Getting Started with Behavioral Targeting Techniques

By | February 29, 2012

Behavioral targeting has been around for several years, but many online publishers are still just finding out about the technique. But what’s so special about it? Those who have made the leap to implement behavioral targeting on their sites often report improved conversion rates and increased effectiveness when it came to their online ads and campaigns.

You might think a technique that can bring about such positive changes to your site must require a whole team of IT specialists or technicians to set up, but that’s often not the case.

An Overview on Behavioral Targeting

The name of the technique might not ring a bell when you hear it, but there’s a huge probability that you have already experienced the technique firsthand yourself, even though you might not be very aware of it. Some major publishers who make use of the technique range from search engines to social networking sites to online retailers, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Yahoo.

What is Behavioral Targeting?

Behavioral targeting is defined as a technique that utilizes web analytics, computer software, browser cookies, and users’ IP addresses to deliver targeted content, such as articles, product recommendations, or advertisements to the user. Specific information is pulled from the user’s browser in the process, such as browsing history and search terms used in previous searches.

Applying Behavioral Targeting on Websites

The implementation of behavioral targeting on sites usually requires the use of the following: content behavioral platforms, web-based and offline applications, and other software that have been programmed to operate before and during a user’s visit to the site.

Publishers can choose to use either onsite behavioral targeting or offsite behavioral targeting. The latter is also known as network behavioral targeting.

Which Type of Behavioral Targeting Is For My Site?

Basically, both types of behavioral targeting serve to increase traffic and provide user-targeted content during each site visit. Onsite behavioral targeting is recommended for online stores and e-Commerce sites, while offline behavioral targeting is more commonly used by online advertisement providers or networks.

A Closer Look at Onsite Behavioral Targeting

Onsite behavioral targeting monitors the user’s behavior and activity on the site and uses this information to push targeted content during the visit itself. Some sites also store cookies and bring up this information on subsequent site visits as well. The technique provides a better user experience for the visitor because it makes performing many activities on the site easier and more convenient.

Onsite behavioral targeting is implemented by generating user channels with the use of web analytics. The search and browsing histories of the site’s users are pulled up and broken down into several channels. The information is then fed into the software that runs on the site, which will automatically identify and assign a profile to any new site visitors. Users will be assigned a cookie with a specific ID that keeps track of the user’s activities. It also allows the publisher to provide specific content based on pre-defined rules.

A Closer Look at Offsite Behavioral Targeting

As mentioned earlier, offsite behavioral targeting is the technique of choice by online advertising providers and ad network servers. These providers often serve content to a number of sites that are subscribed to their services; as a result, the user bases encountered are much larger. Because of this, an approximate demographic analysis can be obtained based on these site visitors.

Offsite behavioral targeting increases ad conversion by only displaying relevant ads and product images whenever a user accesses a website. Ad servers often have a huge library of available ads and channels to display this content to. The technique works by assigning specific sites to a certain niche or category that is determined by the visitor history of these sites.

Benefits of Using Behavioral Targeting

Behavioral targeting has been found to outperform other techniques that also aim to increase conversion. Through behavioral targeting, publishers are able to provide a better user experience overall by serving up user-targeted content. This can result to more clicks and longer site visits, translating to more sales and more ad revenue in the process. When a user leaves a site satisfied with the visit, there’s a huge tendency that the user will be returning to the same site in the future.

However, behavioral targeting isn’t just beneficial to the publishers, as it also offers a lot of advantages to the user as well. Many online shoppers find that they are able to save a lot of time thanks to recommendations that retailers display when they are viewing a certain product. Users who also access content-rich websites will find that they will be presented with a richer experience as relevant articles that match their interests are displayed first.

About the Guest Post Author: Tech writer EJ Parfitt has been writing for a short time now and has already picked up steam with several tech websites, multivariate testing and local news sites . During his free time, you’re sure to catch him competing in local chess tournaments in downtown Fort Lauderdale FL .