By Kate Lewis
Everyone has that one item they would die to own. Whether it be a car, a pair of shoes, or a picture-perfect house you only ever see in the movies. We spend hours searching for it on the internet, “pinning” it on our Pinterest page, and possibly even making the bold move and putting it into our shopping carts. However ultimately our self control overcomes us, and we cannot justify the action of pressing “Check Out.”
Not only do we watch as that item stays in our shopping carts, but for the few weeks following our search we see it on the side column of our Facebook page, in an advertisement on a different website, or even receive an email informing us that the item is still in fact in the cart (Like we didn’t know that already?) The internet knows exactly what we want and remembers it because marketers tailor web ads based on their customer’s behavior. This way they are able to know exactly who is interested in their product, and when they are eventually going to press the “check out” button.
This is the ultimate promise of behavioral targeting. 82% of internet users over the age 15 use social media, sharing their personal information and habits online. As defined in The Media of Mass Communication by John Vivian, behavioral targeting is using personal information and patterns in activities to match advertisements with potential customers. So all this personal internet trafficking can provide a lot of information. By using sophisticated set of software tools and analytics, algorithms are created that marketers use to their advantage. They can view what their consumers view, research, and exactly how close they come to making a purchase.
Three major components go in to the action of behavioral targeting; tracking and data collection, segmenting a user based on their online behavior, and connecting this data so that advertisements that target this customer based on their interests will show. Behaviroal targeting is so successful because it gives real-time relevance to the consumer.
Marketers, who also carry the title of advertsisers, rely on ad networks to perform the bahvioral targeting. These networks are technology companies that partner with websites in order to access information about visor traffic. Through these websites, “cookies” are dropped on consumers hard drives that keep track of their activity. The websites are also able to collect visitors’ IP addresses. All this together creates a portfoli of a customer, which a company can review and use ot see their like interests and Web surfing habits. Ad Networks sell access to these portfolios to marketers/advertisers.
Behavioral targeting is a cost-effective way of turning browsers into customers.Market research firm eMarketer projected that spenidng on behavior targeting would double to $1 billion in 2008 and hit $3.8 billion by 2011.