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Behavioral targeting isn’t something new; it’s been around for centuries, in fact. At the beginning of marketing history, the makings of successful businesses figured out how to advertise to the people who were most likely to buy their product. Whether those people started as newspaper readers or catalog gawkers, they ended up as customers.
Over time, generic ads made their way onto the air waves and park benches. They wormed their ways into our mailboxes in the form of colorful paper – then the Internet came along and everything changed.
Precision Marketing is Here
Marketers have never had a better, more precise way to reach the customers they intend, without wasting a lot of money and effort on scatter-shot ad campaigns. The Internet is a giant database of information, just waiting to be mined for demographic data – data that goes into creating ads that reach potential customers in new ways.
On top of that, and not to be taken lightly, there is a whole slew of consumers willingly giving out that information to marketing surveys, consumer surveys, opinion surveys and the like. They hop on their social accounts, blogs and other outlets to share their experiences, likes and dislikes.
Like never before, there is a huge amount of consumer information floating around, waiting to be harvested by marketing geniuses. The clever use of this data is referred to as behavioral targeting and it could (should) change the way you do business.
How Behavioral Targeting Works
Many websites store small data files on their users’ computers that track tiny amounts of data, including other websites that users visit and the things they purchase online. You see it happen – probably on a daily basis – but you probably don’t realize it.
You visit a site to look for something – a new pair of shoes, or maybe some golf clubs. If you’re a business owner of a medium-sized business, maybe you visited Cisco to review what they have to offer. No big deal, right? It’s just surfing the web, like normal.
Later, you go to YouTube and what do you see? An ad for Cisco pops up. You might think – if you even notice -, “What a coincidence. I was just looking at them today!” It’s not a coincidence, though. It’s behavioral targeting at work.
Anonymous Data, Valuable Information
Although the data these websites gather is anonymous, it’s incredibly valuable to marketers – they can use it to see if you’ve recently been looking for new shoes, researching a new doctor or hunting for bargains. Websites that incorporate behavioral targeting are adjusting their message to the customer based on this information, making their sites more robust and interactive.
Instead of presenting a new user with an overly-cluttered landing page in hopes of being all things to all people, your message can be tailored to fit. If it’s common for people who have recently come from doodad shopping on Amazon.com to sign up for your newsletter, you can design your landing page to help this group of users subscribe with minimal hassle.
In the same way, you can tailor your advertising to your demographic. Instead of a particular service showing your ad to a generic audience, those utilizing behavioral targeting can show an ad only to customers likely to be interested in their product.
Why Behavioral Targeting is Vital
The Internet is a world full of clutter. In fact, users have gotten so used to seeing ads and other meaningless noise that they’ve become unbelievably adept at filtering it out. Add a five second attention span to that particular skill and it means that your advertisements have to hit home right away.
Behavioral targeting can get your ads in front of the right people, in a way that seems interactive to the user. Showing an ad for a product similar to what they’ve been shopping for can break through the mental wall customers throw up, allowing you brief access to their valuable attention.
Online marketing is vital to any successful campaign, but customers simply won’t tolerate being bombarded with advertisements – that’s where behavioral targeting shines. Instead of seeing a page with hundreds of different ads from marketers competing for their attention, behavioral targeting ensures that only those that seem a likely fit are displayed. The lack of clutter helps focus customers on your message and prevents the level of annoyance that can turn them away entirely.
When the time comes to renew your marketing efforts, consider the benefits of behavioral targeting. Although costs are slightly higher (anywhere from two to four percent on average), you’re 2.7 times more likely to reach your customer base instead of random, uninterested parties.