Sitecore Online Marketing Suite: How to get started with Behavioral Targeting (Part 1)

In my last post, When to use Sitecore Online Marketing Suite, I gave a brief overview of the features in Sitecore Online Marketing Suite and mapped those to different organizations.

In this first post of Sitecore Online Marketing Suite How to’s, I will focus on Behavioral Targeting – this is one of the most powerful features, which gives you the power for realtime visitor personalization.

Why use Behavioral Targeting?
Behavioral Targeting makes it possible to adapt content to the visitors behavior realtime, this means that content will be more relevant for the visitor and therefore, the possibility of an conversion will be higher than when using same content for all visitors. Good examples of Behavioral Targeting websites are Amazon and Google AdWords, which adapts to your search term.

Behavioral Targeting is easy to configure in Sitecore Online Marketing Suite (more on that in part 2), but takes time to prepare.

Different Target Groups and Behaviors for Web visitors

In this part I will give you an understanding of which steps you need to prepare, before configuring in Sitecore, these steps are:
- Target Groups
- Behavior
- Personas
- Goals/triggers

However there are many ways to work with Behavioral Targeting, the steps described below are my inputs, depending on your situation (organization type, target groups etc.) there could be better alternatives.

Target Groups
Who are listening to you?

You properly have clear definition of your target groups, these can (depending on your Business) be divided into:
- Segment
- Branch
- Region
- Etc.

You properly also have different people within your Target Groups, like:
- Roles
- Age
- Gender
- Interest
- Etc.

In order to target our Target Groups with relevant content, we need to profile our content according to the categories above (or the one which fits your Business).

This means that an editor writing a piece of content on your website, needs to think – who is this content aimed for and profile content with these in mind.

Behavior
Try to think of your journey, when buying a book at a webshop.
First why do you need the book? If it’s to get better at, lets say, Search Engine Optimization, you would properly search for “SEO” or “Search Engine Optimization”, you will get a list of books matching your search. You can the click on the books, see their description, get an overview – if you find what seems like a good book, you could read other readers review – is it as good as it says in the description? If it is and you have the fund needed, you will properly buy the book.

If you want a new car, you properly goes through the same journey – but it’s longer (unless you’re loaded with funds) and it uses multiple channels.

We can categorize the journey into 3 categories:
- Looking
- Confirming
- Buying

Looking
A visitor who are looking are in the early phase, the visitor will see many different pages, such as products/services (depending on your Business), categories etc. And eventually the browsing will be narrowed down into few products/services.

Confirming
A visitor who are confirming will look at few products/services in few categories, they will spend time on additional information on those products/services and will try to be confirmed, that they’re on right track.

Buying
A visitor who are buying has an direct behavior towards very few (one or two) products/services, they know all about the product/service from the knowledge collected in the earlier phases.

If you have a website which sells books, a goal for you will be the sale in buying phase, but you also need to focus on smaller goals, which get the visitor moved from phase to phase.
Web visitors behavior

More on this later..

To track the behavior of a visitor, we need to profile content with information on content types, this could be defined:
- Product (or services)
- Category
- News
- Articles
- Information pages

That way we can see how the spread of content is (are there many category and product views – the visitor is properly in the looking phase).

To target with relevant content we will also profile content according to the three phases (looking, confirming and buying).

Together with the click paths, we will know:
- Visitor phase
- Interest in specific products/services

Personas
Now that we have a clear view on our Target Groups and different behaviors, we are able to define our most important website personas.

You should aim for Personas of your key audience and keep it to a few, the more you add, the more complex it would be to maintain.

If you have 2 key Personas, you should setup 3 in OMS:
- Key Persona1
- Key Persona2
- Normal Site Visitor

A Persona should have a name (so you better can relate to it as a person), picture, description, motivation and description of which Target Groups they belong to.

You should also describe motivation and which triggers you can use in the for the personas in different behavior phases, this could be done by mapping User Journeys.

Binding it all together – defining and mapping goals
What outcome do you want from your website?

Now that you have an overview of your Target Groups, Behavior and Personas – you should map goals with behavior for your different Personas, like the matrix below:

Website visitor behavior with goals

Your desired conversions could be mapped against different call to actions, each call to action could be A/B split tested with different variants, to get the highest conversion rate as possible. Variants, call to actions and conversions, could be mapped in a matrix, like the one below:

Conversions mapped with different variants of call to actions

Building content around AIDA model
Every page you create should have a clear trigger, which guide the visitor along the path we want them and towards our goals.

AIDA model with trigger

The triggers can be personalized according to the visitors behavior and our goal mapped to this, the matrix below show AIDA model mapped with behavior phases:

AIDA model with triggers on different behavior phases

For instance, triggers in the confirming phase should focus on building trust (like link to other readers review) and when this is triggered, the focus shifts to moving the visitor into the next phase.

I hope you got some input on how to start a project with Behavioral Targeting, part 2 will focus on structure, content profiling and creating rules inside Sitecore Online Marketing Suite.

Please comment if you have anything in mind.

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