Boost Your Marketing with Behavioral Targeting

December 2, 2020
3 min

Most marketers are familiar with gathering demographic data in order to reach a prospect audience. And many marketers are effectively harnessing demographic data, such as job title, geography, and academic certifications, to target sub-sets of their in-house database with pointed messaging. Demographic data is great and can certainly help in reaching the right audience, but it often lacks context.

Behavioral targeting offers the context often missed with demographic targeting. It allows you to target an audience based on their historic interactions with your content. It allows you to identify topic-based interest, which is more nuanced than traditional demographic targeting criteria. Behavioral targeting can be the secret sauce that takes your campaign to the next level.

The Perks of Engagement

All the benefits of behavioral targeting lead back to (and ladder up to) one key metric—engagement. The ability to market to those who have performed a specific behavior in the past enables you to create niche messaging that produces higher engagement in the future. For example, a message about “pain management” to an audience of general practitioners is very broad, but a message about “feline-approved pain medication” directed at a group of feline-only practitioners who have engaged with feline-related pain management content in the past… well, that is much more likely to show results.

There are three primary metrics that benefit from behavioral targeting:

  • Higher Click-Through Rates: Hyper-targeted content + an audience known to have engaged with similar topics= higher click-through rates. Bonus: Use targeted keywords in the subject line to improve open and click-through rates.
  • Higher Visitor Conversions: When content is highly appropriate for the target audience, visitor-to-lead conversion rates go up. Leverage your gated content and secondary calls to action to move visitors through your customer journey.
  • Improved ROI: Ultimately, the most important metric impacted by behavioral targeting is ROI, aka the bottom line. Targeted campaigns yield a lower cost per conversion because the number of conversions is typically much higher (due to behavioral targeting) when compared to your total delivered impressions. Learn more about the high cost of wasted impressions.

Getting Started with Behavioral Data

You’ve finally got the data! Now, what? There are many ways to employ behavioral targeting tactics in your campaigns. The sky’s the limit! But here are three common ways marketers are using behavioral data to create engaging communications:

  • Remarket via Email
    Narrowly target prospects based on past engagement with emails designed to move them through the customer journey. This can be a stand-alone email or a nurturing sequence of emails, depending on your goals.
  • Retarget via Facebook & Google
    Behavioral data can be used to retarget topic-related messages to prospects on off-site networks such as Facebook and Google.
  • Personalization via Offers & Prospect Information
    Deliver personalized offers with a specific topic. For example, if someone has been looking at your feline-only pain management medication, follow up with an email including a coupon for their first purchase. Bonus: Add a personal touch by including their first name in the subject line.

The Essential Ingredient: First-Party Data

There’s no getting around it: The execution of behavioral campaigns is dependent on first-party data. First-party data (owned by you) provides the key information needed to remarket, retarget, and personalize your communications.

Learn more about using gated content to collect your own first-party data. If you’re new to first-party data collection, media companies offer partnerships in powerful behavioral targeted campaigns. But before partnering, get answers to these two key questions:

  • When was the data collected?
    Data needs to be current. Data collected from a trade show session years ago is less valuable than data based on yesterday’s website traffic.
  • How is the data kept up to date?
    If the data is event-based vs. web-based, it’s less likely to be up to date. Also, data collected from a one-time form submission is not as valuable as data collected from a gated membership site where each member’s visits are tracked in detail.