In the past, marketing to consumers based on things like how many pages they visited on a site were rudimentary at best. They could tell you, in broad strokes, what a customer might be interested in — but they weren’t very specific. It was a lot like trying to guess what kind of picture a puzzle might make when you only have a couple of the pieces.
Behavioral marketing has changed all of that. But what should you know about it, and how do you get started? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Behavioral Marketing?
Rather than throwing a bunch of ads at consumers and hope some of the marketing message sticks, behavioral marketing takes all the available information — browsing and search history, IPs and cookies — and uses it to build a more definitive profile of the user, and then tailor marketing messages accordingly.
As the consumer visits more pages, browses more products or lingers on certain coupons, deals and offers will become more targeted and precise. The more information an ad network has, for example, the narrower they can define an ad’s segmentation to reach the right people at the right time.
Ingenious, right? But actually seeing behavioral marketing in practice can really stoke the fire in terms of generating new ideas. Rather than just give you examples, however, we’ve gone a step further to list out some of the best tools you can use to get started with behavioral marketing as well.
Examples of Behavioral Marketing
Behavioral marketing actually encompasses a wide range of marketing strategies — including retargeting (also known as remarketing), email marketing, product suggestions and much more. All of these are facets of behaviorally-based targeting and can be used as standalone strategies or coupled together for even greater effect on your target audience.
Retargeting and remarketing take into consideration the pages and products you’ve viewed, and then show them again even if you’re not on the original website. Both Google and Facebook offer retargeting options in their respective advertising platforms. You’ll need to think about which segment of your audience you want to retarget, and what kind of offer(s) you want to present to them.
How to Set Up Ad-Based Retargeting
To Set Up Retargeting in Google Adwords
- Sign into your Adwords account
- Click on Campaigns and click the +Campaign button
- Select “Display Network Only” (click here if you want to set up a remarketing campaign for the Search network)
- Leave “Marketing objectives” option selected and check “Buy on Your Website”
- Enter your campaign name, bidding strategy and budget
- Click Save and Continue
- Enter your ad group name and bid
- Under the option “Choose how to target your ads” click “interests and remarketing”
- In the “Select a category” drop down menu, choose “Remarketing Lists” and then click Set Up Remarketing
At this point, Adwords will create a remarketing tag for you. You can send it to yourself or your developer along with instructions on how to add it to your website. If you have Google Analytics running, there’s a checkbox to “use the tracking code that’s already on your website” instead.
Adwords starts you off by creating an “All Visitors” list, so you don’t have to have a remarketing list already made up. When you’re just starting out, this list includes anyone and everyone who has visited pages on your site with the remarketing tag.
- Next, enter your ad group name and bid. You’ll see the “All Visitors” list added to your ad group under the “Remarketing lists” tab
- Then simply click Save and Continue to start creating your ads, or Skip ad creation to do so later. It’s a good idea to create both text and image ads in various sizes so that you’ll have an ad ready to show no matter what other pages your ideal customer visits.
To Set Up Retargeting in Facebook
- Login to your Facebook Ad manager and choose Audiences
- Click on Create Audience and choose Custom Audience. For this example, we’ll retarget people who have already visited your site.
- Under “How do you want to create this audience?” choose Website Traffic
- Choose your target audience from the dropdown menu. You can target a wide range of users, including
Anyone who visits your site
People who visit certain pages
People who visit certain pages but not others
People who haven’t visited after a set amount of time
A custom combination of your own choosing
- Then, you’ll simply get your pixel code and you’re ready to start retargeting.
As a side note, if you don’t yet have a Facebook pixel code, you’ll need one in order to accurately track visitors for Facebook retargeting. Here’s a step by step guide from Facebook on how to do this.
In order to get the most momentum out of your retargeted Adwords and Facebook ads, you’ll want to plan your campaign accordingly. Who do you want to target? Create an ad that appeals to that specific segment. For example, people who looked at a specific product and possibly added it to their cart, but didn’t make a purchase may benefit from a retargeted ad offering a discount or free shipping.
Here are a few examples to get you brainstorming:
This Amazon retargeted ad on Facebook shares Valentine’s day deals to last-minute shoppers and throws in free one-day shipping to help seal the deal.
This retargeted Best Buy ad lets you know you have items in your cart and helps ease any reluctance by reminding you of their Price Match Guarantee, free in-store pickup and free shipping.
This ad from Expedia targets last minute shoppers looking for a great travel deal.
Behavioral Email Marketing
Behaviorally-targeted email is another example of behavioral marketing. Instead of using the pages that users visited or the actions they took on those pages, behavioral targeting via email targets users based on their status or actions with the site (whether they’re subscribed, added an item to their cart, and so on).
Nordstrom shows you the item(s) in your cart and lets you view your bag directly. This ad could still be improved, however, by linking to a method of contacting support or live chat should the user have any questions before checkout.
Here’s an example retention email sent to users who unsubscribed from the Birchbox service – with a 20% off discount for rejoining.
If you’re looking for more examples, we have 29 examples of behaviorally-targeted emails.
How to Set Up Behavioral Email Targeting
You can use Kissmetrics Campaigns to set up behavioral email targeting in just a few simple steps. Watch the video below to learn more:
The types of emails you can send through a behaviorally-targeted campaign are virtually unlimited. The most common types include messages like:
- Abandoned cart notifications
- Come back/login and see what you’ve missed
- Onboarding/Getting started emails
- And much more
Here’s a helpful guide that gives you tons of examples of the different types of behaviorally based emails you can try.
This is one of the most common types of behavioral targeting and looks at things like gender, age range, education level, geographic location, race and other traits to essentially “paint a picture” of a user based on their browsing habits.
You may not think that something as simple as the websites you visit can reveal anything about you on a physical level, but you’d be surprised. And, of course, advertisers are keen to these differences and often repackage and rebrand their products accordingly:
An ad promoting the fuel efficiency of the Toyota Prius – targeted to those who are looking for ways to help the environment:
A “skinny” can of diet Pepsi targeted to women who are trying to watch their figures
Suggested selling pairs additional (or larger/better) items based on things you’ve already bought. Common examples of suggested selling are up-sells and cross-sells. You can think of a cross-sell as ordering a burger and being asked “do you want fries with that?” Whereas an upsell to your burger would be the offer to “make it a meal with fries and a drink for $X”. Suggested selling is often used to great effect on sites like Amazon, where buying certain items will tell you not just what others bought, but what they bought together.
You’ll often see suggested selling used on flower and gift websites, where upsells can include everything from chocolates to popcorn.
This is an extension of behavioral marketing in that it doesn’t dissuade the customer from their current order, but rather advises them or suggests other relevant items based on their current purchase behavior.
Taking the Next Step in Behavioral Marketing
Now that you have some powerful examples of behavioral marketing, as well as a wide range of tools and guides at your disposal, the next step is to try it out for yourself! Make a plan, then try out some campaign ideas to see how your customers respond. You may be surprised at the money you’re leaving on the table by not including behavioral marketing as part of your strategies!
And if you are using behavioral marketing tactics as part of your advertising and promotions – we’d like to hear about it! Share your thoughts and success stories with us in the comments below!