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In a competitive digital marketplace, understanding your customers can make all the difference. However, traditional target marketing may not be enough*. Knowing your audience’s motivations and specific interests is a great start, but it won’t guarantee an opened email or an accepted chat invite. To tailor a truly successful marketing strategy, you also need a deeper insight into user behavior, which entails analyzing data on how customers interact with sales platforms.
This method — better known as behavioral targeting — allows marketers to develop custom strategies, campaigns, and products that align with established consumer habits and activities. In essence, it analyzes a customer’s actions and non-actions when interacting with the seller’s online platform or app. That data is then used to create a well-targeted personalized response.
Here are seven of the best user behavior strategies to help you optimize the customer experience and—in the process—drive business growth.
Targeting and retargeting are two terms that seem almost interchangeable. For digital marketing, however, there are enough differences between them to drastically alter a campaign’s direction.
Targeting is focused on prospects or leads that the seller has yet to interact with. Of course, preliminary target marketing work should have already narrowed the audience down to those leads with the potential to engage. At this stage, it’s still largely a hit-or-miss operation. Behavioral targeting helps refine this list, identifying those prospects most likely to respond.
Previously, marketers depended on digital signatures such as third-party cookies to track consumer behavior. However, cookies can only track online activity, and brands that want to understand their customers better have little to learn when users are offline.
Today, there’s a lot more data available to establish user behavior patterns. This includes social media likes and interactions as well as transaction histories to gauge whether customers are likely to buy related products. By combining these and other user behavior sources to target new clients, brands have a much better chance of reaching the right audience.
Retargeting, meanwhile, takes targeting one step further by engaging prospects who have previous brand interactions. For example, cart abandonment remains a very concerning issue for online store owners. According to recent data, the average cart abandonment rate across industries is 71.42%*. Reasons vary from “just browsing” to high prices to unwillingness to create an account.
Retargeting operates on the belief that a user who previously interacted with a brand is more likely to re-engage. Sometimes it takes a well-directed nudge to convert a previously non-committal site visitor into a buying customer. To encourage this transition, sellers need to know exactly what users do when they’re using the app or visiting an online store. Learning where they’re looking and what they’re looking for provides the necessary clues. It also helps brands identify which areas casual shoppers get stuck in before abandoning their carts or logging out.
By developing a strategy aimed at these types of visitors, brands can better persuade them to reach the checkout and make a purchase. One tactic is to offer add-ons, such as discounts or free shipping for the first purchase.
By examining user behavior, marketers can formulate the right message—not only encouraging potential customers to return but also to stay for good.
Gamification is hardly a new concept*. At this point, most companies have already applied gamification concepts to everything from corporate training to consumer surveys. Gamification makes tasks more engaging, thus encouraging task completion. It also triggers the spark of competitiveness, as individuals work to achieve the top score or reach the highest level. Plus, it makes things fun. Who knew that having an active, visible scoreboard would push workers to keep outdoing each other? In addition, the opportunity to earn badges or unlock new levels similarly pushes passive participants into becoming achievers.
The concept of gamification works equally well on the marketing front to boost customer engagement—one benefit being higher participation rates. To illustrate, new users may be hesitant on their visit to your online store. Get them involved by offering a gamified ice-breaker in the form of an easy-to-solve puzzle or a timed game. It’s even better if the site gives out prizes to all users who successfully complete the task. As the recipient of a sizable discount, automatic upgrade, or free shipping voucher, they’ll likely want to use their prize straight away by signing up and completing a purchase.
The idea of a thought leader who converts their followers is behavioral targeting at its most fundamental. Contrary to current belief*, influencer marketing continues to be an effective route for attracting and engaging new customers. To leverage this tactic means capitalizing on influencers who either embody the brand or make a good pitch for it. These individuals usually have an active core following that remains receptive to their endorsements.
A-list celebrities who double as mega influencers have more than a million followers at any time*. Getting even a fraction of that audience to convert will raise your revenues exponentially. That said, you’ll also need to spend millions on a mega influencer in exchange for their millions of followers.
For companies with lower inclinations budgets and an even lower marketing budget, hiring a macro- or micro-influencer could be the best option. Macro-influencers—such as a lower-tier celebrity or a well-known industry expert—enjoy a following of between 500,000 and a million people. Meanwhile, micro-influencers—with 10,000 to 50,000 followers—tend to be average users who’ve amassed a following due to their authentic appeal. In other words, it’s easy for audiences to relate to them and trust their recommendations.
