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What is Behavioral Targeting for Online Advertising?

Behavioral targeting uses third party data sources to build target profiles based on user behavior. In some cases, this may be 1:1, allowing you to target specifically those who have made purchases in a particular category or target specific people with a particular interest. Often, 1:1 targeting is augmented with modelled, or look-alike, targets. These less strict groups allow you to target people similar to a particular target even though that data point may not be available for every individual. What are modelled behavioral target groups? If a majority of ‘green consumers’ share specific patterns in large, complex data sets, it can be safely presumed that others with similar profiles may also be ‘green consumers’ even the their individual purchase history isn’t available. Modeled groups may also bring in multiple data sources, such as ‘hybrid owners,’ eco-friendly brands, and environmental philanthropists into a singular label for easier use in ad campaign.

Does Behavioral Targeting use ‘Small Data’ such as Web Analytics?

Behavioral targeting is a bit different from its cousin, personalized behavioral targeting. Typically, personalized behavioral targeting uses a smaller data sets for targeting, such as remarketing a product to those who have been to your website to view it, but haven’t purchased. Behavioral targeting is for the discoveryof potential new customers as it requires no initial action with your brand. It uses larger data sets, typically provided by data partners such as Blue Kai and Datalogix. That said, technology is allowing these lines to blur considerably, and it’s not uncommon to have personalized behavioral targeting and ‘big data’ behavioral targeting in the same campaign – even working together for faster campaign optimization.

Does Behavioral Targeting Work?

Yes and… “sort of.” The behavior targeting options provided by Facebook and Twitter offer a great ‘head start’ in terms of target optimization, but they’re much stronger when used in conjunction with traditional targeting. When possible, use them as a baseline for testing and perfecting your own custom targeting based on user behavior rather than solely as an additional target. Your ads will go further, and you’ll have the mighty goal of out-optimizing a big data powerhouse. Looking for behavioral targeting campaign ideas or channel specific information? Check out these additional posts from wedü.  
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