Targeted marketing is the wave of the future for internet advertisers. The key to advertising is knowing what consumers want. Once an advertiser understands the potential consumer’s needs, he has a much better chance of making a sale. This is the theory behind online targeted marketing.
And while in the Internet’s infancy the best way to advertise via the Internet may have been to simply rapid fire your advertising message to as many places and users as possible, today’s Internet marketer can make use of targeted approaches to online advertising to create a more efficient advertising model. One interesting example of this is indeed behavioral targeting.
What is Behavioral Targeting?
Behavioral targeting is marketing ads to individuals based in prior buying or surfing habits. When an Internet consumer comes to a website enabled with behavioral targeting code, the site analyzes prior habits and places relevant ads on the site based on those patterns.
To do this a special program is used that, like we mentioned, gains access to where the visitor has been before. The program then uses this information to generate ads on the site.
Why Is Behavioral Targeting Useful?
Psychologists know that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. People who like to buy state of the art stereo equipment over the Internet are unlikely to restrict their online purchases to floral bouquets anytime soon. If advertisers can find out what someone has bought or taken an interest in before, they know the right things to try to sell to them in the future.
Putting the same ads on the same pages for every viewer to a certain webpage is simply a missed opportunity. Just as car manufacturers advertise in car magazines and makeup vendors advertise in beauty magazines, Internet advertisers want to advertise to people who are interested in their products, which is just what behavioral targeting allows them to do.
What Are the Concerns About Behavioral Targeting?
There is an ethical question of whether recording and storing people’s buying and viewing practices and habits is an invasion of privacy. However, since only the practices and not the personal information of the individual are analyzed by the program, this is not as much of an issue as some people may believe.
Hence these programs generally function “blind,” that is to say, they take the pattern data and spit out ads as a result. Not only does this benefit the advertiser but in the end also the consumer. Rather than being bombarded with irrelevant banners and ad-messages website advertisements is tailored to fit our needs and desires. It’s a win-win!