The problem with behavioral targeting is that the companies that conduct professional behavioral
targeting activities can’t monitor all the different behaviors. The preceding list includes some of the
behaviors that the MSN search engine monitors. However, other search engines might monitor some
of these behaviors and not others. And those other search engines might monitor some behavior that
is not included in that list.
It’s possible to create a system by which you monitor a specific behavior that’s important to you.
Maybe you’re selling a product like plasma screen televisions. And maybe the behaviors that you
want to monitor are the research phase of the buying cycle and the buying phase of the buying
cycle. You can monitor both behaviors if you have a clear understanding of what you’re looking
for. All it takes is the creation of a cookie or set of cookies that will monitor those behaviors.
The key here is determining the searches or page views that are going to lead to the conversion that
you are trying to accomplish — in this case, selling a plasma screen television. There is no hard sci-
ence to tell you what behaviors will definitely lead to a sale; however, there are some indications as
to what point searchers must reach before they are willing to buy.
For this example, let’s just say that the ideal time to place your ad in front of them is when they have
returned to the Internet for a second time to research plasma screen televisions. At this point, you
can place your ad in front of these searchers, and the ad is more likely to result in a goal conversion.
To track these movements, you would need cookies to track the specific behavior that you’ve deter-
mined leads to goal conversion, as well as the pages that the potential customers are viewing. You
may even want to include a cookie that helps you to exclude site visitors who have already reached
the goal conversion that you’ve established.
Additionally, your web site will need the capability to read these cookies and then to serve up the
right content to the user, based on the contents of those cookies. It’s a complicated process, but with
the right web designer, it’s a very doable one. And it really shouldn’t be all that expensive.
Additional Behavioral Targeting Tips
Behavioral targeting may sound like the solution to all your advertising worries, but it does have a
few problems. By its nature, it cuts the number of potential customers who will see your advertise-
ment. This could mean that you’ll miss some segments of the market (like those who don’t know
yet that they are interested in what you’re offering, but would be if you presented an ad to them).
For this reason, behavioral targeting shouldn’t be the only method you use to target your potential
customers. Sure, it’s a method that will make your PPC campaigns more effective, and that alone
may be all that you need to be sure that behavioral targeting is right for you. But it may not be in
all cases. Take the time to research behavioral targeting abilities with whatever vendor you choose,
but don’t put all of your hope in it. For most people it works great, but not as a stand-alone target-
ing method. To be truly effective, you should use programs that leverage contextual targeting and
demographic targeting as well.
Understanding and Using Behavioral Targeting
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