Match Retailer Objectives to Behavioral Targeting Tactics

Online, behavioral targeting is primarily a performance-based media tactic. For online retailers that means sales, frequently incremental sales at a lower cost per sale. Yet achieving optimal results requires a clear understanding of the specifics of what you’re trying to achieve, including key performance indicators (KPI) and their relative prioritization in the overall program. That understanding must be communicated to those do the media planning and optimizing, those who prep the site, those who analyze the program results, and those who set the budget. Everyone needs to be on the same page.

Here are three common objectives for e-tailers and how behavioral targeting programs can support those goals.

Maximize Total Revenue

How do we make our numbers? This is the broadest measure but maybe the most important statistic for e-tailers. Behavioral targeting can positively affect revenue production, but the program must be designed for this specific purpose. The supporting pillars of this program are finding more prospective customers (reach) and increasing sales once you’ve found them (conversion).

Simple, right?

Behavioral targeting can be used to extend reach by finding new audiences outside relevant content areas you may have exhausted or can’t afford or that are sold out. If you can define behaviors that describe your target audience, you can create a new pool of prospects. Think beyond display advertising when looking for those new customers. Use search and shopping feeds to bring people deep into your site, making sure to tag every site page to capture data for future marketing.

Behavioral tactics can influence conversion performance by ensuring the audience is appropriate and by sophisticated message segmentation based on behaviors. If your prospect has been looking at blouses then, by all means, show her the blouse ad, not the jeans ad.

As an added bonus, smart use of behavioral targeting brings down your overall CPA (define), freeing additional dollars to reinvest in incremental media to reach more audience or in site changes to convert more browsers.

Maximize Average Order Value

If your campaign’s primary goal is to make the most of an existing customer base, a lot of the work will be done at the site level: optimizing navigation and landing pages, using collaborative filtering to suggest related products, streamlining checkout, testing page layouts and offers, and creating a robust CRM (define) program.

You can, however, use behavioral targeting to cross- and upsell existing customers by using what you know about them. Identify shopping behaviors (including prior sales) and cater to audience segments with the right product offerings.

You can better afford the primo audience segments that spend more per visit if you get more than one shot at them. Behavioral targeting allows you to invest in those touch points with a premium audience because once you’ve touched them, there are remarket opportunities to look forward to.

Maximize New Customer Acquisitions

If your stated goal is to acquire new customers, use behavioral targeting to extend your reach beyond your current exposures. If you’ve tagged your site appropriately, you should be able to identify, both on your site and out on the Web, those prospects who have exhibited shopping behaviors or who have been to your site but aren’t current customers.

The assumption that non-customers know little about your brand experience, even if you have terrific brand awareness, helps focus on overcoming new customer hurdles. Target ads to potential new customers that make a competitive point of difference and speak to the service or ease-of-use issues that create a natural barrier to shopping a new site. Promotions that factor in the lifetime value of a new customer can serve special offers to new customers that you wouldn’t offer to others.

All Roads Lead to Sales

The above objectives should contribute to improved results. The risk of not precisely specifying retail goals is ending up with a wonderful program that doesn’t match your current needs. A long-term strategy should mirror corporate goals, while a combination of media programs and tactics may support differing short-term goals.

Choice is good, but it’s counterintuitive and counterproductive to try to maximize multiple, differing objectives. You needn’t trade one goal for another if you’ve mapped clear prioritization. That simple program goal statement greatly contributes to better planning, appropriate measurement and analysis, effective creative messaging, and targeted optimization. All lead to program success, however that success is defined.

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