How to use Human Behavioural Targeting to Speak to Your Customers

Human Behavioural Targeting to speak to your customers by Zealous Social

Written by Kalleigh O'Togher

Kalleigh is the founder and CEO of Zealous Social and The Growth Fix. Her expertise in sales and marketing comes from 25 years of working with, and coaching, mid-size businesses in the trades, services and retail industries.

October 8, 2021

The digital age is dominated by banner blindness. Visitors to a site, unconsciously or consciously, ignore unrelated advertisements. Instead, they are more attentive towards tailored digital experiences that address their wants and needs. This is what human behavioural targeting focuses on.

An Accenture study demonstrated that 75% of visitors are more likely to make a purchase from an online merchant if it had some level of personalization on their site.

To gain a competitive advantage, marketing teams must make improvements in creating content and user experiences that are more personalized. This will directly impact ad and social media engagement and consequently bolster revenue.

This is the crux of behavioural targeting!

Behavioural Targeting Explained

This is a marketing strategy that subdivides audiences based on specific behavioural patterns instead of the usual demographic parameters like age, gender, income, etc. Using behavioural data that is collected by your audience, very detailed user profiles can be created.

In modern marketing, behavioural targeting is used to acquire better engagement. This comes at a time when an increasing number of online shoppers have learned avoidance habits towards several ad and post formats.

Instead of being bombarded with irrelevant ads and social posts, marketers can now focus on delivering relevant messages for each individual customer.

What does this mean? It means you’ll be able to speak to your customers as individuals rather than just one generic audience. You’re no longer limited by demographics – you can create customized campaigns that meet the unique requirements of every single person who visits your website. And because these people are already interacting with your brand, there’s less chance of them ignoring your message altogether.

So how do we get started?

1) Identify what behaviours matter most to your business:

You need to know why you’re doing all this work. What behaviour matters most to your company? Is it clicks? How many times someone has viewed your product page? Or perhaps it’s conversions such as purchases, registrations, sign-ups, downloads, etc.?

Whatever it is, find out which actions drive the highest value for your organization. Then figure out where those actions take place. For example, maybe users visit your homepage before clicking through to any other pages. In this case, you may want to set up an ad or social media campaign to encourage them to click through first. If not, then you might consider adding additional steps to your checkout process so that your conversion rates go up.

2) Create a segmentation model:

Once you’ve identified the key behaviours driving high-value traffic, you’ll need to identify groups within the population that share similar characteristics. These segments should represent different types of buyers. The goal here is to help you understand your target market. You don’t necessarily need to categorize everyone into a group; however, it helps to organize information about your prospects into meaningful categories.

3) Use behavioural data to build customized interactions:

Once you’ve defined the best ways to reach your ideal buyer persona, you can start building targeted messaging around the behaviours that matter most. Behaviours include things like search queries, device usage, location, browsing history, social media activity, email opens, mobile app usage, and much more. With this type of rich data available, you can tailor communications to match the interests of each visitor.

4) Measure results:

As soon as you begin running tests, you’ll see exactly how effective your efforts were. Did your new approach improve performance? Were certain emails more successful than others? By tracking real-time metrics, you’ll quickly learn whether your changes made a difference.

5) Repeat until satisfied:

If you keep testing and measuring, you’ll eventually discover the perfect combination of tactics that works for your business. Over time, you’ll refine your strategies and adjust your plans accordingly. As long as you continue to test, you won’t run out of ideas.

6) Scale across channels:

Now that you have a solid understanding of how to deliver highly engaging content, you can apply the same techniques to other forms of communication.

Data Required For Behavioural Targeting

This is a data-driven campaign that collects information from the following sources and the metrics amassed for behavioural targeting campaigns:

Collected IP addresses –  IP address collection tools are used by marketers to track visitors on their websites or apps. This allows us to determine what devices people are using when they come to our website. It also tells us if we are reaching an audience in another country. We collect only non-identifiable data.

Collected cookies – Cookies allow web servers to store small amounts of text files called “cookies” on users’ computers. Cookies enable sites to respond to requests without having to repeat these requests every single time a page is requested. Our site uses both session ID cookies and persistent cookies. Session ID cookies expire once the browser window closes and do not contain personal information.

