How To Use Behavioral Targeting Without Third-Party Data

Behavioral targeting uses information about Web users to ensure ads are shown to the right consumers at the right time. With rules about third-party cookies changing dramatically and a growing emphasis on user privacy, the entire game has shifted for marketers, who can no longer rely on data provided by outside companies that have no direct relationship with their target audience.

Forbes Agency Council

Below, members of Forbes Agency Council weigh in on the question that’s on every marketer’s mind now: Without access to a key source of information they’ve long depended upon to inform their marketing strategies, what is the best compliant, non-creepy way for brands to create truly personalized experiences for prospects using behavioral targeting?

1. Leverage Opportunities To Gather Zero- And First-Party Data
Usage of zero- and first-party data is only going to increase. Pre-customer, first-party data opportunities such as newsletters or gated content can build cohorts of prospects who have engaged at certain stages. Marketing can take them to personalized experiences to advance the journey, and tools such as Google Optimize can help dynamically personalize page content based on a user’s remarketing status. – Brian Walker, Statwax

2. Don’t Use Data Gathered Via Microphone
Limit the use of apps that use microphones to gather user data. Ads that use interested search data and browser history will come off as less creepy than ads using information picked up from apps that capture what the consumer is saying when their microphone is turned on. – Spencer Hadelman, Advantage Marketing

3. Use Keywords To Target Content Viewers With Contextual Ads
The future of targeting users without cookies will consist of targeting keywords through contextual-based advertising. Contextual ads are based on the content you are looking for instead of the actual user behaviors. For example, a beer company can target users viewing content on ESPN.com contextually because that demographic is more likely to enjoy beers while watching their favorite sports team. – Michelle Abdow, Market Mentors, LLC

4. Segment Landing Pages To Target Distinct Audience Lists
Audience list targeting can help to a great extent. Segment your landing pages so that each page attracts a distinct audience group. Create different audience lists for different landing pages and work on populating them. Once they are ready, target these lists with interest-specific marketing messages and calls to action for audiences in different phases of the funnel and different interest zones. – Ajay Prasad, GMR Web Team

5. Talk To Your Target Audience In Person
Actually meeting and talking to your target audience is so essential. Attending events and trade shows is the best way to do this and a great organic way to do some market research. Networking is so essential to get to know your demographics! Think behind the suits: Are they parents? Are they foodies? Are they single? A lot of the information you’re looking for cannot always be found online. – Jessica Kopach, The JKO Agency

6. Click On The Profiles Of Your Social Media Audience
Start taking a look through your social media audience and click on their profiles to review what they are posting and commenting about. This is you taking an honest interest in your audience, and what you may find in 30 minutes of clicking and scrolling could level up your campaign. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

7. Transparently Connect With Consumers On The Front End
Transparency about how we intend to manage or use information is the key to navigating this continually changing privacy landscape. Consumers want to have a say in how their information is being gathered and used; we can connect with our consumers on the front end instead of depending on back-end data to inform us of their needs and wants. – Russ Williams, Archer Malmo

8. Use Offline Conversion Tracking To Enrich Paid Media Campaigns
Using offline conversion tracking to enrich your paid media campaigns involves taking (converted) customer data from your CRM and essentially reinjecting this information back into your ads platform, such as Google Ads. This allows Google’s remarketing artificial intelligence to function that much better. However, you are only using the customer information that has already come to you voluntarily and ethically. – Bernard May, National Positions

9. Use Post-Purchase Surveys To Segment And Tag Customer Profiles
Post-purchase surveys work well to understand the customer profile. Through surveys, brands can connect with customers on the things that matter most to them and structure their messaging around those interests. Most email and SMS platforms will allow customer profiles to be tagged for deep message segmentation, and interests can be used for creative segmentation in paid media. – Justin Buckley, ATTN Agency

10. Map Out Remarketing Campaign Creatives By Buyer’s Stage
Having a well-mapped-out remarketing campaign is a great way to emphasize your message and provide a compliant, personalized experience. Showcasing different remarketing creatives, depending on where prospects are in the customer buying journey, can be very effective to share information about what you’re selling to them. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR

11. Segment Based On Trends In Audience Interests
Brands can give consumers a personalized experience through general audience segmentation based on trends in their interests from a variety of brands that meet the criteria. An example of targeting that is potentially too invasive is if you’re talking about running shoes around voice search devices, such as your Alexa or Siri, and suddenly you’re served ads for running shoes without ever having done a browser search for one. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

12. Restrategize Using Data Collected By Your Web Analytics Tools
Behavioral data is collected using your company’s Web analytics tools, cookies, customers’ browsing history and IP addresses. Cookies will soon disappear, so it’s time to consider a different strategy. Fortunately, you have the data collected by your company’s Web analytics tools. In addition, you can consider targeted email campaigns or reviving traditional questionnaires. – Dmitrii Kustov, Regex SEO