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What is Behavioral Advertising and How To Get Started Successfully?

What is behavioral advertising and how to get started digital marketing blog cover image

Are you looking for a new way to reach and engage your customers? Behavioral advertising is an innovative approach that harnesses user data from web searches and other online activities to better understand consumer motivations. 

Companies can craft highly personalized messages tailored to each customer’s interests by carefully analyzing this information. But how do you get started using behavioral advertising techniques? We’ll discuss the basics of this type of marketing strategy, as well as tips and best practices on setting up campaigns, getting the most out of targeting tools, and more. Keep reading to discover what behavioral advertising has in store for your business!

What is Behavioral Advertising?

Behavioral advertising is an innovative form of marketing that combines technology and digital profiling to deliver targeted ads to a specific demographic or audience. It works by tracking user behavior on websites, blogs, and apps – collecting information related to preferences, buying habits, interests, and demographics. Marketers then use this data to create hyper-relevant ads when users need them most. Behavioral advertising is a cost-effective strategy for businesses of all sizes as it helps reach customers quickly while ensuring they remain engaged throughout their buyer’s journey – from initial ad impression all the way through to post-conversion retention. Despite its cost-effectiveness, behavioral advertising might be complicated to set up since it requires a lot of A/B tests to find out which tactics work the best. 

Behavioral advertising aims to show online users ads explicitly tailored to, particularly users’ interests and preferences. This method can be extremely effective, as it helps serve ads that are more relevant and personalized than traditional forms of marketing. For example, someone who frequently visits fitness-related websites is likely to be served fitness-oriented advertisements that highlight products related to losing weight or building muscle. Moreover, businesses often use this form of advertising to better understand the type of products being marketed and track how different audiences interact with those products in real time. 

Benefits of Behavioral Advertising to Businesses

Behavioral advertising has revolutionized digital marketing, allowing businesses to target their audience better and accurately predict their needs. This is done by collecting immense amounts of data from prior activities, such as browsing history, purchase behavior, geography, and demographic information. 

By analyzing all this data, companies gain insight into the particular interests and habits of specific customers, enabling them to provide relevant content tailored specifically for each individual. Additionally, because behavioral adverts can personalize content for users in real-time across multiple devices or networks, it offers a unique level of reach and effectiveness in terms of boosting ROI and increasing brand loyalty and overall customer satisfaction. While behavioral advertising may seem complex on the surface, the core concept is simple; create an environment where potential customers can interact with your brand more meaningfully.

Pros of Behavioral Advertising

1. More Relevant Ads

Behavioral advertising allows companies to consider customers’ online behavior when creating targeted ads. For example, a company may use past browsing history to know what types of products or services the customer is interested in and tailor their ad accordingly. 

This can be useful for businesses trying to generate leads and convert potential customers. Advertisers can customize ads based on a customer’s geographical location or demographic data such as age, income, gender, etc. By targeting ads more relevant to a customer’s interests, businesses can increase the likelihood of successful sales and further enhance their growth rate.

2. Increased ROI

Behavioral advertising can increase business investment returns, just as modern marketers have seen with online and email advertising. An example of this is a company investing in targeting ads tailored to its target audience’s profiles and preferences. This increases the chance of customers seeing relevant content, making them more likely to interact with the brand and purchase its products or services. 

Additionally, businesses can test different strategies to optimize their campaigns and track real-time analytics. For example, they may experiment with different placements or orientations of ads to maximize ROI while reaching a broader customer base. Finally, since behavioral advertising is digital and largely automated, companies tend to be able to keep pace with changing trends with minimal extra costs associated. This creates unlimited potential for increasing ROI without depleting resources too quickly.

3. Greater Engagement

Behavioral advertising offers the potential for greater customer engagement, thanks to its ability to tailor ad content based on user behavior and interests. For example, if a customer visits a website for information on running shoes, they may be served an ad offering discounts on the same type of shoe. This can pique the customer’s interest and increase their likelihood of taking action. 

Behavioral ads can also offer timely incentives such as discounts for limited periods and special offers that appear when a user is searching for something related to that product or brand. As these ads are tailored to an individual’s behavior on the web, users can expect greater relevance and personalized experiences, leading to greater engagement overall.

4. Improved Customer Insights

Behavioral advertising is a powerful tool that can provide businesses with invaluable customer insights. It allows businesses to gain more clarity on their target audience by analyzing how they interact with the company’s website, social media accounts, and other digital communication channels. With this analysis, businesses can learn what kind of content resonates with their customers in terms of appeal and engagement. 

Companies can also track users across different devices to better understand their habits and preferences. This data can then be used to tailor ads to each segment of the customer base to increase click-through rates and maximize ROI on campaigns. This segmenting your audiences allows you to create custom campaigns for each unique segment with the messaging and creatives that are most likely to bring the highest ROI. Essentially, improved customer insights from behavioral advertising are immensely valuable for businesses.



Cons of Behavioral Advertising

1. Difficult To Opt Out

Behavioral advertising can be challenging to opt out of due to modern techniques employed by companies that benefit from tracking and monitoring online activity. For instance, some websites may use third-party cookies, which remain on a user’s device even after they have deleted their browsing history or emptied their cookie cache. 

Other companies use something called ‘fingerprinting’, a term used for practices that involve collecting the unique configuration of a user’s device against which all actions are tracked; this eliminates the need for cookies and makes it extremely hard to detect or avoid being tracked. All these practices can make opting out of behavioral advertising incredibly challenging —- even if you’re familiar with all the technical knowledge involved in privacy protection.

