Behavioral Targeting Is Easier Than You Think

In a previous post, I discussed the importance of using behavioral targeting to increase your conversion rates. I also wrote about how to use Google Analytics to understand personas of the users who visit your site.

This post will present a fast and easy way to get your behavioral targeting (BT) process up and running. Although any discussion of BT can sometimes turn into a PhD-level conversation, it is really important to pluck some low-hanging fruit to convince executives that it is a worthwhile journey. If you do, your path will likely be paved with gold.

Recently, BTBuckets, a free behavioral targeting and segmentation tool, launched two brilliant plugins to integrate their tool with Google Website Optimizer and Google Analytics. These free tools are a boon for anyone who seeks to target the highest quality audience to a website.

Targeting users from within Google Analytics

The first plugin, for Google Analytics (GA), enables users to create behavioral targeting campaigns from within GA for a series of reports (see report details in the BTBuckets plugin page).

Say, for example, you post a press release on your corporate blog describing a very important new feature of a key product. Naturally, you get many incoming links from blogs and news websites. However, links to your blog home page instead of linking to the feature description post itself. During the time the post is at the top of the blog home everything is great, and your traffic converts pretty well.

However, after you publish a few additional posts, you note on Google Analytics that your conversion rates for visitors from the BBC (which still sends a good amount of traffic) drops drastically. This is most certainly a consequence of visitors not finding what they were looking for. One way to deal with that is to create a redirect for traffic arriving from BBC to the blog home and lead these visitors to the specific post (see explanation on video below). This can now be done from within GA with the help of this plugin.

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Test and target using Google Website Optimizer

The second plugin, for Google Website Optimizer, enables users to segment visitors that will be included in a test. It is important to note that the plugin works for specific user segments including new visitors, returning visitors, search and social media.

For example, suppose you are a publisher, and display AdSense advertisements. This is a great way to earn a few bucks out of your website; however, is it a good strategy to show ads to all your visitors? Perhaps, perhaps not. If someone is a first time visitor, it is probably better to show a special promotion, or maybe a banner for an internal campaign, or a signup form for an email subscription or an RSS feed. A returning visitor is more likely to know your brand and is likely to return even if he or she clicks on a contextual ad. For these visitors, instead of showing a signup form, it’s fine to display AdSense ads.

Since you can never know if that is the right thing to do without testing, you should create two tests, one for new visitors and one for returning visitors. One test displays AdSense ads for 50% of visitors, and the other displays an internal banner to the other half. If you happen to find a significant difference, bingo! If not, keep testing and targeting.

Below is a video showing how to use the plugin, and more info about it can be found on BTBuckets plugin page.

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Now we have a suite of tools to analyze, test and target for free. Are you doing behavioral targeting? If so, please share your successes and challenges in the comments section below.

Related Topics: Channel: Analytics | Google: Analytics | Google: Website Optimizer | How To: Analytics | SEM Tools: Web Analytics


About The Author: is the Founder of Conversion Journey, a Google Analytics Certified Partner. He is also the founder of Online Behavior, a Marketing Measurement & Optimization website. You can follow him on Google+ or Twitter.

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  • JimEustace

    Thanks for the great series of articles on how effective targeted content can be and thanks for the invitation to share success stories. Here is one that was achieved with – our behavioral targeting tool that we think is very easy to get started with and very easy to use.

    The San Antonio Conventions & Visitors Bureau wanted to lower the bounce rate on their homepage and increase user engagement as measured by click through and requests for visitor guides. We added Smart Content to their homepage and strategized messages based on a variety of target audiences. The audiences were served targeted messages with clear calls to action based on geo-location, number of visits to the site, and content preferences. The success of the program is remarkable.

    We increased click through rate (CTR) on the main content from .7% to 6.7%. This tremendous jump in performance is a combination of giving people the content we believe they are looking for and providing a clear, benefit-focused call to action.

    The bounce rate for the homepage was driven down from a baseline of 30% to 16% as soon as we launched Smart Content and over time it has dropped further to 13%.

    Travel Guide requests, the key metric for engagement, have been increased by 42%.

    All of this was done with very positive ROI.

    Thanks again for the posts and the invitation to share a success story.

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