Behavioral Targeting: Benefits And Implementation Steps

The idea of catering content to specific audience segments has always been a part of a successful digital marketing plan and this only gains in importance as new tools and technologies for analyzing online users’ behavior become available.  As one of the advanced strategies for content mapping and conversion rate optimization, behavioral targeting is becoming a priority in companies of different sizes.   

This is suggested in the 2013 CMO Survey, which shows that a greater number of companies plan to start using behavioral data for targeting purposes. Although the percentage of respondents already using some form of behavioral targeting was quite high, 88.5% of all respondents noted they’ll increase their focus on these strategies in the next several years.

Clearly, there is a great potential in implementing behavioral targeting and this is justified by the efficiency of the outcomes. Namely, behavioral targeting is seen as one of the most potent ways to boost online conversions because it essentially focuses on users’ needs, thus providing them with the exact types of content they are looking for.

What is behavioral targeting?

By definition, behavioral targeting takes into account available data on customers’ behavior on the website in order to improve their overall experience and deliver relevant offers. Rather than just relying on the content of the pages visited, behavioral targeting uses a range of metrics to determine the most suitable type of ad or post to be delivered to a specific visitor. Essentially, this is done using the following sets of factors to determine the most appropriate content for a specific visitor:

  • Demographics (age, sex, location)
  • Device (mobile, desktop)
  • Browsing behavior (previously visited pages, time on site, etc.)

Of course, the ways these factors could be segmented vary across individual campaigns, whereupon each of them needs to define the right set of metrics that would make the content served more relevant. The idea, of course, is to deliver the exact type of content a visitor wants and do it at the right moment. This way, users are presented with an offer that represents an immediate solution to their problems, which substantially increases website conversions.


As noted above, the single most important benefit of behavioral targeting is its ability to engage a visitor with content he or she will find useful. Even though some marketers suggested that behavioral targeting is dead, this is certainly not the case given the results of some recent surveys carried out among key decision makers. A last year’s report by Adobe, for example, reveals that the use of behavioral targeting helps companies achieve two times the average conversion rate and also shows that 76% of companies that are not targeting the audience at that level may be missing out on some important benefits. Therefore, it is easy to see why the technique is still a buzzword that is likely to be adopted by even a greater number of businesses.

Implementation steps

Certainly, implementing behavioral targeting sounds appealing given the potential benefits, but the truth is that not all the companies can equally profit from this. First of all, while planning the strategy, the company needs to make different decisions regarding budget allocation, as well as data analysis techniques and tools to use, which may be quite challenging. Secondly, marketers need to invest some time into analyzing the best ways behavioral targeting could be used for their specific business in order to ensure maximum results.

Evidently, the efficiency of behavioral targeting campaigns will largely depend on risk assessment and budget, which are the two most significant aspects marketers need to focus on. Nevertheless, the further implementation steps should include:

  • Goal setting. Defining a goal of behavioral targeting is a critical component that involves outlining the exact benefits a company expects to see and setting specific KPIs for measuring campaign performance.
  • Choosing the right category. A broad concept as it is, behavioral targeting could be applied to content or advertising strategy, as well as the overall business funnel. Depending on the preferred category, companies must tailor plans that would neatly follow previously defined goals.
  • Audience segmentation. Understanding the audience’s interests and needs is a pillar upon which the strategy should be built. Suffice to say, behavioral targeting campaign will work only if the audience is properly assessed.
  • Content development. Once all the previous steps are properly implemented, content development should follow the needs of users. This translates into developing contextual ads or posts that would be recognized as relevant offers at the right moment.
  • Tools and dashboards. With the variety of tools now available for behavior tracking, decision makers can relatively easily find the ones that work for them. Bellmetric, for example, represents an excellent customer engagement solution that gathers all the necessary data on a single place and allows easy integration of all the critical processes.
  • To make the most of behavioral tracking, marketers constantly need to monitor campaign performance and be ready to react once potential problems appear. This is typically done via the interface of the behavioral tracking tools implemented.


As supported in recent market reports, behavioral targeting is becoming a more widely used technique thanks to its potential to boost website conversions and thus directly increase a company’s revenue. Businesses that fail to segment audience’s data based on their online behavior may be missing out on a significant growth potential, which is a trend that is likely to change with the emergence of new tools intended to facilitate customer data collection and analytics.

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