Why Performance Marketers Should Increase Focus on Behavioral Data

Audience behavioral data has always been a valuable tool for marketers. Keeping track of audience behavior on your website can tell you a lot about which traffic sources and content pieces are most valuable when it comes to driving leads and ultimately conversions.

Now first-party behavioral data is just the beginning. Performance marketers can use behavioral data from second-party sources (e.g. other websites) and third-party sources (e.g. other publishers and platforms) to inform marketing decision-making. Here, we take a look at five important ways you can use behavioral data for better performance marketing today:  

1. Improve the Customer Journey with Behavioral Data 

Most performance marketers keep track of audience behavioral data on their website, tracking clicks, pages visited, past purchases, etc. However, there’s a wealth of other valuable data from your audience’s behavior around the web that can help you build better customer experiences.

Today’s path to purchase includes numerous touchpoints at different stages of the customer journey. Consumers switch between multiple platforms and devices when researching products and making purchase decisions. Tracking audience behavior across all relevant touchpoints makes it possible to understand key points in the customer journey and optimize them. 

Look at online versus offline marketing, for example. Businesses can utilize online marketing to drive offline goals, such as engagement, purchases, and improving brand loyalty. This is only possible, though, if you analyze consumer behavioral data both online and off. Using the right analytical tools, it’s possible to integrate online behavioral data with offline data from your point of sales service, client call center, and other sources. Many retailers can even use beacons to track offline buying patterns, then use these insights to inform online marketing decisions. 

2. Deliver a Personalized Marketing Experience 

Today, personalization isn’t just good marketing, it’s mandatory if you want your business to succeed. According to a recent SmarterHQ report, 72% of consumers say they only engage with marketing messages that are personalized to their interests. 

Keeping better track of when and how leads interact with your business gives opportunities to deliver a more personalized marketing experience. Tracking what content they consume, which emails they’re opening and looking at, which webinars they attend, and how much time they’re spending on these activities can help marketers develop a better strategy to target them based on their interests.

For example, say some leads for a travel company mostly consume content related to vacationing in South America. They could segment and deliver remarketing ads and email content customized to that interest. 

3. Increase Sales with Relevant Recommendations

Behavioral data can be used in many ways to help performance marketers increase sales. For one, consumer online behavior can help businesses understand what kind of products or services they’re shopping for. Then they can deliver specific content that speaks to those needs. For example, an eCommerce customer that has purchased baby-related products could be interested in toddler clothing a year down the road. Forward-thinking performance marketers could segment and market the right products to consumers using their past purchase information. 

It’s also possible to drive more product sales using the behavioral data of other shoppers to better target new site visitors. Amazon does this all the time by recommending related products:

Amazon uses behavioral data to recommend related items
Amazon uses behavioral data to recommend related items

The majority of marketers today only focus on targeting user intent when personalizing content. However, shoppers often don’t really know what they want to buy until it’s suggested to them. Using consumer behavioral data to recommend products gives audiences an idea of what other people are buying (social proof) and gives businesses opportunities to drive new product sales they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

4. Improve Retention By Optimizing Your Customer Experience

The same behavioral data that can be used to drive more sales also helps businesses improve retention. One of the biggest factors that affects churn is customer experience. What a lot of marketers don’t realize is that customers themselves rarely report on customer experience issues. According to analyst Esteban Kolsky, only 1 in 26 customers complain before leaving a business:

Only 1 in 26 customers complain about their experience
Only 1 in 26 customers complain about their experience

So, the best way to identify customer experience issues and fix them is by looking at behavioral data. Businesses in the software space, for example, have a wealth of behavioral data that can help them understand potential customer experience issues. Say customers tend to cancel their subscription after trying to integrate certain software features into their website: this could mean the installation process is too complicated for users to manage. 

CRM and customer service data can also provide a lot of insights if analyzed together. While most customers will never complain or post negative reviews about a business before leaving, many will file support tickets with a customer service department. Issues discussed in support tickets can often be linked back to why a customer left the business. These insights, though, are only possible if you analyze CRM and customer service data in one place. 

5. Maximize the Value of Your Marketing Investment 

Performance marketers that focus on behavioral data can also use insights to better allocate their marketing and sales investment. There are lots of ways audience behavioral data can inform your strategies. Look at lead scoring, for example. This is a metric sales teams use to prioritize leads so they can focus on ones that are most likely to convert and bring in a lot of revenue. A lead score is calculated based on demographic and behavioral data – how the lead interacts with a business.

Many CRM systems have their own algorithms to automatically score leads based on this data: 

Example: use behavioral data for lead scoring
Example: use behavioral data for lead scoring

Using nuanced behavioral data for lead scoring helps ensure businesses don’t waste marketing and sales investment on low-value leads that are less likely to convert. 

Tracking the behavior of your current customers can also help businesses predict the value of future customers. You can focus on the demographics and behaviors of your highest value customers, then develop a strategy to target and acquire more leads that exhibit similar characteristics. 

It’s easy for performance marketers to take advantage of behavioral data insights to target the right audiences and optimize your marketing investment. Existing advertising platforms include numerous features that help marketers target audiences based on behavior. Examples include: 

  • Google Ads in-market audiences
  • Google Ads remarketing 
  • Facebook retargeting
  • Google Similar Audiences 
  • Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Businesses can also make manual changes to their ad targeting strategy based on behavioral data insights. For example, say a chain of brick-and-mortar businesses discover customers are much more likely to search for products and make a purchase in-store in three cities. They could use these insights to increase bids on local search ads in those specific areas. 

Wrapping Up

Most businesses today use some form of behavioral data to inform marketing decision-making. However, only a few take full advantage of the different types of behavioral data to improve their marketing efforts. Gaining more behavioral insights and putting them into action is an essential strategy for businesses that want to stay competitive long term.

Courtney Danyel

Courtney Danyel is a business writer covering digital marketing, marketing technology, techniques, and related topics. She has 8 years of experience as a professional writer and content marketing expert.

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