Behavioral marketing profiles the past behavior of a user to determine which ads they will be shown next. The purpose of behavioral marketing is to create a deeper level of customization so that the ads are actually relevant and interesting to the user. Also, businesses are given insight into the habits and desires of customers so that they can better target them in the future.

If you are new to behavioral advertising, or could use a refresher, this article is for you. We are going to explain more in depth what behavioral marketing is, who’s using it and how you can make it work for you. Like other marketing tactics, show your ads to people who have a genuine interest in your product or service.

How Information is Gathered

The poor painter from our example above doesn’t have any helpful tools to help him determine which homeowners need painting and which ones don’t. But you do.

Thanks to web analytics, cookies, search and browsing history, IP addresses and other computer applications, you have the ability to track your users. Using this information, you can build profiles of individual consumers and generate relevant, targeted ads that appeal to their interests.

Who Uses Behavioral Targeting

Just about everyone who has the means to practice behavioral marketing does. Online retailers, social media sites and local businesses use behavioral targeting to reach their most likely prospects.

Behavioral marketing isn’t just used to sell stuff, either. It can also be used to share information and build relationships.

A pharmaceutical company, for instance, may use behavioral targeting to encourage people to use a certain drug. An online marketing company may target people to attend one of their workshops. A college or university may use ads to reach prospective students interested in an open house or virtual tour.

How to Make Behavioral Advertising Work for You

How can you effectively market to people based on their online behaviors? It can feel overwhelming at first when you have a ton of data to make sense of, or you’re not sure which behaviors to track.

Below are some tips for running a successful behavioral marketing campaign for your business.

Define Your Behavioral Targeting Goals

Every successful campaign starts by defining your goals. In this case, be clear about what you want behavioral targeting to do for you. Are you trying to increase web traffic? Attract or retarget customers? Increase short-term ROI?

By defining your campaign goals, you can segment customers, track and analyze data and set the right expectations.

Collect the Right Data

Data can be gathered from anywhere, but some of the most common include your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software and Google Analytics. Google Analytics is completely free and one of the best tools for getting started with targeted campaigns.

Without data from internal and external sources, you can’t succeed at behavioral marketing. As a matter of fact, behavioral marketing wouldn’t even exist!

Fortunately, you don’t have to organize all of this data on your own. Tools like Tagboard, Komfo and ManageFlitter allow you to find people whose interests are connected to your product or service. This way, you can find quality prospects and examine their behavior, habits, preferences and interests.

Start Tracking Behaviors

Use tracking codes for anyone who visits your website. Tracking codes are extremely helpful because they tell you crucial information about your traffic. If you don’t take the time to set them up, you’re only going to get half the picture.

For instance, some companies see traffic from their Facebook page, but all they can tell from Google Analytics is that the traffic is coming from the social site. It doesn’t tell anymore about the traffic.

To keep things simple, all data collected from the tracking codes is sent to Analytics to be organized.

Segment Your Customers

Once you start gathering data on your customers, you will need to organize them into various groups based on their interests, actions and behaviors. Break up your segments in a way that relates to your conversion goals.

For example, if you want customers to buy more of your product or service, you could segment customers based on their behaviors. When a customer visits your website, you could target them with free shipping to their location or a 10% off coupon. As you see which actions have a positive influence, you can repeat them in the future.

Define Success Metrics

The final piece to a successful behavioral marketing campaign is to define how you are going to measure success. This way, you will know if your campaign was effective or not. Success criteria differs for every business based on their goals, but some of the most common include number of visits, conversion rates or increased sales.

Never be afraid of behavioral advertising. Though it continues to evolve based on technological advancements, it’s something that helps businesses make the most out of their advertising campaigns. Unless you want to walk around handing out virtual flyers to everyone, behavioral marketing is a must.