behavioral targeting

Behavioral Targeting Examples: Get Your Personalized Push Notifications Right

If you’re a company starting to engage customers personally, chances are you’ve been reading about behavioral targeting examples that could help. Behavioral targeting makes sure that you are sending the most relevant content to customers that will help them find value.

Mobile Tech Today: The Stage Is Set for Personalized Push

The number of smartphone users in the world is set to cross 2 billion by the end of the year 2017. That means more than one third of the world’s population owns a smartphone, making it one one of the most accessible, customizable, useful, and relevant devices that exists today. As with any technology, the larger the user base, the higher the potential for marketers leverage the audience. Using the right technology, brands can provide great value and bring in revenue. As mobile phone users span geographies, languages, interests, and beliefs – marketers need to make sure they send highly relevant, contextual and unique messages that speak to their audiences on a 1:1 level.

Marketers need to Maximize On Customer Mobile Moments

Studies have shown that on average, we look at our phones upto 46 times a day. Many of these are short bursts that don’t last beyond 30 seconds. Chances are, if we don’t see anything interesting, we’re simply going to put our phones away again. Marketers need to know how customers use mobile phones and send communication that provides immediate value while also remaining non-invasive. So what kind of messages can customers consume best in one of those short 30 second bursts? Push Notifications are the first that come to mind. Push notifications can use a variety of behavioral targeting examples around customer’s interests, active timings, device type and more to make an impact and bring customers back to your website.

Customers want to communicate with brands on their own terms

Let’s say you’re in a shop. You aren’t even there to buy yourself something. You’re just standing around waiting for a friend while a number of annoying salespeople pop in and hover around to ask you if they can help you with something. By the second or third time of saying no, you’re ready to yell at somebody. That’s a simple example of a bad experience, and push notifications can have the exact same effect.

A survey by Localytics suggests that customers find push notifications annoying, and that sending any more than one a week may result in the user deleting the app. Push isn’t like email. It is more personal, especially for customers who like to keep a distance between their emails and the world of their mobile phone, or their professional and personal life.

This is why push notifications that use the following examples of behavioral targeting are most likely to be opened and interacted with.

  1. Relevance/Value

  2. Personalization

  3. Timeliness

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-19-04-31Image: Leanplum

Cracking these three essential factors or even one, can make all the difference to the open rates and click rates of the push notifications you send customers. Failing at them means that you can expect customers to turn off notifications from your app altogether, closing an otherwise open channel of communication between them and your brand.

You can’t take Push notification opt-ins for granted. You have to earn them.

One essential drawback to sending customers communication on mobile is the fact that you need them to opt-in to receive your notifications on mobile. Many customers turn off all push notifications, and allow them only for certain trusted apps. Earning a customer’s trust at this stage is essential to your customer journey with them. Brands now provide customers guides on how to switch the notifications back on or offer soft opt-ins as they are first launched to confirm that they can share push updates.

rue-la-la-opt-in-instructions-gifImage: Rue La La

In a study of 38 billion push notifications sent to 750 million application users during 2015, iOS apps were revealed to have opt-in rates of close to 41% and push notifications overall had opt-in rates of close to 75%. This is a good sign for marketers. It shows that using the right behavioral targeting examples to reach out to customers can convince them of the value you provide and instill a sense of enthusiasm about your product. Or there are just a whole lot of people who ‘agree’ to opt-ins without reading the fine print. Either way, you’re in luck.

Mobile is a Platform where Personalization hasn’t been done right. Yet.

In their research ‘The Class of 2015 eCommerce Personalization Report Card’, Retail Systems Research found that 83 percent of evaluated sites show no contextually relevant content based on previous shopping behavior. This means that 83% of the time, brands aren’t using the information you share to provide a better customer experience. A simple way to start skewing this metric to the right direction would be by exploring how to use behavioral targeting in push notifications. Push Notifications have been around for close to a decade now, but they need some serious mastering. Which is why we put together a list of personalization / behavioral targeting examples across industries to inspire improvements.

Personalization / Behavioral Targeting Examples for Push Notifications Across Industries

Relevance: Netflix

If 83% of the time brands aren’t the using the information you share to provide a better customer experience, then Netflix is definitely a part of the other 17%. The message is informative and personalized for a user who has already watched ‘BoJack Horseman’ (you should too if you haven’t yet.) I’d even go so far as to say the timing is perfect, if you are the type that likes to stay at home on fridays and plan your Netflix-filled evenings while you pretend to be hard at work on friday.

behavioral targeting examples

Image: Martin Bryant/Twitter

Reason I like this Push Notification: 

  • It doesn’t try to get too personal by addressing the customer on a first name basis.

  • It has two solid pieces of information

  • It drops in the brand name twice for double recall

Value and Timing: United Airlines

The scope that travel companies have to send valuable push notifications increases every day.

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-20-28-46                                                              Image: Tommy Collison/Twitter

Reasons I liked this Push Notification: As exciting and enthralling as travelling can be, sometimes we all need a little push to remind us to help us keep the information we need at every stage handy and accessible. Especially any information that we might be subconsciously worrying about. A great behavioral targeting example bringing in value and timing. United Airlines understood this about their customers and created some very smart push notifications including

  • A boarding pass card and notification.

  • Information about a gate that has changed.

  • Targeted users at silent airports, away from screens.


United Airlines can provide value with their push notifications and increase brand recall and loyalty every time you are taking a flight. Google Now? Can do it when you have a flight too. But wait, Google Now does this every single day. Google’s predictive algorithms

  • Personalize a route map home from work for you everyday.

  • Warning you how much traffic you may encounter on your way home

  • Tell you how long it will take you to get there

  • Tell you what time you should leave

  • Give you a reminder to leave.

Timing and Relevance – The Bump

This one is self explanatory. An ultra personalized push message from a social network/app for parents to be that uses a few simple pieces of information to start a personalized customer journey with moms and dads to be.


Reasons I liked this Push Notification:

Bump’s presence at the start of a mother’s pregnancy is a sign of solidarity and support from the brand.

  • Their timing is perfect and the content is personalized well.

  • They managed to fit a lot of information – 3-4 facts of which the mother may not even have known – into one push notification.

  • They’ve set the stage for nine months (if not more) of focused engagement with this future mom.

Relevance and Timing: WonderShop



Wondershop shows us how staying relevant and contextual doesn’t have to come at the cost of  keeping things simple.

Reasons I like this Push Notification

The message may seem really simple here, but what WonderShop is doing is a number of things that make this message relevant and timely.

  • Personalized the message with the exact number of items you added to your cart. Cool.

  • You didn’t buy them, so now they’re on sale. Even cooler.

  • There’s also a sense of urgency in the call-to-action – Get them today!

  • Finally, they are motivating you to click and engage immediately either on the app or on their website (the notification doesn’t tell you how much on sale the items are, does it?)

Customers who receive the right content, relevant to their interests, with valuable information at the right time are more likely to stay loyal to your brand and recommend your brand to others. Use the behavioral targeting examples above wisely to put together your personalized push notification strategy, and if you need some help deciding what to send to whom, at what time – get in touch with Boomtrain!


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