If you are a marketer, you have probably used ad placement and targeting to improve the performance of your ads. These two methods are the commonly used optimization strategies all around the world to target like-minded people.

Online targeted advertising is directed towards the audience having certain characteristics and traits. This is based on the product or the person the advertiser is promoting. 

The main objective of targeted advertising is to get to connect you with leads who are most drawn to what you offer.

The online advertising landscape is changing rapidly and so the methods to target customers are also changing at the same rate. There is never a sure way to know if the leads generated are qualifiable leads or not. But what we can do is employ smarter marketing strategies. There are many ways to do that, but the most effective way is by employing behavioral targeting.

One of the easiest ways of understanding Behavioral Targeting is by analyzing the difference between the two.

One can understand what targeted ads is all about from the name itself. Targeted advertising allows you to use demographic information, including location or age, to surface ads to relevant audiences. 

While Behavioral targeting uses web behavior as the determining factor, instead of demographics. This increases the impact ads have on audiences.

What is Behavioral Targeting?

Behavioral Targeting is one of the several techniques used in the field of online advertising and publishing. Before the advent of web tracking technology, advertisers relied on contextual targeting where ads appear based on the keywords that the consumer has searched for or relevant topics to the keywords. Although contextual targeting is still effective, behavioral targeting provides fruitful advantages like retargeting and tailored advertising.

Via Behavioral Targeting, marketers are able to target a customer based on their behavior across different websites. Some of the behaviors include: internet search history, sites visited, products purchased, browsing patterns, etc. 

Let’s understand this topic further with the help of an example. If a person spends twenty minutes of their time looking at different kinds of smartphones, Amazon’s advertising network will show the customer ads about smartphones on other websites that he visits from thereon. 

Similarly, if a person’s browsing patterns include visiting CRM websites, examining customer management blogs, and searching online for software price behavioral targeting would analyze his actions and surface ads related to CRM products. 

Using behavioral targeting increases the likelihood of a person purchasing the product.

Behavioral targeting is used to improve campaign effectiveness and boost sales. 

How does it work?

Let us suppose. I am in the need of a social media scheduler and browsed websites like Sprout Social and Loomly for the same before turning to the trusty Google.

Google’s search engine would show me ads for the sites I visited in the beginning i.e. Loomly and Sprout Social. 

Behavioral Targeting

Google analyzed my previous search history and browsing patterns and presented to me a set of options that are relevant to my search. Later on, if I am browsing Facebook or Instagram, my feed was also influenced by my behavior and similar ads started popping up.

How to use this technique?

There is very little effort involved while shifting your optimization strategy to Behavioral Targeting. If your ad host provides targeted options like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you just need to create a customer persona based on demographics like age, gender, location. You can even classify your customer segment based on their personality, interests, lifestyles, and values. This is known as the psychographic method.

What are the various types of Behavioral Targeting? 

Behavioral Targeting uses website browsing patterns to show customers ads that might be relevant to them. However, there is another extension to this technique, called the Predictive Behavioral Targeting.

What is Predictive Behavioral Targeting?

Marketers are turning to Predictive audience targeting over traditional targeting and behavioral targeting to drive higher performance. In simpler terms, it analyzes customer data from various sources to infer trends about audiences. It analyzes the targeted ads as a whole before coming to a conclusion about ways to interact with the audience online. 

Predictive Behavioral Targeting is being hailed as the future of online marketing. It uses survey linking and measurement data which provides complete target profiling. It contains both product interest based on the search history along with information about the demographics of lifestyle and interests.

In a nutshell, it expands the entire spectrum of behavioral targeting and improves the performance of ads to a huge extent.

Although it is not a very new method, people mostly use traditional methods like targeted advertising which is not very effective in the long run.

Pros and Cons of Behavioral Targeting

There are a plethora of ad types to choose from, and it becomes confusing for some. Let us look at a few of the upsides. 

Pros of Behavioral Targeting 

1. Lead Nurturing

It allows you to nurture leads from different customer segments. For example, if you want to promote a new psychology webinar that you have hosted, you need to turn on the behavioral targeting settings. This will allow ads to appear to those customers who are actively in search of these kinds of content. 

Another example of this can be using behavioral targeting to improve conversion from content offer ads after seeing positive ROI from brand awareness ads.

2. Boost Sales 

One of the various variations of behavioral targeting is Retargeted ads. 

Retargeted ads grab the attention of those customers who have left a certain website without making a purchase. Retargeted ads convey a more personalized message by asking them to visit your website where they will find content more tailored to your interests.

3. Improve Customer Experience.

Behavioral Targeting allows one to understand the target market on a deeper level. If your company wants to sell a mattress to customers who are in the 30-35 range, you can tailor your ads according to their preferences.

Since it is based on the data that you collect from the ads, like click-through rate and conversions, you can personalize your ads according to that to generate excellent ROI.

Cons of Behavioral Targeting 

Like with all ad types, behavioral targeting also has its own downfalls.

  1. Ads can be expensive.

Many small scale marketers work on a tight budget and running pay-per-click ads are not the most budget-friendly option. Behavioral Targeting, unfortunately, falls under that spectrum. So one of the most important steps to take while planning for an online campaign is to have a strict advertising budget. You need to make sure that you have enough money to produce ads that will last the entire campaign. 

2. Market Research is key.

Since behavioral targeting is based on specific audience segments, one should perform proper market research before boarding the marketing wagon. Without proper knowledge about your customer persona, you will most likely receive negative results.

You need to be up to date about the new trends and how the target market responds to ads.

3. Fear of oversaturation.

This topic is best understood with an example. As a consumer, if I come across too many ads from the same company about a certain product, I will mentally decide to never open the ad again and might block (or report ) any further ads that come my way. This can be even be termed as an advertising overload by many and is very unfavorable.

It needs to be used very wisely. One must modify the settings accordingly so that a consumer doesn’t come across the same ad every time they come online.

Other tips on marketing

New media platforms, trends, and targeting methods are coming up all throughout the year. Therefore, one has to be on top of their game at all times and adapt to the changes. 

Treating your customers right in the best way to ensure that they keep coming back. It increases the likelihood of purchase. 

One important step to keep in mind while targeting customers is by using Pareto’s Principle.

Pareto’s Principle states that roughly 80% of the sales come from 20% of your customers. So you should take steps to grab the attention of those 20% ideal customers and form a solid customer base. 

So instead of targeting too many customer segments, one should start small. They should focus on only those customer segments who will be getting the maximum value from the products or services that you offer. 

Since there are loads of data to choose from, one might get tempted easily and choose each one of them. Using this method only dilutes the ads and the ROI decreases drastically. 

Behavioral Targeting can be a boon or a curse. It totally depends on you and the ad strategies that you are employing to generate qualifiable leads. It is great for anyone who is looking to change tactics. 

So how are you planning on using behavioral targeting to generate the ROI that you are looking for?