July 1, 2010, 3:48 PM

Small businesses say behavioral targeting works

Nearly 50% of small businesses in a recent survey say behavioral targeting increases conversion rates.

Lead Photo

Nearly 50% of small businesses in a recent survey say behavioral targeting in online advertising and merchandising increases their conversion rates either significantly or modestly. Behavioral targeting directs ads at consumers based on their web-browsing behavior—such as the pages they have visited or the searches they have made.

The poll of 2,579 small businesses by AWeber Communications, a company that helps marketers manage e-mail campaigns, also found 82% of respondents are planning to increase their e-mail marketing over the next year. And when it comes to social media, 70% of businesses are getting in on it—employing some sort of social media tactic—and 77% say that integrating e-mail marketing with social media is either very important or moderately important.

Additionally the poll found:

  • More than 66% of respondents intend to use behavioral targeting as well as sales tracking in their campaigns over the next year. 54% say they intend to use Facebook as a tool to help build their e-mail lists and over 46% indicate they will include “follow us” links in their e-mail messages to grow their social media presence.
  • The most popular social media tactics involve spreading content across the web, such as sharing e-mail newsletters on Twitter (36%) and delivering blog posts via e-mail (35%).
  • The survey notes that e-mail marketing is better suited than social media for realizing return on investment. 61% of respondents say ROI is easier to measure with e-mail marketing than social media and 32% say it produces a quicker ROI. By comparison, only 5% say social media is easier to measure for ROI and 8% say it produces a quicker return.

The survey also suggests that offering consumers more ways to get information increases brand loyalty. When businesses were asked the benefits they have derived from integrating social media with e-mail marketing, nearly 20% said that using both social media and e-mail marketing has helped them increase customer loyalty. This, AWeber says, underscores that the medium through which customers find a company may not be the one through which they prefer to continue hearing from that company. For example, when customers discover that they can choose to hear from a business via social media instead of or in addition to e-mail, their satisfaction and loyalty increases, the company says.


Testing is lacking amid small businesses in some areas, AWeber also finds. For example, while 50% say behavioral targeting increases conversions, 24.8% of respondents say they have not tested behavioral targeting in their e-mail marketing campaigns, while another 23% are not sure whether behavioral targeting increases conversion rates. This suggests that marketers may not be testing behavioral targeting thoroughly, if at all, AWeber says. However, this divide may be shrinking, as 71.4% of respondents plan to increase their focus on behavioral targeting in their e-mail campaigns over the next year.

 Marketers are trying to use more analytics to track success of e-mail campaigns in some areas. For example, 92% of small business marketers recognize the value of knowing when a purchase is made directly as a result of an e-mail.

 Small business marketers ranked the following e-mail data in order of importance to their business:

1. Tracking who opens an e-mail versus who doesn’t.

2. Tracking who clicks links in an e-mail and who doesn’t.

3. Reports on sales revenue that is generated as a direct result of an e-mail campaign.

4. Reports on which ad campaigns or signup forms bring the most subscribers.

5. Split testing results.

6. Reporting on the results of segmentation.

AWeber Communications provides e-mail marketing services to more than 80,000 small businesses. AWeber customers who logged into their accounts between May 20 and May 24 were asked to participate in a brief survey designed to capture their current and projected e-mail marketing use and behavior.


comments powered by Disqus




From The IR Blog


Philip Masiello / E-Commerce

5 essential e-commerce tools for consumer research

Online retailers have many ways of learning about what consumers want and how they shop, ...


Andrew Ruegger / E-Commerce

How online search data can improve offline retail results

Search data represents the largest, unbiased free source of consumer data in the world.