Behavioral Targeting

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Behavioral targeting uses information collected from an individual’s web-browsing behavior (e.g., the pages that they have visited or searched) to select advertisements to display”.[1]

When a consumer visits a web site, the pages they visit, the amount of time they view each page, the links they click on, the searches they make, and the things that they interact with, allow sites to collect that data, and other factors, to create a ‘profile’ that links to that visitor’s web browser. As a result, site publishers can use this data to create defined audience segments based upon visitors that have similar profiles.

Those profiles can be used to allow advertisers to position their online ads in on the screen and in front of those visitors who exhibit a greater level of interest and intent for the products and services being offered. Behavioral targeting has emerged as one of the main technologies used to increase the efficiency and profits of digital advertisements, as media providers are able to provide individual users with highly relevant advertisements. On the theory that properly targeted ads will fetch more consumer interest.
Behavioral marketing can be used on its own or in conjunction with other forms of targeting based on factors like geography, demographics or contextual web page content (list of Facebook’s “Detailed Targeting” options[2]). It’s worth noting that many practitioners also refer to this process as “audience targeting”.

Major advantages of Behavioral marketing are that it will help in reaching consumers with affinity, reach consumers that were not exposed to a media campaign, contact consumers close to conversion and in reconnecting with prospects or customers. It is inexpensive, trackable and, IT WORKS!

8 Visual Content Marketing Trends for 2017

Visual content, done well, can be incredibly popular. Infographics, videos, data visualizations, and other forms of visual content can generate tons of engagement and attract links to your site.

More importantly, visuals help tell your story. Visual content can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool, one that helps your target audience remember you – better than a 1,000 word text article alone (no matter how great it is) ever could.

Here’s what’s trending in visual content marketing for 2017, according to a survey of 300 online marketers from Venngage, a platform that helps you create free infographics.

1. Visual Content Usage is Growing

In 2016, 53 percent of marketers said they published content containing visuals between 91 and 100 percent of the time. That was an increase of 130 percent from 2015, up from 40.5 percent.

What it means: People pretty much expect visual content all the time. So give it to them – or else people may move on if they’re greeted with nothing but text content.

2. Stock Photos Rule

Stock photos are the most popular form of visual content, used by 35 percent of the survey. Original graphics, including infographics, were used 30 percent of the time. Other forms of somewhat popular visual content: videos and presentations (15 percent); charts and data visualizations (14 percent); and GIFs and memes (5 percent).

What it means: While stock photography is a fine option, it can also lead to having incredibly boring pictures, or pictures that people have already seen dozens of times before. If you use stock photos, use wisely. And how is video usage that low still?

 3. Infographics Get the Most Engagement

Infographics (and other original graphics) had the highest engagement, according to the survey. Even though stock photos are used the most, they don’t generate much engagement (just a measly 7 percent). Charts and data visualizations performed decently (25.7 percent), as did videos and presentations (20 percent), while GIFs and memes performed best 5 percent of the time.

What it means: Use original graphics whenever possible, and use more charts, data visualizations, videos, and presentations whenever possible. Also don’t be afraid to show a little humor/personality with funny GIFs and memes – these can get tons of engagement on social media.

(Fittingly, Venngage turned their survey into an infographic; check it out at the bottom of this post.)

4. Marketers Don’t Spend Much Time Making Visuals

The overwhelming majority of marketers (71 percent) spend less than five hours a week making visuals, according to the survey. Meanwhile, 17 percent spent between 5 and 15 hours, and 11 percent spent more than 15 hours a week producing visual content.

What it means: There is no “right” amount of time to spend here. You have to do what gives you the most return on your investment. If you’re spending too much time on graphics and not getting a return, then cut back; but if your visuals aren’t generating any interest, maybe try spending a little more time to make them more interesting or compelling.

5. Marketers Prefer DIY Tools

Graphic design tools were the favorite choice for 46 percent of marketers. For the remainder, 30 percent used an in-house designer and 24.1 percent used a freelancer designer.

What it means: It depends. If you honestly have the skills do create nice-looking images yourself using graphic design software or tools, then do it. But if not, find someone good, whether it’s in-house or freelance, who can create interesting visuals that generate engagement.

