Behavioural Targeting

What is behavioural targeting?

It is a way of creating more personalised, relevant and targeted web experience for your website visitors based on their behavioural characteristics.

The term originates from online advertising where behavioural targeting allows a site to display adverts and marketing messages to users based on their browsing history.

Behavioural targeting goes beyond traditional marketing segmentation, which groups clients based on their socio-demographic attributes such as age, location, gender or income.

Behavioural targeting in CRO & analytics

Access to the socio-demographic data is limited within web analytics and conversion rate optimisation, so behavioural targeting uses a process that is based on data analysis and identifying characteristics so that clusters of visitors can be grouped based on their past behaviours. For example, type of visitors (return versus new), purchase history, browsing history etc.

The aim of this process is to adapt the content of the website to make it more relevant to the customers and consequently increase the engagement with the site content, decrease abandonment and create an overall better user experience.

In Conversion Rate Optimisation, we are mostly interested in onsite behavioural targeting where the data is collected and analysed within the remits of one site.

How does behavioural targeting work?

Behavioural targeting involves gathering data about your website visitors. Once the data is collected visitor segmentation process can begin. A couple of factors should be considered:

  • Is the segment sizeable enough to target?
  • What is the hypothesis we are trying to prove by targeting visitors with a specific behaviour?

What type of attributes can be used for behavioural targeting?

  • Pages visited on the website – for example if we know that a customer browsed a certain number of products
  • Type of products that a visitor has searched
  • Time spent on site
  • Adding items to the cart/basket
  • Existing versus new customers (if log-in is available)
  • Previous purchases
  • Time between the visits to the site

What are the benefits?

As a result of the data analysis, online personas of the customers are created, and their triggers or typical behaviours are identified.

Another benefit is that we can better understand the customer’s time and place in their customer journey. For example, behavioural targeting for customers who are new to the site and just added a few items to the cart would be different from an existing customer who has logged in and may be looking to re-order their frequently bought items.

The web experience that is created as a result of this is not only more relevant to the customer, but it is possible to achieve a highly personalised experience.

How does Webtrends Optimize use behavioural targeting for personalisation

  • Display content that is specific to different visitor segments
  • Change call-to-actions (CTAs) based on previous visitor behaviour
  • Offer product recommendations based on the browsing or purchase history
  • Display specific messages that are triggered by certain visitor behaviour such as exit intent for visitors who are about to leave the site
  • Display advertising or promotional messages to visitor segments

Behavioural targeting offers companies interesting opportunities to make their website content more relevant, sticky and improve user experience. It should be noted that under GDPR rules that came into effect on May 25, 2018 companies need a clear consent from visitors to be able to track visitor behaviour. However, if all legal requirements are met, the are many good reasons for companies to use behavioural targeting in conversion rate optimisation.

More from the glossary

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