Online marketers use behavioral targeting to best select which ads or content to show to consumers based on previous actions with web browsers and website interaction. Typically, the most valuable behaviors to capture are those related to searches conducted with browsers and actual visits to websites. Based on what users are looking for and/or at, online marketers adjust and select what content would be most appealing to these users before they are shown.
To accomplish this, a visitor’s web browser stores information related to when a site was visited, how long the visitor stayed on each page, what web elements they interacted with, what links are selected, etc. These captured behaviors become a user’s “profile,” and websites access this information when the same user visits similar sites in the future.
The prevailing theory with behavioral targeting (also called “audience targeting”) is that marketers increase their click-through rate when they show ads that are most relevant to their visitors. As such, they can use these profiles with other critical data, such as demographics, to increase their overall conversion rate.