Company’s web analytics – Web Analytics Tools provide detailed statistics on how users interact with websites. They measure which pages get visited, where those visits take place, how long users spend there, etc. All such details are then processed through complex algorithms to generate useful insights.

Visitors’ browsing histories – Browsers send unique identifiers whenever someone enters a URL. Websites often save this identifier along with its corresponding date/timestamp so they know who was visiting them at any given point in time.

Geographic location – Geolocation technology enables companies to pinpoint the physical locations of mobile device users within metres rather than miles. The ability to identify specific regions helps businesses target ads towards local audiences.

Demographics – Demographic characteristics like age, gender, income level, education background, occupation, marital status, religion, ethnicity, political affiliation, language preferences, hobbies, interests, life events, health conditions, family size, children, pets, cars, home ownership, type of neighbourhood, number of bedrooms, square footage and year built help companies understand customer needs better.

Interests & Activities – When combined with demographic data, interest and activity signals give advertisers insight into consumers’ lifestyles, habits, attitudes, values, beliefs, opinions, aspirations.

Transactional data – Data that shows whether a visitor has made purchases from your business previously can be extremely valuable. For example, if a shopper makes multiple online orders over a period of time, he may be considered as a potential lead. In addition, transactional data includes items purchased, frequency of purchase, average order value, total spent per month, and more.

Purchase history – This refers to transactions performed by an end-user while interacting with your website or app. It also covers other interactions including form submissions, emails sent, phone calls placed, social media posts shared, etc.

Device types used – A list of devices used by each user provides information about what kind of hardware and software people are using when accessing your site. Such data allows us to build profiles of different groups of users. We can segment our audience into various categories depending upon their demographics, behaviours, interests, etc.

Website traffic sources – Traffic analysis gives marketers a clear picture of the source, medium, keywords, landing page, bounce rate, exit rates, conversion rates, conversions, revenue generated, cost incurred, etc., of every single visit to their sites.

We need to combine all these methods together to have the right data. The main purpose behind collecting this data is to create relevant messages based on individual behavioural patterns. While creating personalized marketing messages is very important, it isn’t the whole process. If you want to convert leads into customers, you must also define the right personas in order to design the right message. This is what will skyrocket engagement and conversions.

Behavioural Targeting Will Gradually Replace Demographic Targeting

Why? Because we humans don’t behave exactly alike. Our behaviour varies according to many factors such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Education Level
  • Occupation
  • Interests
  • Lifestyle
  • Hobbies
  • Religion
  • Marital Status
  • Family Size
  • Children
  • Pets
  • Cars
  • Homeownership
  • Neighbourhood Type
  • Square Footage
  • Year Built
  • Income Levels
  • Language Preferences
  • Political Affiliation
  • Health Conditions
  • Life Events
  • Families
  • etc…

The way we act changes day by day. So does our mindset. And even though we might share some similarities, there’s no denying the fact that we’re unique individuals. Therefore, for any given campaign, we should expect differences between how one group behaves compared to another.

This means that demographic segments won’t always work well enough. Demographic statistics are limited.

Parameters like income, age, and location are great bits of information for marketing teams to create personalized messages. Unfortunately, data is limited when it comes to comprehending your customers’ wants, habits, needs, and pain points.

In addition, demographic data won’t reveal much about customers’ behaviours. Only relying on these parameters is usually a hit-or-miss strategy.

They’ll fail to capture the nuances of consumer behaviour and they’ll miss out on opportunities to connect with real prospects. As a result, you could lose money and waste resources trying to reach them through traditional channels.

So why not go beyond demographics? Why not try something new? Behavioural targeting offers a powerful alternative because it captures the full spectrum of human behaviour. It takes account of everything from where someone lives to which websites they visit. By combining this rich set of insights with the power of machine learning algorithms, behavioural targeting delivers highly accurate results.

With behavioural information, marketing teams can aim at their own visitors because they can determine which pages were visited and what they left in their shopping carts. This enables very precise targeting!

Grabbing customers’ attention is more difficult now.

As more and more visitors continue to ignore general ad formats, digital marketers are concerned that regular display and PPC adverts will lose momentum.

Demographic information is used by most marketers.

