1) Ask for metrics. How large is the pool of people you'll be targeting? How engaged are they in the behavior you're paying for? Will your provider slice and dice the audience into custom verticals for you or are you buying into one of only a dozen preset behavioral pools?
“You need to know how engaged the people you are purchasing are,” said Eric Bosco, chief product and U.S. operations officer at Platform A, AOL's advertising business. “Are you purchasing someone who showed interest once in six months, or people who were [at a site] several times over the past few weeks?”
2) Mine your own search data. Your site should have a strong search engine that indexes every page, said Debby Richman, senior VP-marketing and business development at Collarity Inc., which provides behavioral content and ad targeting to Web publishers. This will allow you to see not only what people are searching for but exactly where they go and what they buy after clicking through to their intended page. “See what categories of interest are being expressed the most. Make sure you're marketing to them,” she said. Looking at search results will also show you changes or additions to keywords you might not expect or have optimized for your site, she added.
3) Make behavioral buys on community and social networking sites. B-to-b marketers are always looking to expand their often-limited reach, and buying behavioral placement on nontraditional sites is one way to do this, Richman said. “Find the sites you want, talk to them and they are probably going to be able to help you out,” she said.
4) Buy what your competitors would buy. Marketers have been doing it forever with search marketing—buying paid placement using their competitors' keywords, brands and product names. You can do the same when you buy display advertising on sites that your competition's customers visit after leaving their home pages, said NebuAd's Dykes. “Behavioral targeting companies can identify the folks who are showing loyalty to specific brands,” he said. “You'll want the creative to explain why your products are better than the other brand.”
5) Don't get too niche. Part of the appeal of behavioral marketing is that you can target very granularly, but Mike Benedek, VP-business development for AlmondNet, said that at least when you're doing search-based behavioral marketing, by getting too granular and focused, you're missing out on potential customers. So, for example, if you're selling Web servers, don't just target those people who searched for Web servers; target on the category level, which would be “infrastructure.” “The more targeted you get, the less scale and the fewer people you have to reach. Marketers should be somewhere in the middle,” he said.
6) Create custom creative. The best results come from ads that are created both for a behavior as well as the inventory your ad will be running on. This means that you may end up with many more ads than you are used to creating, Platform A's Bosco said.
7) Go serialized. Although most marketers set frequency caps for their display ads, you can actually get more of an impact by increasing frequency but changing the creative every time an ad is displayed.
“You can run a series of ads that explain the nature of your product,” agreed NebuAd's Dykes. “The first ad has no call to action; it's just educational. The second ad is more informative. The last one contains that call to action. You still want to limit how often you show the same ad to the same person, but a series of ads can be very powerful.”
8) Use e-mail whenever possible. If someone is registered on your site and logs in, you would be remiss if you didn't track their movements and follow up once they leave with an e-mail or phone call, said Jeff Walters, CMO of ClickSquared Inc., an interactive marketing provider. “If someone has a purchase history and you see them logging in a number of times, that should be a yellow flag to assume this person needs a little more stimulus,” he said. “That person might just need a little more information to help them get over the hump.”
9) Look to post-search behavioral marketing as a way to augment your paid spend. A well-placed display ad that relates to the keyword or phrase someone searched for may yield high return on investment, said Platform A's Bosco. “The combination of retargeting and search is going to get you highly qualified individuals, and the chances of conversion are higher at the end of the day,” he said. M