Behavioral Targeting: Let’s Do Lunch

I’m not adventurous when it comes to food. A major downside of that is the limited lunchtime options. If I go to a particular Thai place, it’s a pad kee mow; if I go to a sub shop, it’s usually roast beef on wheat. If I go to the pasta shop, it’s the fettuccine and tofu. You get the drift. A major benefit is more often than not, restaurants remember me and know what I want. This got me thinking about repeat behavior and one of behavioral targeting’s original promises and premises: retargeting.

Seems odd that retargeting is hardly mentioned anymore. I remember when the ability to retarget was considered a key benefit of using behavior targeting.

A client asked about behavioral targeting’s benefits a while back. For this particular client, it was obvious; it would’ve allowed him to expand his retention strategy beyond limited placements. In other words, cast a wider net but still catch the same target with the same efficiency. Unfortunately, that client didn’t see it that way. Maybe if I’d mentioned the ability to retarget to potential customers, he’d have seen it as a potential media strategy and tactic.

What are behavioral targeting’s many benefits?

The biggest benefit is the ability to reach the right segments outside of contextually relevant areas. Yes, behavior counts for something. In this case, it counts as a premium for lots of publishers. Behavioral targeting also enables marketers to optimize campaigns outside placement-specific buys. Thus, marketers can always modify the criteria used to create target groups. If my auto-buying group doesn’t show high response based on a recency of 45 days and relevant frequency of 2, I can change the criteria to 20 days recency and a frequency of 3.

Though much of this isn’t transparent for advertisers, the ability to optimize in such a manner means advertisers have another option for delivering a successful campaign.

Analyzing campaign results based on behavioral targeting can yield a ton of useful information. Behavioral targeting isn’t just about the tactical nature of reaching specified behaviors. Rather, as my colleague Andy Chen stated last week, it provides a strategic platform from which marketing can grow older along with its target.

This is already in the works, Tacoda Systems told me. The company will offer “Lifestage Segment Targeting,” which allows advertisers to segment based on certain life milestones. A financial service advertiser, for instance, can target users buying new homes, those starting retirement funds, and so forth.

Other benefits include the opportunity to cross- and up-sell relevant products and merchandise based on behavior. Say one segment looks up information on their favorite sports team or their alma mater. That segment is cross-matched with another segment looking up travel information. An airline company could target the resulting segment with ads focused on college football fares. A financial service company could utilize ads for credit cards with their favorite sports team or alma mater name on it.

I don’t want to oversimplify, but behavioral marketing really does have some of the same benefits as my repeatedly eating at the lunch spots. If nothing else, I’d be happy if some advertiser served relevant messages on food.com targeted based on people who hate onions.

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