Behavioural marketing technology allows brands to provide targeted, relevant communications based on a user’s web activity.

It can also be further improved by tying in other demographic and contextual information.

For many businesses this end goal is still a long way off, but some marketing channels are being optimised using behavioural targeting.

Step forward dusty old email marketing, which remains one of the most effective channels for achieving ROI despite regular claims that it is being usurped by new marketing methods.

In this post I’ll discuss some of the findings from our new Email Marketing Census, carried out in partnership with Adestra and based on a survey of more than 1,000 marketers.

And if you’re interested in discussing behavioural marketing trends and best practice then apply for a place at our APAC roundtable events.

They will focus on marketing automation, email, and behavioural marketing. The dates are:

Use of behavioural triggers in email

The results from our survey show that a fifth of marketers (20%) currently implement behavioural email marketing based on web activity, a 43% increase year-on-year.

Further to this, 39% of respondents are planning to use behavioural email targeting.

Which of the following practices are a part of your email marketing efforts?

This obviously means that 41% of marketers currently have no immediate plans to begin using behavioural targeting in their email marketing.

According to Andrew Campbell, managing director of SixC Limited, marketers need to be more willing to explore the capabilities offered to them by email technology vendors.

Marketers need to raise expectations and pursue a more ambitious approach to achieving best practice in their email campaigns.

The technology vendors have done their part by standardising features such as: CRM integration; data management; dynamic content rendering; behavioural retargeting; social integration; testing and optimisation.

Marketers must look to leverage these to deliver enhanced customer experiences and ultimately greater ROI.

Campbell also said that two of the most successful email initiatives he had seen recently had involved behavioural retargeting based on web activity.

One was following up on abandoned search activity and the other exploration of loyalty point redemption alternatives. 

In both cases a timely, triggered email follow up with relevant content achieved saw a step change in open and click-through rates versus standard campaign metrics. 

I believe that this tactic will increasingly become mainstream over the next year or two.

Automation triggers

The Email Census also investigates the type of automation triggers that marketers are currently employing.

The most commonly used triggers are subscriptions (65%) or website visits (59%), which are a very basic form of automation.

Other behavioural triggers, such as basket abandonment (37%) and engagement with content (28%), are far less common.

Do you send out automated emails based on the following triggers or behaviour?

David Moth

Published 7 May, 2015 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (6)

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Zo Zhou, Marketing specialist at Traction Digital

Thanks for calling this out. Behavioural data is the most valuable "free" data out there, and no one has to even fill out any forms! Yet too often it's sitting in another silo.

We've found that the main problem isn't always lack of awareness, but difficulty with implementation and integration. We've seen a real uptick in marketers coming to us just to set something up because they just don't have the skills in house, and so many platforms fail to provide affordable services.

over 3 years ago


Pakhi Bagai, Marketing at Nudgespot

This is spot on. Businesses don't realize that behaviour based messaging the easiest way to engage or re-engage not just B2C customers, but even B2B ones. It enhances customer experience for your products/services at very little cost - as low as $39 a month or even for free if you are a small business.

Too many teams have bought expensive licenses (here's looking at you Marketo and Eloqua) for software that just does one thing and one thing only. There are solutions out there that make life easier for a lot of functions:

Customer support: Expect to vastly reduce time handling inbound requests and concentrate on better on boarding practices

Marketing: Send both, transactional + trigger/automated messaging (email, SMS, push notifications, webhooks etc) and see customer data across all channels

Product Management: Understand your product value and get quality feedback on features in time from the right set of users so you don't get into a product death cycle

Engineering: Free your code from messaging logic & reduce code maintenance. Let marketing take the reins over scheduling, changing and testing messages

This is a no-brainer and a really quick way to improve customer acquisition and retention.

over 3 years ago

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, Founder and Author at Fresh Relevance

Good Report.

The low takeup may be partly explained because Triggered Messages work a lot better for big companies, compared to small. As ballpark figures, if your Website is turning over less than $250k per year then it's probably not worth the effort. If more than $500k per year, then a typical business *must* send them.

Also behavioural triggers are not an on/off thing. They depend critically on how successful your marketing platform is at identifying visitors - comparing a good specialist platform vs a standard free plugin gives 4x the sales uplift.

over 3 years ago


Katie W, Social Media Specialist at Email Campaigns

Interesting stats. No doubt that, personalized and tailored email content exceeds non-personal messaging. Surprised more email marketers aren't using such complex behavioral triggers to boost their lead gen efforts. Although it does mean an increase in resources and time investment, the end result can drive a business’ ROI exponentially. Definitely worth the added cost.

over 3 years ago


Rossella Minguzzi, Marketing Architect at Otto

Hey guys, great article. Can anyone recommend a tool that does it all? Cold Newsletters, Event triggered mailing, user segmentation, time based triggers...

about 3 years ago

Jonathan Porter Ross

Jonathan Porter Ross, Channel Sales Manager DACH at Teradata GmbH

Hi Rossella! Thanks for your comment. I would love to talk more. According to the undertone above, I think you would appreciate a robust solution with experience bringing an integrated solution to market. I'll try contacting you on LinkedIn if you don't mind. Alternatively, you can reach me by search for "Jonathan Porter Ross". Cheers!

about 3 years ago

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