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The digital marketing glossary > B > What is Behavioral targeting definition?

What is Behavioral targeting definition ?

Behavioral targeting is, in the context of digital marketing, the practice of using individuals’ web-browsing histories for targeting practices. Interests, projects and life situations are deduced from past online activities.

Visitors’ behaviors can be tracked within a unique website or across a network of websites thanks to cookies.

Behavioral tracking within a unique website is used for audience extension and retargeting campaign. In the latter case, initial behavioral tracking (for instance, a product page viewed without a buy) is done on the ecommerce site, but the targeted visitor is found back on a retargeting network.

Behavioral data collected from a websites network are far more richer. For one individual, hundreds of visits on hundreds of sites can be taken into account and produce a big amount of data.

Different elements can be tracked:
- natures of websites and pages viewed
- context of pages viewed
- tools use (simulator, product configurator, etc.)
- search and search clicks
- text typing
- ad clicking
- online (and sometimes offline) purchases histories
- ...

Behavioral networks establish anonymous profiles of web users who have a score for each interest area. Then, web users are aggregated into target segments offered to advertisers. A target segment can sometimes regroup Internet users who are "in the market" for a product or service (for more details see in-market targeting).

A little showcase of behavioral targeting by IAB UK:


The behavioral targeting network Audience Science offering:

An "in market" segment:

Google Adsense Network uses over two millions partner websites to collect data and to propose very precise interest-based targeting.

Behavioral targeting and advertising raise privacy concerns. Do not track program, cookie opt out initiatives and the IAB Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising address partially that issue.

The process of collecting data presented by Cisco:

The behavioral targeting process presented by AOL Privacy Gourmet:

Published on Tuesday 4 June 2013, mis a jour le Wednesday 9 September 2015 (Authors)