Behavioral Data

Behavioral data provides information about a customer’s interaction with your business. It can be collected through marketing automation systems, social media, websites, mobile apps, CRM systems, call centers, emails, and behaviors observed in a physical setting. 

Examples of behavioral data include website views, newsletter sign-ups, adding an item to a shopping cart, creating an account on your site, liking a social media post, and downloading an app. These interactions can be processed and evaluated to reveal why customers do certain things.

Behavioral data doesn’t just include actions that a brand might consider good or positive. It also captures negative actions, such as abandoned shopping carts, cancelled orders, comments with negative sentiment, and email unsubscribes.

Behavioral data is essential in marketing because it reflects your relationship with that customer. It goes beyond customer demographics like age, gender, location and job title to help you identify customers’ wants and needs.

Organizations use behavioral data to understand shared behaviors of their customers and create segments based on interest, challenges, and needs. Messages can then be tailored to particular segments. This helps marketers create personalized experiences for their audiences. As a result, customers might feel like the brand is speaking directly to them (i.e., an audience of one).

Types of Behavioral Data

There are a few different kinds of behavioral data you have access to: first-party, second-party, and third-party data:

  • First-party data is collected through sources such as your website, apps, or social media. It’s limited in that once customers leave the platform, you can’t track their data.
  • Second-party data is collected by another company, which you can use secondhand. This is common with trusted partners who agree to share audience insights. 
  • Third-party data is purchased from another source that is selling its customer data. There isn’t much control in this type of data, but it can provide insights into customers’ experiences.

Benefits of Tracking Behavioral Data

Tracking behavioral data insights benefits you in a variety of ways. 

First, analyzing behavioral data can help you improve your marketing efforts and optimize any future campaigns. You can combine data you’ve gathered, such as how a customer engaged with your brand, which channels they used, and how long they engaged. 

Unlike transactional data, behavioral data can help you identify where customers are getting lost along the customer journey and where they’re most engaged. By analyzing behavioral data, you can discover necessary fixes or iterations you need to prioritize; resolving these issues can improve customer experience and ideally increase sales. 

With behavioral data, you can move beyond broad-based advertising and blanket marketing messages. By understanding your customers’ behaviors and the role you’re playing in their lives, you can create more personalized messaging and offers. Behavioral data can also be used to anticipate and predict customers’ future needs.

Brian Carlson
Brian Carlson
Brian Carlson is the Founder and CEO of RoC Consulting, a digital consultancy that helps brands establish the optimal balance of content, technology and marketing to achieve their goals.

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