something about fitness, then you might choose to present more of your fitness oriented content and products in your slider and generally throughout the homepage.

Press releases

Global Behavioral Targeting Market Is Projected to Grow at a Substantial Rate by 2026
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