Article

Daniel Flamberg
Daniel Flamberg 8 March 2013

The Limits of Behavioral Targeting

Behavioral targeting is the standard for ad targeting and dynamic content serving but in spite of good automation tools

Behavioral targeting is the standard for ad targeting and dynamic content serving but in spite of good automation tools and easy-to-use CMS systems, we still haven’t fully cracked the code.

 

Re-marketing and triggered messaging delivers much better response and significant uplift in conversion; usually better than the original targeted message.  Behavioral targeting gives us the ability to zero-in hyper-efficiently on those with a higher propensity to buy in real time.  

 

But there are no clear formulas to determine what inferences can accurately be drawn from demonstrated behavior. We’re still guessing wrong too often. We have to evaluate and engage anonymous surfers and clickers and, like Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system, we must determine in seconds who is worth following and engaging and who isn’t.

 

Consider 3 basic criteria for evaluating or scoring behavior.

 

Repetitive Behavior

 

Someone who does the same thing again and again or visits the same content repeatedly is probably more interested than the average Joe. It’s reasonable to guess that someone returning for a 3rd click is probably interested, if not a real buyer. Repetition ratchets up intent to purchase.

 

The vital questions are -- how many visits signal intent and on which visit should we proactively prompt an interaction? How do we know how much repetition is sufficient to encourage conversion or at what point does a “Big Brother” intervention freak out a prospect?

 

Sequential Behavior

 

By watching where customers went before and after visiting our brand, we get better insight. If she visits the same product at a competitor site, that signals active shopping.

If she looks at a product that normally goes together and sells together with the first product we can infer serious consideration.

 

Someone who accesses or responds in multiple ways or at different times is more interested and has a higher purchase intent that a person using only one media channel. If we collect data from multiple channels (cookies, e-mail, search, log-ins, registrations, purchase history, coupon redemption, downloads, etc.) we see patterns that will suggest how to weight and model observed behavior. 

 

Use of Multiple Response Devices

 

More actions equal greater intent. If she fills in a form, signs up for an e-mail newsletter, downloads a whitepaper, prints out a PDF, uses a zoom feature, puts data into a calculator or clicks a “contact me” button we have a semi-qualified lead.  Most responders are generally interested but may not be ready-to-buy. The act of responding, while rarely more than 2 percent of those exposed to an offer, cues us to apply extra effort or TLC to prompt a buy.

 

By watching what prospects do over time and across platforms, we can triangulate purchase intent and intensity. This applies particularly to high value, considered purchases like cars, stocks, diamonds, real estate. It works especially well in B2B marketing where the shopping cycle is longer and where the decision has more variables.

 

The key to behavioral targeting is the data sets, analysis and observations that drive the business rules for serving up ads and content. It’s the thinking not the automation that matters. Getting these inferences and algorithms right helps us sell more things faster to those most likely to buy. If it doesn’t, it is just voyeurism. 

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
The New '4Ps of Marketing'

The New '4Ps of Marketing'

Neil H. Borden, in 1964, gifted the world with the 4Ps of the Marketing Mix: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. This concept has been a cornerstone of business marketing. However, there are new 4Ps of Marketing – just as powerful and just as game changing as Neil Borden’s.

Daisy Kent
Daisy Kent 18 May 2017
Read more
Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

What's the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter? The answers may surprise you.

Julie Cave
Julie Cave 14 July 2016
Read more
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 5 November 2014
Read more
How To Calculate Marketing ROI

How To Calculate Marketing ROI

Calculating marketing ROI is an exercise in patience and accuracy. The formula to calculate basic, short-term marketing ROI is simple: ROI = (Incremental Profit – Campaign Cost) / Campaign Cost. But marketers know that the formula—while accurate—is far too often misapplied to their efforts.

James Loomstein
James Loomstein 16 May 2017
Read more
Forget SWOT, The Pareto Rule Holds The Secret To Your Online Success

Forget SWOT, The Pareto Rule Holds The Secret To Your Online Success

One of the most important principles I've learned is the so-called Pareto Rule. This principle holds particular importance for aspiring online entrepreneurs. If you are a Blogger, Digital Marketer, Amazon Seller, AdSense expert, then Pareto’s Rule applies to your business. Understanding it is vital to your success.

Alex Papaconstantinou
Alex Papaconstantinou 17 May 2017
Read more