6. Consistency is a Huge Challenge

Creating visual content is hard – but the biggest challenge is consistently creating engaging visuals, according to 36 percent of the surveyed marketers. Three other big challenges cited: being able to product well-designed visuals (29 percent); reaching a wider audience (24 percent); and finding reliable and interesting data (10 percent).

What it means: These challenges are real. So if you’re going to use visual content, you need talent/creativity, data (original research/stats, ideally), and a content strategy. All these pieces won’t guarantee your success, but they will greatly increase your odds.

7. Visual Content is ‘Absolutely Necessary’

Yes, 60 percent of marketers believe visual content is essential to their 2017 marketing strategy, while 31 percent said it was very important and 5 percent said it was important. As for the 2 percent who think it’s somewhat important or unimportant – what the hell, guys?

What it means: Visuals matter to marketers, because people respond to them. So if you’re still an unbeliever, it’s time to get out of the stone ages!

8. Visual Content = Less Than 20% of Budgets

What percentage of their marketing budget was spent on producing visual content in 2016? For 56 percent of marketers, that number was 20 percent or less.

What it means: If it’s done right, visual content can be incredibly valuable for months or even years, bringing in prospects, leads, and new customers. Perhaps consider a bit more time and budget to create better visual content and more of it in 2017.

Real-Time Creative Optimization Will Come To Native Advertising

Watch For These 3 Trends We Are Predicting to Breakthrough in 2017…

Native optimization goes “on-demand” with better research and creative tools:  

Native ads are comprised of dynamic, changeable parts and brands will want to optimize their creative assets while it still matters, instead of waiting for next year’s campaign. This speaks to the need for real-time creative optimization, or dynamic creative optimization.

Consumers read native headlines, even if they don’t click on them. It’s going to become important for brands to understand the true influence of their native ad copy decisions quickly—beyond mere clicks—and make adjustments to them while campaigns are still running. This means that this year, we’ll start to see a much more fluid collaboration between the people making the creative, the people studying the impact of that creative, and the platforms that the creative assets are running through. The entire process is speeding up and entering an on-demand era. 

In-feed native video becomes a premium video category for mobile:

Native video has proven itself as an incredibly powerful way for a brand to drive efficient video views and boost awareness of specific messages with accompanying headlines. Research has shown that brands can increase brand lift, message recall, and purchase intent in just seven seconds. This trend has combined with a general explosion in mobile video watching, especially among younger audiences, and has led to an overall increase in liquidity in the native video market. With the pipes in place for native video to be traded programmatically, this is bound to be a burgeoning area in 2017. Video will become the default setting for native advertising before too long. 

Creative strategy fully embraces the silent autoplay era on mobile:

According to the Martin Agency, 94% of the video ads it places on Facebook are viewed silently. Silent autoplay video has become such a dominant audience experience, both on and off Facebook, that a modern creative approach demands these elements be integrated into the experience. Brands have an “attention audition” now with silent autoplay video. Captions need to impart crucial information to people who scroll through the feed, and entice people to click through and watch the compete video. This year, I expect we’re going to see a much more sophisticated pairing of copy via captions—headlines and descriptions—which will increase the brand impact for people watching on silent autoplay

2017: An Exciting Time for Research Suppliers and Clients Alike

1)   Marketing spending will continue to move mobile.

As ad spending continues to target Millennial and Centennial consumers, the focus will be on mobile and video – where these generations are plugged in constantly. These types of advertisements require us to rethink current models of ad testing and incorporate newer technology that can track and monitor how the younger generations respond to advertising on mobile devices.

Location-based marketing will likely see a huge increase this year. Consumers, especially younger consumers, have developed the ability to effectively ignore marketing that does not directly apply to them. Successful brands and retailers will incentivize engagement with brands through personalized marketing that catch the consumer in their immediate reality (time and place). Consumers appreciate the personalized touch of location-based coupons and sale announcements. Continuing to understand how consumers use mobile while in stores or while out walking around will be a big focus of experience-based research this year, which leads to our next trend.

2)   Brands will increase efforts to measure the experiencing-self of consumers.

