5 Steps to Successful Behavioral Targeting

If you are a reader of this blog then you know what Behavioral Targeting is and how it is the latest (not really) idea that everyone is embracing. Ad network, web analytics tool vendors, agencies etc. all now claim to have behavioral targeting capabilities. Weather they really have the behavioral targeting capabilities or not is a topic of another blog topic. Some other like Google do behavioral targeting but do not talk about it. (You can read my past blog posts on behavioral targeting http://webanalysis.blogspot.com/search/label/behavioral%20targeting)

For all those who want to get into Behavioral Targeting or have been involved with behavioral targeting but not seeing the results or just want to make sure they get the most out of their behavioral targeting efforts, I have put together my 5 step process for successful Behavioral Targeting. (I talked about these steps in detail in my session on Behavioral Targeting at eMetrics). These steps apply to both Behavioral Targeting via ad-networks and on-site behavioral targeting.

5 Steps to Successful Behavioral Targeting

  • Define your goals for Behavioral Targeting
  • Define your customer segments
  • Define Success metrics
  • Find the right tools/networks
  • Create a culture of continuous Improvement

Define your goals for Behavioral Targeting

This is the first and very important part of your Behavioral Targeting strategy. It is no different than any other campaign that you run, however, it is often not paid due attention to. Unless you know what you want from the Behavioral Targeting you will not be successful or in other words you will always be successful but not the same way that you should be.

While defining your goals for Behavioral Targeting, think about things like why are you even thinking about Behavioral Targeting (BT), are you looking for short term short term ROI or do you have a long term plan, are you trying to engage BT for Branding or direct response, are you just looking to drive traffic, acquire new customer, retarget the customers who have already been to your site? Having clear goals in mind will help you define your customer segments, success measures and set the right expectations among all the stakeholders. It will also keep you vendors in check. Document your goals and make sure all the stakeholders agree on those.

Define Customer Segments

Once you have the understanding of the goal of you Behavioral targeting efforts, think about what customer segment you want reach. How will you define these customer segments? What characteristics or behavior make them the right target. Some of the segments might be very obvious if you have thoroughly thought about your goals and some might need more thinking. Reaching the right segment at the right time and at the right place is the promise of Behavioral Targeting but if your segments are not properly defined then you will not reach the right customers. Notice that I have not talked about any tool or network yet. You should define your segment before you talk about tools because you want the tool/network to work based on your goals and segments and not the other way around.

Define success metrics

Unless you know how to measure success you won’t know if Behavioral Targeting is really working for you. Think clearly about what success means to you? Is it number of visits or is it conversions or something in the middle. Unless you have a predefined action defined you will not know if you are reaching the right customer or not. Also think about ROI, why do you want to pay extra for BT campaigns or engage in on-site BT activities. The ROI model will help you predict the return you will can expect from Behavioral Targeting and if it is worth your time, effort and money. During this process you might find that Behavioral Targeting (based on your goals, segment and success criteria) is not right for you. If that’s the case then it is time to go back to step 1 and rethink why BT.

Find the right tools/networks

Once you are equipped with the goals, segments and the success measures you can make an intelligent decision about a choosing the right Behavioral Targeting vendor (tool or network). As I said above, make sure the tool/network is capable of delivering based on your goals and segments and not the other way around.

Create a culture of continuous Improvement

As you drive users via Behavioral Targeting, you need to make sure that the creative, landing pages and conversion paths are optimal. Even if you reach the right customer, if you ads, landing pages and conversion paths are not persuasive you will not uncover the full potential of behavioral targeting. Conduct A/B or Multivariate testing on ads, landing pages and conversion paths to create the optimal conversion path. Remember that optimization is an ongoing process, it gets better with time. You have to create a culture of continuous improvement. You will never get to 100% conversion but every little improvement can have a huge impact on the bottom line.

Also check out my 5 steps for easing the privacy concerns with Behavioral targeting.

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