Behavioral targeting is a type of advertising that enables marketers to display relevant ads to each user based on their browsing behavior. It relies on search queries, pages viewed, buttons clicked, time spent on a website, etc.

In this article, we’ll tell you why companies use behavioral targeting, explain the difference between this type of advertising and contextual ads, and review some types.

Why is behavioral targeting important?

Since more and more brands go for a customer-orientated approach for their marketing strategy, behavioral targeting is just the thing they need. Contextual ads that were popular several years ago now give way to behavior-based ads.

Brands collect significant amounts of data about their customers and site visitors from different sources to use it to the advantage of both parties. With this information at hand, they craft highly personalized offers for each user based on:

  • pages they visit;
  • buttons, links, and content clicked;
  • items added to the shopping cart or a wishlist;
  • time spent on each page;
  • level of engagement;
  • previous search queries;
  • other interactions.

All these data can be collected via tracking pixels and cookies and then processed with data management platforms.

Behavior-based ads provide marketers with several advantages. Firstly, they drive a high number of clicks since users are shown items they have been interested in before. Secondly, this type of ad allows companies to convert site visitors into clients. It often takes a long time to walk a user down your sales funnel, so behavior targeting enables you to develop a relevant offer at the right place. Finally, this is an excellent opportunity to increase revenue.

Behavioral targeting is sometimes confused with contextual targeting, even though they are based on different approaches. Let’s take a closer look at them in comparison.

Contextual Targeting vs. Behavioral Targeting

While behavioral ads are based on users’ actions on your site, contextual ads are based on context and are placed on a page relevant to their content. The most important thing is that a banner should look natural for a user where they see them. For example, placing an ad promoting a travel agency on a travel blog or advertising kitchen utensils on a cooking blog is a perfect choice.

The choice of a site for an ad depends mainly on its topic and the keywords used. Every time a user clicks the ad, webmasters earn money.

Now that you know the difference between the two, let’s talk about behavioral targeting types.

Types of Behavioral Targeting

There are two types of behavioral targeting, which are onsite behavioral targeting and network behavioral targeting.

Onsite behavioral ads are placed on a particular website. They allow brands to discover the interests of their users and offer them the best solutions. This type of ad helps personalize and enhance user experience on a site. Collecting information about user behavior, their activities, and relevant attributes makes it possible to offer a user to take the next step. These ads are frequently used on home pages or product categories, where users can see products that can be interesting for them. This way, marketers slightly move prospects deeper into their site.

Network behavioral targeting requires collecting cookies and IP information but never any personal data like names, emails, and numbers. Algorithms interpret data about users’ interests and purchase intentions. Then, they’re divided into segments and shown personalized ads. For example, if a user views anti-age personal care products, an advertiser may assume that it is a female 30+ years old.

Behavioral targeting is widely used in email marketing and is called email retargeting. You can convert your site visitor who added an item to a shopping cart without buying into a client by sending them an abandoned cart email.

After users add a product to the shopping cart, they receive an email with a personal discount to buy it right now. This is an excellent opportunity to remind customers about the items they like and increase sales. Below you can see an example of such an email.

Abandoned cart email

You can send retargeting emails automatically and for free with SendPulse. Follow these three steps.

Congrats, now you know the benefits of behavioral targeting and its types and can increase sales right now with SendPulse Email Service.


  1. This article covers the types of behavioral advertising in more detail.
  2. This article explains how behavioral targeting works.
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