As brands increase efforts to measure the experiencing- self of consumers along with the remembering-self of consumers that has traditionally been measured, integrating the two becomes critical. Research methodologies like monitoring and ethnography need to be paired with data from survey research to better understand the full picture of what is going on with consumers.

3)   The new shopping landscape is “buy anything, anywhere.”

Consumers want immediacy and they want everything custom tailored. Older retail models that don’t buy into anytime anywhere are severely challenged in the new marketplace.

The new three-dimensional structure of buying channels requires a more robust research initiative into the various ways people consume in the “buy anything, anywhere” age. Consumers do price comparisons in stores, and then buy online. Conversely, some consumers decide on purchases online and have groceries delivered or have their goods delivered to their car curbside at Target.

4)   Big data keeps getting bigger.

Storage is cheap; processing is cheap – so cheap in fact that companies are able to house and store massive amounts of data for very little cost. Data collection devices have increased the pace of data creation, IBM estimates 90% of the data in world has been created in the last 2 years. Every transaction, every event imaginable is being logged and recorded. The silos between the data are being destroyed and with the adoption of Hadoop and NoSQL databases, storing, accessing, and combining vast amounts of data while still challenging is a tractable problem.

Big Data represents an enormous challenge for market research, which is historically based on comparably smaller, point of time data sets. While Big Data is certainly a disruptor that the industry is fully aware of, it also represents a tremendous opportunity for researchers to incorporate real insights from huge datasets with a wealth of information. When this information is shared, incorporating this performance data into research initiatives not only provides deeper context, but a more well-rounded story.

5)   As video consumption increases, so does ad spending.

Every statistic about video consumption is on the rise and shows no sign of slowing. YouTube boasts that partner revenue and the number of channels earning six figures on YouTube are up 50% year over year. Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime continue to create compelling content that competes with the traditional networks.

Sure, video is important to consumers, but it’s also key for marketers and advertisers. The Online Publishers Association reports that four of five Internet users recall watching a video ad on a website they visited in the last 30 days. The majority of senior executives state they’d rather watch a video than read written text, according to Forbes Insight. Measuring engagement with video, particularly on mobile devices, is key to understanding its effectiveness on the target audience.

This year looks to be an exciting time for research suppliers and clients alike. As consumers expect a more tailored experience what they watch and how they shop both online and in store, the research providing deep insights into the consumer world will need to be flexible, customizable, and focused on the experiencing-self of customers. Continuing to find new ways to incorporate new technology while creating a cohesive story from a full range of research offerings is now more important than ever.  That’s why we work directly with business owners and their marketing teams to ensure that your business is seen, heard and relevant! 

How to save advertising dollars…


Advertising and Marketing is a Top 5 expense for nearly all successful businesses.  Yet, most business owners, marketing managers and quite frankly, ad agencies, waste tens of thousands of dollars quarterly in their advertising campaign.  If you answer “No” to any of the questions below, you are wasting valuable dollars in your ad campaign.

  •  Are you composing and analyzing both qualitative and quantitative research with each media vendor to match up the most efficient programming with your target demographic?
  • Are you negotiating HUT levels, shares and ratings with your TV buys?  (All three must be negotiated to ensure proper efficiencies.)
  • Are you pulling radio station rating rankers for your demographic in each market that you’re advertising in?
  • Are you buying exact time periods with radio?  (Buying spots per week as a broad rotator is generally a bad idea.)
  • Are you getting 30%, or more, in added value or bonus with your paid media schedules?
  • Are you negotiating exact ratings per time period with radio and TV?  If so, are you then posting your schedules quarterly and holding stations accountable to audience delivery afterwards?
  • Are monitoring ad fraud in your digital campaign?
  • Is your digital campaign customized to each aspect of your business?  For example, if someone goes to a website for a university to get more information on online degree programs for nursing, but doesn’t fill out an application, is that university re-targeting Nursing Online Degree Programs back to that user?  You can insert any business.  You should be re-targeting back to people who visit your website with customized messaging highlighting what, exactly, they came to your website to learn more about.
  • -Are you composing your digital campaign based on behavioral, contextual and geo-fencing?
  • -Do you track and analyze which key words in your digital campaign are searched the most?  And then adjust accordingly?