Target marketing usually deals with absolutes*, where buyer personas come with a fixed set of likes and dislikes. However, real customers don’t necessarily fit a particular mold. Besides, they’re often shopping for someone else altogether.
At the same time, many sites employ business rules to determine which products to push to customers—often depending on the seller’s inventory state. This usually involves promoting top sellers to cajole buyers into following a trend. Brands will also push slow-moving items (along with a sizable promo) to customers in order to reduce inventory.
Behavior-based suggestions go beyond both persona-oriented marketing and business rules by focusing on the buyer’s current activities instead. With the help of artificial intelligence (AI), platforms can track user behavior and develop appropriate product suggestions in real time. Depending on the marketing campaign, a site can offer recommendations based on the user’s purchase history, location, or brand affinities.
For example, a casual user browsing for a coffee maker would receive personalized recommendations for coffee filters designed for that specific brand. At the same time, the platform’s AI might suggest popular coffee beans that are available locally. Coffee-related merchandise, such as shirts and mugs, may also be recommended.
In 1994, the McDonald’s Corporation stopped counting the number of burgers they sold worldwide. At that time, the standing count was estimated at 55 billion*. Thirty years later, the fast food titan continues to promote its distinctive social proof of being the all-time best burger seller. Today, McDonald’s uses rounded numbers, meaning that promotions will state, for instance, “Over 99 Billion Sold” or “Billions and Billions Served.”
McDonald’s billions of burgers is an example of social proof. As a marketing definition, it’s hard evidence that others derived value from a company’s product or service. In layman’s terms, social proof involves establishing credibility by showing the product’s popularity.
Statistics such as the number of customers served, five-star ratings, or successful transactions concluded are aimed at showing the public that your brand can be trusted. The higher the number, the bigger the bandwagon effect that social proof can produce. This affirmation is especially powerful for online customers, who may be wary about trusting sites with their payment information.
Further to the numbers game, social proof can also manifest as expert testimonies or customer reviews. Influencers, especially micro-influencers with an industry following, frequently base their posts on a product’s effectiveness. Similarly, customers will look for reviews by other consumers, as these tend to come across as more genuine than reviews by paid endorsers.
You can also apply the basic tenets of supply and demand* as effective marketing tactics. Marketers often create a sense of urgency and scarcity to drive demand for specific products or even stores. Occasionally, brands will also throw out messages such as “Hurry! Limited supplies only!” as part of a promotion. Marketers may sometimes even include the exact number of items produced to add hype.
For example, travel apps are notorious for leveraging scarcity and urgency to get customers to buy. For example, the Booking.com app flashes messages like “Only 3 rooms left!” while customers browse through hotels. The app also indicates how many people are currently viewing the same hotel/room to encourage customers to book faster.
A related strategy leans on exclusivity. In March 2023, the new Twitter alternative Bluesky launched in the App Store—but as an invite-only beta. Although the app was available for download to the public, people had to provide an invite code in order to create an account.
Personalization in marketing used to mean having the customer’s name in the subject line of a promotional letter or email message. With today’s technology, companies can leverage AI to analyze a customer’s purchase history, shopping cart contents, and even browsing habits. In addition, they’ll assess the purchasing experience to gauge whether the customer is happy with the store or app’s performance.
Another example of modern personalization is customer segmentation, enabling brands to create targeted messages to subgroups within their customer base. Instead of sending an all-inclusive, generic message, companies can now provide personalized communication to groups engaged in similar user behavior.
One such example is Paysend, a UK-based online money transfer platform with 3.5 million customers in 80 countries worldwide. Wanting to improve their platform’s performance, Paysend enlisted the help of an integrated analytics and engagement platform to analyze user behavior.
Instead of looking at the customer base as a whole, the analytics team showed that different groups responded in different ways. They advised Paysend to improve customer segmentation to make their messaging highly personalized and more effective. As a result, the company reported that its click-through rate (CTR) for push notifications increased to ten times the industry average.
If you’re looking for ways to improve the customer experience, understanding individual user behavior is a great place to start. First, you’ll need to gather data and generate insights regarding customer preferences and needs. Once that’s done, you can focus on customizing marketing strategies and campaigns to match individual requirements. The benefits number improved engagement along with increased conversions and revenue growth.
CleverTap is an all-in-one engagement platform that combines audience analytics, omnichannel engagement, and product A/B testing. Using context and powerful AI models, CleverTap helps organizations understand, segment, and engage users in real time. By getting to know their similarities and differences, you’re in a position to deliver fully-personalized customer experiences every time.
Learn more about how CleverTap can help take your business to the next level. Sign up for our free demo today and get ready to see your customers in a new light.