You may be familiar with the saying, “the eyes are the windows to the soul.” In more plain speak, it’s the idea that you can tell a lot about a person’s thoughts and feelings through their eyes and the subtle signals they give off.

What about when you can’t actually see someone’s eyes, though? What is the portal with which to understand consumers’ needs and interests and have the right conversations? 

In today’s digital world, that portal is most likely your brand’s website or app. Nearly every marketing activity pushes customers back to your site. For instance, in 2018, 14.3% of retail sales are now digital (up from 12.7% in 2017) and happen through your ecommerce site or app. And with 87% of people starting their product discovery or search on digital channels, like your website or app, there is no better place to learn what your customers want.

But the customer journey today takes place across much more than a website or app in places like email, over text, on social media, and of course, still in-store and offline. As marketers, we need to find ways to use web behavior to connect and personalize the interactions we have across these various touchpoints because it’s not just good practice to do so, consumers are demanding it at a 70% clip.

That said, identifying how to use web behavior across the extended journey isn’t always obvious, so we put together six examples across different industries and goals to help inspire how to get started working with these valuable bits of information.


Acquire more customers

1. Drive more attendance to your event

This use case could work for any brand, B2B or B2C, promoting any sort of event, virtual or in the physical world. Let’s assume, for this example, that we are a bank or financial institution that has set up a series of local mortgage seminars across the country. To drive better attendance to your event, you could create an audience of visitors to your website that has browsed mortgage options in the past 60 days and not scheduled a meeting. Then retarget that same audience with a digital ad, or even better, send them an email or a direct mail piece if you’ve connected them back to your other digital marketing channels.

2. Grow your audience for a new offering

Again, this one could apply to a broad swath of companies from those creating new products to those delivering new services, but let’s assume the role of a media streaming and publishing service. Once we’ve got customers hooked on the content we’re producing or hosting, we can think about how to grow a following for a new TV series based on the shows and show categories they’re already engaged with, or even the shows they bookmarked to watch later. When we’re ready to launch our new series, we can focus our marketing spend on hyping up the show with them first, maybe even including exclusive content or preview access to entice them to tune in. (Read about more media and entertainment examples here)


(Re)Engage your existing customers

1. Generate more site reviews and testimonials

Almost every business can benefit from user reviews and testimonials, but customers have busy lives and often forget or ignore that initial review. In this case, use collected web behavior like known purchasers, downloaders, or users of your service in the past 90 days that have also not left a review to create your audience. Then, send those individuals an email with a reminder to leave a review (and perhaps even offer them an incentive to make it worth their while). 

2. Win-back promising visitors to your site

Of course, the first example that comes to everyone’s mind here is the retail abandoned cart email that gets sent out when you leave your shopping cart full without purchasing. But what if you’re not an ecommerce shop but, a manufacturing business with a long, expensive sale? You can still use web behavior as a means to recapture browsers with intent. For example, perhaps you have a five-minute demo video of a new machine on your website with a call to action (CTA) to set an appointment for a custom quote. Not all customers will watch the video or click the CTA, so you can create a segment of visitors who have watched half or more of the video and have not requested a quote. Send an email reminding them to finish the video or perhaps even schedule their appointment right through the message.


Retain your hard-earned customers

1. Connect customers with the help they are seeking

Using web behavior doesn’t always have to be about “marketing” in the traditional sense of driving leads or generating sales. It can also help brands improve the customer experience more holistically. Consider you are a health information or services provider, and a consumer or patient is browsing the FAQs and content around certain health topics on your portal or app. This behavior is indicative of someone in search of help or more information. Knowing this, you can trigger a follow-up email with related information to what they were browsing and maybe even include a direct link to engage with your support team for a faster resolution to their search.

2. Treat your loyalists to something special

Let’s say you’re more of an app-based business — like a restaurant booking or reviews service — with users engaging on their mobile phones more frequently than on the desktop. App engagement can be used in a similar way to web behavior. For instance, if you want to reward your frequent users for being great customers, you could use app behavior (in place of an established loyalty program) to identify and engage loyal individuals. Perhaps it’s those who have three or more active sessions in a week and save or bookmark two or more establishments in that time. You can send them an email, or better yet, an SMS or mobile push message with a discount code for them to finally try one of those places they’ve saved.


How to take action using web behavior

You can see that web behavior has the potential to be immensely valuable across industries, business models, and marketing goals, especially when it’s connected to power cross-channel journeys. But you may be asking yourself, how do I identify those opportunities for my own brand? Here are a couple of things to think about:

  • Assess your marketing campaigns today and what experience your customers are having. Will they notice a difference between the experience on the web versus in email or another channel? 
    • This is an easy place to start in thinking about how to use web behavior to create a consistent experience
  • Identify the key moments that take place on your website or app that are important for your brand and your customers to take action on
  • Map your marketing goals to different stages of the life cycle (if you haven’t already) and consider how could web behavior help you achieve or action on those 

The great news is that from a technology standpoint, it isn’t all that hard to get started. In fact, you probably have most of the ingredients you need to start using web behavior in similar ways to the examples above — like a web or app analytics tool, an email or broader marketing automation platform, and a skilled developer. But as it becomes more important to consumers that their experience across channels to be consistent and relevant, technology vendors — like Salesforce and Google — are making it easier to execute with more robust integrations. These tools enable marketers to capitalize on all of the data at their fingertips without any heavy lifting.

For more inspiration on how you can combine web data across the rest of the digital journey, read more about how trailblazers like Rakuten OverDrive and Budget Direct are using the Salesforce and Google marketing integrations to create a seamless customer experience across channels and realizing incredible results.