Behavioral Tracking for ECommerce: Everything You Need to Know

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Advertising campaigns are not always successful, and even experienced marketers fall short in delivering advertising messages. Traditional campaigns are usually a hit-or-miss, and without relevant information, websites lose a considerable portion of their potential customers.

Online retailers are trying to create ads that can give them in-depth information about who they are targeting. Marketing people across the globe are willing to pay thousands to build detailed profiles of their customers to increase the website’s brand awareness and sales.

So, what is behavioral tracking, and how does it help brands? Let’s find out!


What is Behavioral Tracking?

In most simple terms, it is a way of gaining information about users’ browsing habits. The data collected from their Internet and social media searches helps brands process data more efficiently and create more effective campaigns.

Behavioral tracking is an essential component of every successful business. Companies that use it gain invaluable insights into their customers’ online behavior, which their competitors can’t access. The digital world is a competitive one — advertisers need to do everything they can to get ahead of the competition.

Overall, there are some behavioral tracking metrics:

  • Previously used search terms

  • Pages viewed

  • Amount spent on a website

  • Actions performed on a website

  • Ads shown to the users

  • Session duration 

  • IP address and location

  • Clicks

  • Days since last visit.


How Does It Work?

Source: GetVero.com

As previously stated, behavioral tracking is all about data collection. In general, gaining more information about new customers, repeat customers, potential clients, etc., could lead to more targeted ads. Having a lot of data about your consumers is an integral part of planning your advertising campaigns.

Because users are part of an interconnected world, companies can now track every single device that is in the customers’ possession (learn more about cross-device tracking here). Businesses can check what users are looking for when browsing on their desktops, on their mobile phones, and even on their wearable devices. 

There are special tools that help businesses with collecting data from various sources, as well as with sorting and analyzing it afterward.

Browsing is the most common activity that users do on the web. It makes behavioral data easily accessible. The only thing you should do is to integrate a site tracker into your website (see how to track user behavior on your website here). Verfacto, for example, does this automatically when you create an account.

As soon as you collect enough data for a statistically significant analysis — the exact time needed depends on your traffic — you can segment your visitors and identify patterns in their behavior.

The beauty behind this is it gives you a reliable source of unbiased data. It’s too difficult and pointless to fake your online behavior.


What Types of Consumer Behaviors are Tracked?

Tracking consumers is a very crucial task ahead of each advertiser. However, what types of consumer behavior are there? Is there something that we are not aware of? Let’s find out.

1. Recency

Recency is a quick and easy indicator of how much your customers care about you. It’s a number that tells you exactly how long ago the customer interacted with your brand. A high recency score indicates that the client has been recently active, while a low score means the customer has been relatively silent for a while. Recency is an important metric because it indicates how fresh and responsive your customers are.

2. Frequency

Frequency behavior analysis helps you identify how often a customer interacts with your brand. The data enables you to segment customers into low, medium, and high-frequency groups and determine each segment’s most suitable communication channels. For example, a low-frequency customer with sporadic purchasing activity might be served by email communications that update them on product or service news. High-frequency consumers might be more receptive to Facebook posts, as they communicate with your brand more often thus the algorithms can identify that as a positive sign.

3. Intensity

Intensity behavior is your customers’ level of user engagement with your brand. For example, if you’re a clothing retailer, some view a few items and add them to their shopping cart, others view many different things and put them all in their cart, and then most are casual browsers. Understanding intensity behavior helps to understand your audience better, and advertisers can use this knowledge better to cater marketing campaigns to specific segments of the audience.


What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Behavioral Tracking?

Behavioral targeting aims to deliver advertising messages which are focused. While it has plenty of advantages, it doesn’t come without cons.


Which are the most significant advantages of targeted advertising?

1. First-party data access

One of the best things about behavioral tracking is that it gives you first-party data collected directly from your own website. You won’t need to rely on third-party cookies anymore.

2. Predict user intent

Users’ behavior can predict their intent and next actions (we tell you all about how to predict customer behavior here). The more data you track and analyze, the higher is the precision.

Since tracking software detects tons of data daily, it creates a totally different scenario for each user. This way, it can group customers, even though they have 99.7% resemblance in user intent. 

One basic deviation is recorded in the database, which might lead to a totally different ad campaign being shown. For example — pregnancy symptoms. However, if there’s one mention of “twins”, algorithms might decide to show products based on baby twins, rather than single babies. Just one word among hundreds of searches.

3. Better marketing ROI

Your return on investment is pivotal in marketing. Behavioral tracking helps you identify your key prospects and focus on them, rather than relying on “wild cards”. 

4. Better click-through rates

One of the most extensive problems of advertisers is that some of their ads aren’t even opened. Imagine creating a great banner…which doesn’t reach its audience. It’s a waste of time and effort. With some behavioral tracking, you can increase your CTR from all channels — social media sites, web, and email.

5. Increased customer lifetime value

Tracking each customer’s behavior can create a tailored user experience, enhancing the relationship between the brand and the consumer. As a result, it leads to a higher retention rate and improved customer lifetime value.

6. Lower customer acquisition costs

Behavioral tracking helps to squeeze the most out of your traffic. It allows you to tailor the user experience for every visitor. It inevitably results in a higher conversion rate that naturally lowers your customer acquisition costs. 



It would be perfect if behavioral targeting didn’t come with disadvantages. But there’s no such thing as “perfection.”

1. More data — more headache

In a way, it’s a nice problem to have. But to achieve good results you need either an experienced analyst and a marketer or special software.

2. False-positive presumptions about your visitors

Some users are blocking trackers or sometimes it does not work as intended (website issues or ads setup gone wrong). It could lead to false roads to follow. 


How to Use Behavioral Tracking for Your ECommerce Marketing Strategy?

Behavioral tracking could make your ads more specific. Instead of wasting time and money on optimizing strategies that simply don’t work, you can be straightforward and create high-quality ads which will target the right people at the right time. 

But which areas are the ones that could benefit greatly from tracking?

  1. Real-time behavioral targeting — instead of showing a single ad campaign, you can offer discounts based on your customers’ activity — upsell, cross-sell offers, pop-ups, etc.

  2. Proactive customer service — tracking your customer’s behavior could prevent potential problems with customers. Giving clients what they want might resolve issues, and increase retention rates.

  3. Improve email marketing campaigns — by leveraging tracking results, users can receive optimized offers and much more personalized messages that sound genuine.

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