Taking Advantage of Behavioral Targeting
Another element that makes behavioral targeting more attractive is the growing ability of companies
pieces of code that make it possible for companies to track how people behave on the Web without
capturing any specific personal information about those people.
The concept is this: a company places a cookie on a user’s hard drive, and then using that cookie
tracks what the user searches for online and then where the user travels within those search results.
Say that you’re contemplating buying a hybrid car. The first thing that you’re likely to do is research
hybrid cars on the Internet. If a search company (or some other organization) is tracking your search
movements, they’ll learn that you’re researching hybrid cars.
At this point in the purchasing process, you’re not ready to commit to buying a car, so an advertiser
may hold its ads back, not wanting to pay for exposure that results in no conversions. However,
the company that placed the cookie on your hard drive can continue to monitor your searches and
movements on the Web. Then when you begin to search for the phrase “buying a hybrid car,” or
something similar, the search company can alert the advertiser who will then place an ad in front of
you. This ensures that you’re in the right frame of mind to see the ad, which means that you’re more
likely to click through the ad and reach a conversion goal than other surfers might be.
The truly useful element of behavioral targeting is not that you’re tracking users’ behaviors, but that
you’re meeting these potential customers in the place where they are most likely to make a purchase,
sign up for your newsletter, fill out a form for more information, or accomplish whatever conversion
goal you’ve established.
This search profiling also has the added benefit of allowing you to target your ads much more effec-
tively in the buying process. It’s the part of behavioral targeting that seems to draw the most atten-
tion. But it allows more than just pre-purchase (or pre-conversion) advertisements. You can also use
search profiling as part of behavioral targeting to develop appropriate post-search ads.
Post-search ads appear on the landing pages that you or others have created. These ads are highly
targeted to the people who are most likely to click through a PPC ad to reach the landing page.
Once there, the ads offer additional, related products and services. These post-search ads are popu-
lar because they tend to get more traffic than some other types of advertising, leading to more
goal conversions than with other types of advertising.
When behavioral targeting is used, there are several methods by which behavior is evaluated. Those
Expected behavior is just that — what you would expect users to do
on a given type of site. For example, if you operate a site that requires users to log in to use
the site, even if it’s a free site, you would expect users (who are also qualified sales leads)
to fill out the form necessary to sign up for your web-site service. This behavior can some-
times allow you to see patterns that you would not have otherwise seen in the behavior of
your customers or potential customers.
Understanding and Using Behavioral Targeting
08 1 9:39 127