What Real-Time Analysis and Personalization Reveal About Buying Behavior

Learn not just what consumers say they want, but what their online behavior indicates they want

It’s part of human nature to say one thing and do or mean another. That’s why, as the saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.”


That’s also why tracking consumer behavior is so important throughout the automotive buying process. Marketers now have more access to information and data than they’ve ever had, but along with it comes the infinite possibility of a misstep or misfire.

One wrong message can turn away consumers instantly. After all, they have thousands of options and limited patience for mistakes made by brands.

But the world of unending consumer choice isn’t all doom and gloom. The key to accurate consumer behavior tracking is real-time analysis of both declared and undeclared user behavior: not just what consumers say they want, but what their online behavior indicates they want.

For example, if consumers visit an automotive website and declare via form or behavior that they are interested in SUVs, but then spend a majority of their time on the site looking at hatchbacks, it’s a safe bet that they aren’t as committed to their declared behavior as they may seem.

The question then becomes how to aggregate and assess these multiple levels of behavior. How consumers felt two weeks ago is useless—it’s how they feel now that’s important.

That’s why taking advantage of technology like real-time website personalization is a key. Personalization is enabled through a user’s engagement score, which takes into account factors including recency and frequency of website visits, along with propensity to buy.

This data informs the ability to target a customer with a pop-in or customized form that can change based on that person’s behavior. It’s the ideal convergence of declared and undeclared data.

It also acts as a secret weapon because it tracks behavior across multiple channels, enabling marketers to reach the same consumer on any given device with a relevant, sequential message.

The same tools that inform website personalization can also inform email content, search and display strategy, geo-location messaging, and additional remarketing tactics.

The ultimate result is a seamless consumer experience that helps push individual users through the purchase process with confidence. Ultimately, personalization is about an optimized consumer experience that increases the likelihood of a purchase.

A 2012 Accenture survey found that 73% of consumers reported that they prefer to do business with brands that use their information to customize the shopping experience. That is especially true in a high-consideration vertical like automotive, when consumers take more time to make decisions, and want to feel absolutely certain about them.

Real-time personalization based on declared and undeclared behavior is not about telling consumers that they don’t know what they want, but rather about delivering what they want before they know they want it. Trusting only one type of data alone—declared or undeclared—risks alienating potential buyers.

Creating strategy based on a user score that accounts for both types of behavior—and funnels that information into personalized interactions—is a surefire way to hit the mark of an improved online experience.

As chief revenue officer of IgnitionOne, Jonathan Baron is responsible for expanding revenue opportunities to benefit both advertising agencies and brand marketers, and oversees global sales efforts.

Jonathan Baron

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