Everything You Need to Know About Behavioral Targeting

Everything You Need to Know About Behavioral Targeting 

Sonal Agrawal
Sonal Agrawal

Director of Growth, Airtory

Published on: 12 Jan 2023

Reading time: 5 minutes

The advertising and marketing landscape has changed dramatically in the world of digital marketing due to technological advancement across different sectors. For many years, companies have relied on traditional advertising methods to encourage consumers to make a purchase. It often takes a lot of time and effort to walk a user down the sales funnel if they are not apprised of a more personalized way of advertising. They spend time and resources on creating compelling broad-reach ads to capture the attention of their audience and turn them into buyers. While several advertisements succeed in amplifying brand visibility and creating a customer base, some fail to deliver the intended message to the audience and get desired results. The good news is that, with a more personalized approach, advertisers and marketers can boost audiences’ interest by catering to their specific interests through behavioral targeting advertising campaigns.

When you think about creating more relevant ad campaigns, personalization is one of the things that might cross your mind. Personalization is more than just doing business in today's digital marketing scenario. It builds brand awareness, boosts customer satisfaction, and makes people remember your brand. Sometimes, a brand may put a lot of effort into its product or service but miss the mark on personalization. When you make your business available to customers at every stage of the sales funnel, your brand becomes more relevant, ultimately leading them to become your potential customers in the long run.

What is Behavioral Targeting?

In the current digital marketing scenario, advertising is becoming more sophisticated in terms of reaching a new set of audiences with innovative targeting solutions. One of the biggest trendsetters in this area is behavioral targeting, which improves a brand’s bottom line by delivering a more relevant and efficient advertising experience to its consumers and prospects. Since more and more brands use a customer-oriented approach for their marketing campaigns, behavioral targeting is just what they need. Behavioral targeting is an ad builder platform that offers many benefits to advertisers, marketers, and consumers.

Behavioral targeting is a marketing technique that allows advertisers and marketers to collect and use data about users’ web behavior to show them the most relevant ads. In behavioral, retargeting also becomes easier for advertisers and marketers at large. Brands collect a pool of data about their customers’ behavior and site visitors from different sources to use it for the advantage of both parties. With this information handy, advertisers are able to create highly personalized experiences by relying on information like pages the user visits, buttons or links the user clicks, items added to their shopping cart, time spent on each page, etc. All these data are collected via website cookies and then processed with data management platforms. That way, advertisers can connect with prospects and customers who are most likely to make the purchase decision, engage with the app, or refer them to relevant other users. 

How Behavioral Targeting Works?

Behavioral targeting is all about tracking the users’ behavior online and collecting information from these behaviors called “cookies.” The behavioral targeting process involves three easy steps, collecting the data, sorting it, and delivering customized marketing messages to individual users. Here is a detailed look at how behavioral targeting works in three simple steps.

Data Collection

Data collection is the most crucial step involved in behavioral targeting. The more data sets are collected, the more successful a targeting campaign will be. Under this step, pieces of user behavior data are collected through sources like “website cookies” for website users and geographical locations for app users. The collected information is then stored on data management platforms or other Adtech platforms. After that, the collected data is then analyzed and used to create user engagements.


Segmentation is the second step, where the users are segmented based on their different browsing or purchasing behaviors in behavioral targeting. For example, if a group of users actively search for night creams, they will be segmented as one target group. On the other hand, if another group of users is interested in hiking equipment, they will be segmented as another target group. Without segmentation as one of the crucial steps, a behavioral advertisement cannot create personalized ad experiences.


The first two steps involved in behavioral targeting can be considered a preparation for the final step, which is targeting. Once the data is collected and relevant target groups are created, advertisers can create relevant ad campaigns and strategies for specific segments. Targeting not only adds a personalized touch to the marketing campaign, but it ultimately leads the customers to the sales funnel and encourages them to make a purchase.

Types of Behavioral Targeting

Behavioral targeting is a broad notion, as this type of targeting deals with enormous amounts of data that must be segmented accurately. Hence, behavioral targeting is divided into two main types, which are explained briefly below.

Onsite Behavioral Targeting

As the name suggests, onsite is a type of behavioral targeting where the information about the user behavior is gathered from the entire website. This type of behavioral targeting for advertising stands as an example of why personalized ad experiences are important and ultimately lead users through the sales funnel. Onsite behavioral targeting allows the users to have a more personalized website experience by displaying ads according to the behavioral patterns observed from other pages of the same website. The same statistics can then be used to decide what kind of ads should be shown to the users and which should not. This way, advertisers and marketers can move their prospects deeper into their websites. Personalized ad experiences improve user engagement and ultimately lead to a better conversion rate.

Network Behavioral Targeting

Sometimes, onsite behavioral targeting may not always provide desired results. In that case, advertisers and marketers switch to alternative methods that can offer them a wider look at user behaviors. Such an alternative can be found in the second type of behavioral targeting, which is network behavioral marketing. This type collects data through online cookies and IP addresses and then sorts the users into distinct categories without tracking their personal information like their name, address, and phone numbers. Algorithms can determine a user’s age, potential purchasing choice, and gender through network behavioral targeting. This type of behavioral targeting enables networks to craft highly personalized campaigns that users are most likely to click on.

While many factors contribute to the success of an ad campaign, one of the most important factors is communicating with the right audience, where behavioral targeting stands crucial. Conveying your message to the wrong audience can result in failing to deliver your message that could convert or engage consumers. Today, random marketing techniques are just a thing of the past, and advertisers are looking for more personalized ad experiences for better ROIs. Advances in behavioral tracking and better ways for collecting powerful datasets have enabled advertisers and marketers to boost conversion rates and drive more engagement through retargeting ads in the present digital marketing scenario. 

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