You may be asking yourself, what exactly is behavioral targeting and how does it affect me as a marketer? I did a bunch of research and here’s what I found.
First, there are two different types of behavioral targeting, which are very different from each other. There is onsite behavioral targeting and network behavioral targeting. Both have their respective advantages and disadvantages. Onsite behavioral targeting is when a company collects data for a specific user only on their site. The company then takes the data they collect and uses it to post more relevant offers to that user while they’re on the site. For example, an eCommerce company knows the past purchase history of a customer, and offers complementary products when they return to their site.
Network behavioral targeting is when a company collects a user’s data across an unlimited number of Internet sites. This means that they track you no matter what site you’re on and then serve you ads and offers all over the Internet based on your past online activity. For example, you visit several different eCommerce sites in search of horse attire. Then when you go on to a site like Yahoo, you’d see ads related to horses; or, on a site like Ebay you’d only see content that relates to horse gear when you first hit the homepage.
Recently, there’s been a lot of concern among consumers about behavioral targeting. I’m not an expert, but it seems like onsite targeting is less invasive and creates less “ad noise.” I can see how some consumers see network behavioral targeting as an online stalker. To me, onsite behavioral targeting is like a sales person making suggestions to me.
Here are a couple articles I think are great for beginners to find out more about behavioral targeting and how marketers are utilizing it: