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Behavorial Targeting 101: Media Buying Tips

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Have you heard of behavioral marketing, but not known exactly what it is? You probably have been exposed to behavioral targeting before at one or more points in your life and not even known it. Behavioral targeting, if done right, can be a very useful tool in your internet marketing tool belt.

My experiences with behavioral targeting have been always in tandem with other marketing campaigns, all supporting each other and working together. Behavioral targeting as a stand-alone marketing technique can potentially be effective, but I have seen more success with multiple campaigns interlaced together to make each one perform better.

If you are looking to learn more about behavioral targeting, then keep reading for more on the basics of this technique to help you launch your first behavioral targeting campaign.

Intro to Behavioral Targeting:

The basic idea behind behavioral targeting is to match the most relevant ads to those users browsing pages on a given network. This is done by tracking behavior anonymously and then feeding relevant ads based on a user’s behavior. Unlike PPC and CPM-based ad platforms like AdWords and YPN where you target sites and key phrases, behavioral targeting takes it a step further by studying a user’s behavior across a network of sites and then producing the right ad for the right person. Targeting in this fashion ultimately lowers your CPA, CPM and CPC.

Get to Know the Networks:

The big boys in the industry are Revenue Science and Tacoda (recently acquired by AOL). They reportedly have the largest networks; however, the leap towards search engines creating their own behavioral targeting networks is on the rise. Yahoo already has one, AOL acquired Tacoda, and MSN is now offering behavioral targeting as well.

The first question I always ask these guys is how big is your network? I try to find out as much information I can about their partner sites. Just because they have a large network, it does not mean I want to be a part of it unless it’s a quality one. Today there are a good number of behavioral targeting networks to investigate. Each one should be researched. Cultivate a relationship with someone on the staff, as you will need a person you are comfortable working with to refine your campaign, which can be time-consuming.

Three Dimensions of Behavioral Targeting:

I think Andy Chen from the ClickZ network summed it up well in his classic article about three dimensions of behavioral targeting. In a nutshell, the three dimensions are as follows:

1. Customer Relations Management: Behavioral targeting can bring your message to the right people, but the way you interact with your clients/customers is one of the deciding factors on conversion and viral success. Making the customer’s experience a positive one will inevitably lead to more conversions.

2. Branding: The power of brand marketing in the long term is a powerful concept. Think of brands like Pepsi, Johnson & Johnson, eBay, Proctor & Gamble. Brands such as these have made their way into our homes and minds and become an everyday staple in our society. If you are looking for brand ubiquity that is targeted and direct, then behavioral targeting can accomplish this goal for you.

3. Direct Response: Each internet marketer is after direct response. We want each ad dollar to result in some kind of reaction. In many cases, we see our advertising money flushed down the drain and often see unimpressive results. Behavioral targeting allows you to put an incentivized offer in front of viable, qualified, and actionable consumers. A marketing rule of thumb is if you get your message to the right people, you will be successful. Behavioral targeting can help facilitate the direct response we all crave.

Metrics!

Measuring your success with behavioral targeting falls 100% on you! If you have a departmentalized organization, it would be best to push for extra tracking and metrics on your end instead of relying completely on a company like Tacoda or Revenue Science to provide tracking for you. If you work in a centralized infrastructure, you will have a lot easier time getting your needs meet.

I strongly stress the need for leveraging mulitple metrics and internal tracking not just for behavioral targeting, but all of your marketing needs. Without relaible tracking you are reduced to making decisions based on theories and not facts.

Start with these tips and investigate some avenues of behavioral targeting if you’re intrigued by the concept. It might just be the extra boost your ad campaigns are looking for.

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