Demographic data can easily be accessed by anyone, even your competitors. To gain a competitive advantage, marketers must rely on their own customers’ information and behaviour to create bespoke online experiences. This will help marketers achieve a better ROI and ROAS while guaranteeing that their customers are shown the right ads at the best times.

How to use human behavioural targeting to speak to your customers?

Here’s how behavioural targeting strategies can help you gain a competitive advantage:

1) Maximize Upselling and Cross-Selling.

When you know what your customers like and how they interact with your website is a powerful tool to propose additional services or products to them.

Example: Spotify

This audio streaming and media services provider tracks the music you listen to and the number of times in which you do. Using this information, they create personalized ads based on your preferences to market concert tickets. This brings visitors back to the Spotify app.

That’s how potent behavioural marketing can be.

If your business deals with eCommerce activities, then you’re probably accustomed to upselling and cross-selling products. These techniques are powered by behavioural marketing.

2) Implement Behavioural Email Marketing Programs.

A study conducted by Smart Insights found that email marketing had a conversion rate of 4.3%. In fact, social media only had 1.8%. What does this mean? Email marketing is still an impressive tool for selling services and products and improving conversion rates.

With this in mind, marketing teams can boost email marketing programs by implementing behavioural targeting methods. Behavioural email marketing involves sending directed emails to consumers based on past actions they took on your website. Examples of past actions include:

–     newsletter subscription

–     pages visited

–     cart abandonment, etc.

Example: Quora

Quora aims to have return visitors to their site. They use behavioural email marketing to entice return users. By learning about pages you’ve read before, Quora sends personalized emails with highlighted topics to spark your interests.

3) Leverage Google, Facebook, Other Retargeting Services.

Remarketing and retargeting are strategies that are applied to appeal to potential customers who visited your site in the past. This is achieved by showing ads on other sites like social networks, game sites, etc.

There are many ad networks that use retargeting. Some of the most popular ones are Google and Facebook. This is because they can spread out to larger audiences and obtain accurate data and analysis on the sales generated. These sites also have tons of integrations with 3rd party data analysis tools.

Here are some factors that can be tracked:

–     Length of the sessions

–     Pages visited

–     Products that were purchased

–     Average order amount

–     Customers who placed an order in the cart and abandoned it

–     Length of the visitor’s previous session

–     Number of products purchased

Once your marketing team has acquired sufficient behavioural data, they can make user segments on various behavioural traits and show them pertinent ads.

4) Use Precise Geographic Targeting.

Knowing the exact geolocation of your site visitors (via IP addresses) will make a big difference in your marketing campaign’s success. A study conducted by Verve discovered that mobile ads with geo-targeting yielding a 50% higher conversion rate compared to their non-targeted counterparts.

Example: Your clothing company

Imagine you operate a clothing business that retails year-round fashions. With a data analytics tool, you can set up user segments based on their location. This will help you advertise clothes that matter to that segment (i.e. based on their location).

Geo-targeted may be used at the city level. This means marketing teams can create tailor-made ads to target a limited yet qualified audience. With geo-targeted advertising, you can create ads that are tailored to your audiences based on demographic and behavioural parameters.

Geo-targeting is often seen on Facebook. This popular social media site enables marketing teams to incorporate behavioural parameters into the layers of targeting. You can target for the following:

–     People in a specific location

–     People travelling in a specified location

–     People that were in a certain location

5) Test with Personalized Offers, Discounts, and Coupons.

Website personalization involves creating customized experiences using a visitor’s needs, wants, past actions, etc. This is a stark contrast from providing a generic experience regardless of the visitor’s preferences. This is why website personalization isn’t a marketing trend.

A study conducted by Accenture in 2016 found that 75% of visitors were more likely to make a purchase from a business that offered some type of personalization during the purchase cycle.

This means consumers are more likely to buy from retailers who offer an experience that is personalized. Tech and retail giants often use some level of site personalization, i.e. recommended products, wish lists.

Displaying content based on a consumer’s personal preferences has become an essential marketing tool. It has taught marketing teams that people don’t despise ads, only the irrelevant ones. With this knowledge in hand, marketers should use human behavioural targeting to set up segment-based adverts to boost engagement and relevancy.

If you’d like help with your human behavioural targeting strategies, book a call with us.

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