What is Behavioral Targeting and How should we use it?

What is Behavioral Targeting? Have you ever wondered why ads you see while browsing online seem to be related to things you’ve searched for or websites you’ve visited? This is because every time you search for something, a cookie is placed on your computer. The cookie has details about your visits and this is where the targeting begins. From that point on, websites only show you information that is relevant to you. Data is accumulated as you click your way from site to site, taking note of what you buy, what you read and what you have searched for. The more time that goes by, the more data is collected. This process is known as behavioral targeting or behavioral advertising.

It is an internet marketing technique whereby online publishers and advertisers can increase the effectiveness of their digital marketing campaigns through the information collected from an individual’s web-browsing behavior.

This is very beneficial for the user as their targeted experience improves and makes it more focused to their needs and wants. Doesn’t it get easier when all the information you may need is pushed to you without having to sort through pages and pages of information? Behavioral targeting makes the Internet all about you, and personalizes itself to your needs and wants.

How does Behavioral Targeting work?

Let’s take a look at an example. So, you have just browsed through ESPN.com. This does not mean ads relating to Nike and Adidas will be displayed to you. There is more to you than your interests in sports, and the data knows that. It won’t drive you into one hole with just one search.

Not only users benefit from this, but advertisers do as well! Here is how. With correct behavioral targeting, users will be more engaged to the targeted advertisements, therefore making it more beneficial for the advertisers. This leads to improved click-through-rates and higher levels of interaction.
Back in 2003, audience targeting was done based on age, gender and location. Whereas now, with more data, targeting is much more dynamic and can gauge a user’s interests and preferences as well.
Essentially, companies that specialize in this form of targeting can promise more ad engagement by targeting people who have indicated- through their behavioral patterns on the web- that they might be interested in the product.

How is Behavioral Targeting Used?

When it comes to behavioral targeting many other factors are also looked at such as:

  1. Location (city, country, region)
  2. Referring URL (where did the visitors come from?)
  3. Campaign (Which ad did the visitors click on?)
  4. Visitor frequency (new visitors, or returning ones?)
  5. Keywords (what have they typed)
  6. Interests (What things does a user regularly search for?)

When it comes to Behavioral targeting the first step is to understand your visitor mix carefully. Who are they and what are they looking for?

Once that is established, we can figure out what kind of information they could be interested in after they have made a few searches. Their searches make it easier to push information relating to their searches to them.

Behavioral targeting may sound like a mystery or even a complex method, but it isn’t. So next time you are searching on YouTube or even Shopping catalogues online “recommended products” are always shown making it easier for you to find what you may be looking for. With behavioral targeting, information is brought closer to you without you having to spend hours searching!

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