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What Is Behavioral Marketing And How Can You Use It?

When it comes to online marketing, there are many different strategies that can be used, but what about Behavioral Marketing?
Aaron Drotts

Digital Marketing Specialist, Intertek Alchemy

What is behavioral marketing? Behavioral marketing in its most basic definition is the process in which companies gather information through web-based user data, in order to create a marketing strategy to maximize revenue and growth. It’s important to note that when it comes to consumer behavior, for both businesses interested in understanding what makes their consumers tick and customers who want to understand how they get targeted, the more knowledge about the specific person or group of people you have, the better off you are. In recent years behavioral marketing has been an especially hot topic because of new technological advancements within analytics tools from Google Analytics down to online survey applications such as SurveyMonkey.

Where Should You Start?

As a website owner or business owner, there are a variety of ways that your company can begin to approach the world of behavioral marketing. First and foremost, if you do not have a website to begin with, then starting your foray into web analytics and behavioral marketing is going to be much harder than if you already had a site that was collecting information about its users. Once you establish a site and can get data from it (assuming at least some traffic), one of the easiest methods of understanding how consumers interact on your site is through Google Analytics, which for all intents and purposes, is free. Once it’s in place, you’ll get immediate statistical feedback based on user input such as time spent on the page and where they went next.

Within Google Analytics, you can begin to drill down into the statistics provided by selecting certain variables that may be important to your industry. For example, if you are in retail, one of the most important metrics is going to be returning visitors and returning customers because it’s estimated at least 75% of online shopping carts are abandoned by consumers; this means browsers who enter your site but do not make a purchase. Thus having information on where they went next (i.e., did they go back to their original search engine or did they socialize through certain websites) will help you craft better marketing strategies for increasing consumer confidence. The same idea applies to PPC ads; if someone clicks on an ad for your website but does not return, it is important to be able to figure out why they did not return. If you are selling computers, perhaps your ad was accidentally clicked on by someone searching for “cars.”

Another way to gather information through Google Analytics is through the use of events tracking. Basically, this means you can designate certain pages of your site that have important actions on them (i.e., a certain page where users enter their credit card number and shipping address if they’re buying something). The purpose of using events tracking is to be able to see how many people went from one event or action (i.e., clicking on an ad) and then ended up completing another action which caused you as a company (whether it’s increased revenue or increased brand awareness) to gain something in return.

Beyond Google Analytics, there are a variety of other resources at your disposal such as online surveys and focus groups that can help you further analyze information on how consumers behave. For example, if you run an eCommerce site similar to Amazon then it is probably in your best interest (and in the best interest of your consumers) to know what they like and what they do not like about your website in the hopes of making improvements based on actual consumer input will drive up sales. Other applications such as SurveyMonkey have been used by big brands such as PepsiCo to get feedback from their customers on specific new marketing campaigns through online survey forms which ask questions ranging from “What did you think of our ad?” or “Would you purchase our new flavor?”

Additionally, there are a range of other tools available to help web marketers and website owners increase visibility, conversion rates, brand awareness, etc. One such tool is utilizing screendoor.com as an additional resource for analyzing your analytics data in addition to Google Analytics. Screendoor allows you to create a “screen door” under which you can see data from actual consumers who have interacted with your site before going on their merry way. This helps businesses understand how well they performed by allowing them access to consumer input on their experience interacting with the company or product.


When it comes to online marketing, there are many different strategies that can be used. What’s great about behavioral marketing is the potential for success with less effort. Companies who want their messages to resonate more powerfully will now have a whole new set of tools they can use to help them improve their behavioral marketing strategies. Which strategy do you think would work best?

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