Driving people to websites is still the main objective of most marketing campaigns, and why not, surely that’s the end goal of all marketing.

But what happens to people, once they get to the target site seems to be less important to many campaigns, as is the measurability of those converting from prospects to customers once they arrive.

It’s about customers, content and profit

On average over 80% of a typical marketing budget is wasted as this is the percentage of customers that arrive on a site, can’t find what they want, and leave to go through another route, usually your competitor.

If you present information to a customer that matches what they are looking for, they will get through your site quickly and easily. Bearing in mind that many customers don’t complete their tasks on their first visit, presenting them with content that matches their previous visits to your site will, again, ensure their tasks are completed as easily as possible.

When prospects are presented with content that targets their behaviour, without it being intrusive, they are much more likely to become customers, and existing customers are much more likely to be loyal and therefore profitable.

One site fits all

The cost of creating micro-sites and campaign sites, that have short life spans, is hard to justify, particularly when a company has invested a large amount in a single, main site that should meet everyone’s needs.

Behavioural targeting allows you to customise a site to meet both a customer's needs and those of the business. For example, a financial firm running a campaign to sell a new product or rate will probably feature this on the homepage hero space. However, other campaigns are running at the same time and need that space too, so either five of them share, on rotation, with a 20% chance of being seen, or compete altogether and get lost.

The customers route to the site, in relation to the campaign for example , 'Eurodutch bank low rate mortgage at 2.8%', is likely to be through a search engine, through a term like 'Eurodutch mortgages'.

A user following the search results would either be taken  to a microsite, through paid search, or to the homepage, through natural SEO. Microsites are out, too costly as we know, and the homepage has some information on this campaign but it’s battling for space with insurance, savings and investments.

Behavioural targeting allows the site to dynamically change the homepage to show content on the new mortgage, effectively acting as a microsite,  and because we know where the customer is in the country, also up-sell home insurance, as our data from CRM and collected online, shows the majority of new customers in this region are likely to buy both together.

The same technique can be applied to people coming from banners and affiliate links, or email newsletters and viral campaigns. In fact it can be used for anyone coming in from any route, including Facebook, Twitter, blogs and texts.

Learned behaviour

Tracking and understanding what an individual is doing on your site allows you to speak to them directly when they come back, targeting content based on what they looked at, searched for or did on your site.

Presenting additional benefits for a specific product, on the homepage, to someone who has looked at that mortgage on the site before, along with a comparison chart of competitor products and an application form is much more likely to convert them as opposed to making them hunt through the site to find it on their own.

This learned behaviour can also be used to understand how wider groups of customers are using the site and create delta segments, where a wider set of behaviours are used to present content to first time users.

For example, customers coming in to a travel site from affiliates such as newspaper promotions will often group based on the quality of the paper. For instance, Daily Mail readers are more likely to be women and after more of a bargain then Times readers.

However, this profile is based on a very wide audience segmentation presented by each newspaper and may well not reflect the type of user that has linked to the travel site.

The solution is to track, over time, where customers are coming from and what they are looking at then buying, then use this data to customise the homepage accordingly. This approach will give instant uplift in sales without presuming to know what the customers want and can be applied to time of day, geo-location and a range of other metrics that to date have been difficult or impossible to attain.

Chris Averill

Published 13 March, 2009 by Chris Averill

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Comments (6)

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Thank you for this new post :) really useful!

over 9 years ago



Driving visitors and Conversion is the goal I think.

over 9 years ago



Good content. Just wanted to add some points here that may be helpful for those looking out for professional SEO services.  There are tons of SEO companies offering different SEO packages and solutions at highly competitive rates. However, when  looking our for these services, its important to not only look at the affordability factor but also what is unique about their SEO  service and what differentiates them from other companies.

While choosing an SEO company its equally important to analyze the SEO company's website in terms of their Rankings,  Yahoo links, Google index, Alexa ranking and similar such factors which indicates the company's expertise in the field of SEO.  So make sure you are doing enough research and smart work before investing your advertising spend.

over 9 years ago


Steve Farquhar, Senior Consultant at Marketing Databasics

Good post Chris! The principles are just the same as any type of behavioural direct marketing...it just happens to be on the web thus certain technological hurdles need to be overcome. It's more of a 2 way dialogue than traditional media though because regular activity data can be collected to understand the visitors needs and this can then be used to alter content as required.  I think it's important in this that the online world makes a distinction between existing customers and anonymous visitors. Who is most important in terms of their experience on the website and who does your organisation hold most data on - a loyal customer who visits your website regularly or an anonymous visitor? Do you know any company that's doing behavioural targeting really well?

over 9 years ago



Chris, you mention that behavioral targeting is a much better way to segment the visitors to your site. Everyone agrees. How do you propose to make your homepage dynamic in the sense that it knows where people are coming from? If you are trying to offer a solution that doesn't use microsites (landing pages) then you might want to be more specific about how a person would go about implementing that new solution. Reference how to actually implement the new solution.

over 9 years ago

Lara Slyfield

Lara Slyfield, Marketing at Intellitracker Limited

In terms of very comprehensive BT have a look at these guys;

about 7 years ago

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