The Microscopic Take on Behavioral Targeting and Why It’s Important

Posted on May 17, 2013 by Nikhil P Naik

You’ve probably encountered a scenario while shopping online before where you were presented with a product recommendation of an item you were intending to buy but hadn’t yet picked up. The convenience this afforded you has resulted in time saved that would otherwise be sent browsing through a site looking for it, and the retailer earned a sale to push their revenue up further.

If this situation seems familiar to you, it’s because it’s the result of behavioral targeting.

Behavioral Targeting 2

Brief Introduction to Behavioral Targeting

Behavioral targeting is a set of techniques that are utilized by advertising networks, online publishers, and content providers to display relevant ads and targeted information to their site visitors.

When a user first visits a website that uses behavioral targeting technologies, information such as the pages they visit, the time they spend on each page, and the links they click on are recorded. How they respond to the content as well as their interactions with others are also noted. Based on this data, a profile is then generated for the user.

Behavioral Targeting in Action

You’ll often see behavioral targeting used by e-Commerce websites and online retailers for product recommendations. In addition to these sites, blogs and content sites use it to display custom-tailored articles that interest the viewer. This works in instilling interest in your website and growing a fan base, as users are likely to come back when they realize relevant information will be shown.

Behavioral Targeting and Improving Conversions

Behavioral targeting increases conversions by giving your site visitors more of what they want to see or read about. Most sites have sections delegated for dynamic content. This space is where highly targeted content is displayed—be it product suggestions, a list of article recommendations, or a relevant ad.

On-Site Behavioral Targeting

There are two ways that behavioral targeting can be applied: onsite behavioral targeting and network behavioral targeting.

Onsite network targeting is commonly used by e-Commerce sites and online retailers. If your goal is to increase site conversions and enhance the user experience, it applies to online applications as well. The first phase of the process involves the creation of generalized user profiles from information that has been pulled from the site’s visitors. Each profile will have a set of preferences and specifications associated with it. New users who visit the site will then be segregated into one of the profiles and have targeted content displayed for the duration of their site visit.

This technique can also be applied through the use of self-learning behavioral targeting engines, which provide relevant content in real time as the user browses through the site.

Network Behavioral Targeting

The second type of behavioral targeting, network behavioral targeting, is commonly used by ad servers and those who deal with larger groups of people. The large size of the user base means they are able to generate an approximate demographic makeup for the users on the sites in their network. Once the makeup has been determined, only ads that are relevant to the site’s audience will be displayed.

Both types of behavioral targeting are often used simultaneously to optimize both the site content and the ads that are being served.


Here we come to the epilogue of what an in-depth take on behavioral targeting is and I hope that the lesson has come across as helpful to those internet marketers old and new. I’ve said it a million times in a lot of my articles, but if you do not test after the large amount of traffic you’re getting to your website, then you might as well just base your career on pure luck. However, if you want to take control over how much success you can achieve, then NEVER STOP TESTING!

Getting a large amount of traffic is only half the battle, but knowing how to improve your website and target your demography is crucial and that is especially true if you’re running a very broad topic on your website. Google also loves updates and you should always know that testing will require you to make changes and a lot of times those changes can get you closer to massive success if you don’t give up and know what you’re doing.

Do you have any suggestions about behavioral targeting methods? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author: This is a guest article from Ruben Corbo, which writes for several different topics including music, internet marketing, and digital art technology. For more information on behavioral targeting you can go to and read their guide which provides a lot more in depth explanation on behavioral targeting as well as other web analytics aspects for your business.

About Nikhil P Naik

Nikhil Naik has a Master's Degree in Information Systems, and is currently working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. He also loves playing cricket, listening to music, and traveling. Twitter Handle - @buzz_nikhil.

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