2. It May Not Be Accurate

Another potential downside of behavioral advertising is that it may not be accurate. The algorithm determining which ads to show you is based on your past behavior, which may not always show you the most relevant ads. Additionally, the algorithm may not consider changes in your interests or circumstances, which could lead to ads that are no longer relevant. 

While behavioral advertising is typically accurate in understanding user behavior, it can sometimes be inaccurate. For example, if a person recently became vegan but continues to see ads for steak houses and other sources of animal products, this is an example of the algorithm not picking up on changing interests. 

Similarly, the algorithm may be unaware that a person recently had a baby and therefore keeps showing them ads for boats, luxury cars or other items irrelevant to their new life circumstances. Such inaccuracies can leave users feeling frustrated and disconnected from the advertisements they’re seeing as they won’t have any relevance to their current situation.

3. Intrusive At Times

Behavioral advertising, which relies on tracking a person’s online activities over time to tailor their ad experience, has the potential to be highly intrusive. Imagine scrolling through your social media feed and seeing ads from a store you visited last week. Or imagine getting an ad for a product recommended by the store cashier appearing instantly in your inbox after checkout. 

These two examples illustrate how behavioral advertising can feel like an invasion of privacy and rob users of the ability to choose when and how they are exposed to advertisements. Another downside of this type of intrusive marketing is that it can lead consumers to ignore or forget about other ads they may have been more interested in otherwise. Faced with ads seemingly emerging from nowhere, users can get overwhelmed, tuning out all advertisements instead of engaging with potentially pertinent ones.

How Behavioral Marketing Works?

Behavioral marketing is a powerful tool for reaching target audiences, allowing companies to capture user data to create tailored campaigns based on individual user behavior. It tracks users, from clicks and mouse movements to time spent on pages and products viewed, as they navigate the site. This user data is used to gain valuable insight into customer behavior, interests, intent, and preferences. 

These insights can drive various strategies for curating streamlined campaigns that speak directly to customers’ interests. Behavioral marketing also allows digital marketers to proactively listen and adapt the content in real time according to user responses and expectations. Companies can use this knowledge to create experiences that engage customers more effectively and provide an overall enhanced customer experience, adding value through personalization and connection.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Behavioral Advertising Campaigns

1. Define Your Target Audience

The first step to creating a successful behavioral advertising campaign is clearly defining your target audience. Who are you trying to reach with your ads? What are their demographics? What are their interests? Once you clearly understand who your target audience is, you’ll be able to create ads that are more likely to resonate with them. One way is to create your audience based on your historical data of known customers. You may also create rough buyer personas which will later change on received data from recent campaigns. 

Without this knowledge, you won’t be able to create effective campaigns or measure their success accurately. To be successful with your campaigns, you need to clearly understand who you are targeting and what is important to them. That means researching their demographics, needs, behaviors, interests, and preferences so you can create ads tailored to speak directly to these specific people. 

Knowing your target audience will also inform decisions such as which channels to use for maximum reach and engagement and what message resonates best with the right people. In short, taking the time upfront to define your target audience will pay off in more optimized campaigns that yield better results in the long run.

2. Collect Data on Your Target Audience’s Behavior

Now that you’ve identified your target audience, it’s time to collect data about their behavior. What websites do they visit? What do they search for online? What kinds of ads do they click on? The more data you have on your target audience’s behavior, the better you’ll be able to create relevant ads.

This also means analyzing their purchase decisions, web-browsing history, digital interactions and communications, search engine queries, and social media engagement. All this data should give marketers a better understanding of who their target audience is and what they find most attractive. One way to collect data about your target audience is through tools like Google Analytics 4 or Smartlook. Collecting data allows for developing personalized campaigns that speak directly to each buyer along every step of their journey. 

3. Use Data-Driven Targeting Methods

Using data-driven targeting methods is key to getting the most out of behavioral advertising campaigns. By utilizing large amounts of data from various sources, such as past user actions, search behavior, and external research sources, companies can identify specific audiences to target for their campaigns. This method allows different segments and targets to be narrowed down based on factors such as demographics, interests, device activity, and more. You can also use retargeting, which allows you to show your ads to people who have already visited your website or interacted with your brand in some way.

The benefit of data-driven targeting is that it allows for creating accurate models to measure audience reach and response so you can produce more impactful results. This level of granular accuracy makes it easier to refine strategies to optimize ROI in a continuous cycle while also delivering entirely new levels of personalized experiences —- making sure campaigns truly meet the needs of the desired audience.

4. Test Different Ad Formats and Strategies

Once you’ve collected data on your target audience and implemented a data-driven targeting strategy, it’s time to start testing different ad formats and strategies. And A/B testing process isn’t that complicated if you follow some simple rules along the way, such as testing only one variable at a time, setting clear goals, and defining a clear testing period. In our situation, test different types of ads (e.g., text, image, video) and see which ones perform the best. Also, experiment with different ad placements and see where your ads get the most clicks.


Behavioral advertising is a type of online advertising that uses data about consumers’ online activity to serve them more personalized ads. By understanding what interests potential customers and tailoring ads specifically to them, businesses can increase the likelihood that their ad will be clicked on and converted into a sale. 

Behavioral advertising is a powerful marketing tool that can help you boost your product sales. By understanding how your customers think and what motivates them, you can create targeted ads that speak to their needs. This type of advertising can be extremely effective, so if you’re not already using it, now is the time to start. If you’re interested in getting started with behavioral advertising for your business, consider working with a company specializing in this marketing type. 

What are some of the benefits you’ve seen from using behavioral advertising?

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