4 Reasons Publishers Love Behaviorally-Targeted Content

March 3, 2014

As a publisher, you’re hearing a lot about the value of data—and we’ve certainly waxed poetic about the virtues of deep data, in particular.  Essentially, you have more capability than ever to understand your audience and cater to their needs. 

Much of the industry hype comes from increased ability to track consumer behavior and the ability to deliver advertising based on each reader's behavior.  But along with this hype comes a lot of debate related to privacy and some skepticism around effectiveness—recent studies show that the use of 3rd party cookies may not bring in the ROI once believed. 

We all know that the face of advertising is changing, and it will take some time for successful contemporary models to emerge and take hold. So, let’s step away from it for a time and think about other ways to drive revenue on your website: 

Behavioral targeting is the ability to deliver content in response to how readers interact with your website. But, it’s more than that. In an ideal world (and with a strong Enterprise Publishing System) this content is based not only on deep data that is gathered about your readers, but also leveraged with contextual delivery alongside all types of content that you offer.  The result is a dynamic reader experience, where each reader is exposed to resources based on personal preferences. 

The bottom line is, behavioral targeting isn’t just for ads—and in fact, behaviorally-targeted content, if deftly created and applied, can bring a wealth of benefits to readers and publishers alike. It’s not just about data, it’s also about action. 

How Behaviorally Targeted Content Benefits Publishers

  1. You Engage Customers and Create Loyalty. When you serve up content that is relevant to an article being read, or suggests a related product at a step in the purchase process, you're providing information that meets defined reader needs at the time that they need it.  This method is less intrusive than most advertising, it keeps readers engaged and builds a relationship of trust -- one that ultimately needs to loyalty. Loyalty leads to more return visits, sharing, time on site and purchase activities - for you to acheive higher Revenue per Reader (RPR). 
  2. You Learn to Think More Like Your Customers. We’ve all heard it: don’t treat people like you want to be treated, treat them like they want to be treated. When you focus on creating content that speaks to your readers, based on their behaviors and preferences, you are deepening your knowledge of what they are looking for. Putting yourself in their shoes gives you insight that can turn into revenue—with a windfall of content ideas coming from the epiphanies you have when you realize the specific needs of certain segments of your audience. For example, reader interaction with a particular blog series can spawn an idea for an event, and suddenly your readers are conference attendees. 
  3. You Gain New Customers. When you build content around patterns of behavior that emerge from your data, you are more effectively targeting segments of your audience. But your audience is only a small representation of a category of consumers. When your content becomes that much more targeted, you are likely to attract readers that fall into that category, but who have not yet come across your content. 
  4. You Increase the Value of Existing Customers. If you are leveraging your data effectively, you already have a good idea of which customers are likely to purchase—and you can trigger purchase decisions with paywalls and metered content. You are able to further segment your higher value customers, based on what they are reading and when and how they are interacting with existing content. When you create content specific to those segments, you'll engage them more and keep them around longer.  You'll also learn more about the nuances of their needs and interests, which inform the your content and offers specific to those needs and interests.  As readers begin to buy more, you'll see Revenue per Reader - and ROI - to justify the investment in behavioral data. 

Stay tuned! In our next post, we’ll talk about how Behaviorally-Targeted Content benefits your readers.