Digital Marketing Tools for Behavior Change

Posted: June 4, 2018

Are you trying to reach an audience not in the hopes of selling wares, but in an effort to change behavior? If so, digital marketing for behavior change can help get you there.

With so much of life being lived online, the digital world has become a convenient gateway to the audience you want to reach. And because behavior change happens over a period of time, digital is an affordable way to stay in front of your targeted audience.

Guided by the tenants of behavior change marketing, digital tools help get your behavior change message across to your target audience.

What is behavior change marketing?

Behavior change marketing, also known as social marketing, involves adapting the principles of traditional marketing in order to effect a positive behavior change.

It involves a deep understanding of an identified target audience in order to better understand the barriers that exist and what might be helpful in motivating them to change.

Make it fun, easy, and popular

When you want to change behavior, there are three things you need to do – you need to make that new behavior fun, easy, and popular.

Make it Fun. What’s the perceived benefit of making the behavior change? The idea of “What’s in it for me?” is a very basic, human emotion. We all want to do something that benefits us in a very personal way. To change behavior, you need to understand this emotion and speak to it when you communicate with your target audience.

Make it Easy. Is the behavior change possible? Does your target audience feel like this change is something they CAN do? You will have much greater success if your audience feels like the behavior change is doable.

Make it Popular. Who’s enacting the behavior change? The idea of popular is all about social norms. No one wants to be the only one doing something…nor does anyone want to be the only one not doing something. Making a new behavior popular helps in both instances.

In short, social marketing is all about finding out which behaviors your target audience values, are able to accomplish, and are “normal” to the given population.

Digital marketing and behavior change

Digital marketing offers a variety of potent tools that can be used to drive behavior change.

Targeting is key and enables you to more closely reach your specific audience.

Facebook has some potent targeting capabilities. Ads are not targeted based on a keyword being searched, but rather on rich demographic and psychographic data known about social media users. Ads can promote content designed to inform and engage the target audience.

Ethos/VONT client, Maine SNAP-Ed launched a Facebook growth campaign in May 2015 in its efforts to teach low income parents how to shop, cook, and eat healthy food on a limited budget.

Using Facebook’s targeting tools, the campaign targeted female parents with very low income who have at least some high school experience, or are interested in coupons, freebies, money saving deals, etc.  The like ads promote the SNAP-Ed Facebook page and show in users’ News Feeds (both mobile & desktop) and the right column.

Programmatic Digital Advertising
Programmatic ads are placed using artificial intelligence (AI) and real-time bidding (RTB) for online display, social media advertising, mobile, and video campaigns.

VONT used programmatic advertising to find those distinct websites the Maine SNAP-Ed audience visited.  How? By targeting websites found through Google searches for terms such as ‘low income health eating’, ‘cheap healthy meals’, and ‘budget family meals’.

Landing Page/Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Targeted ads with calls-to-action that lead to specific landing pages work in tandem to lead your audience to you – and to the specific action you wish them to take.

Optimizing the landing page (CRO) further increases the likelihood that the action will be taken.

Maine SNAP-Ed used content promotion and marketplace campaigns to drive users to external landing pages or the Maine SNAP home page.

SNAP-Ed moms who want to feed their family healthy meals, but think it is too expensive see banner ads on coupon sites and sites related to bargain hunting. When they click on an ad, they are sent to landing pages where they see content demonstrating that healthy food can be budget friendly.

(If you’d like to learn more about how to optimize a landing page, be sure to download our free 12 Steps to a Better Performing Optimized Landing Page.)

Social Media
Social media can be a key tactic in building engagement with your audience. But you can’t just create a page and assume it will grow organically. There has to be a strategy and money behind it.

Maine SNAP-Ed’s Facebook Likes campaign started with the creation of their Facebook page, and now has over 2,300 likes. Ads run each month.

The result? After a year, the average conversion rate of those who click on the ad and then like the page is a whopping 59%.

Video can be more powerful than words, and digital video is less expensive than TV and has the added punch of targeting capabilities.

Ethos/VONT client The Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (SAMHS) created a series of YouTube Advertising videos targeting parents to encourage better modeling behavior around their own alcohol usage and young adults to discourage binge drinking.

The campaign began in April 2015 and has produced over 895,000 impressions, 130,000 views (30 seconds), and 2,000 clicks with a cost per view of $0.17.

Measures of Success
Organizations working on behavior change frequently have to work with independent evaluators who oversee their efforts. Digital marketing’s built-in analytics makes it easy and effortless to demonstrate success of campaigns.

Take for example Maine SNAP-Ed’s Facebook campaign. Monthly analytics provide hard numbers on clicks, clickthrough rates, cost-per-click, number of likes, cost per like, and conversion rate.  After a year, the campaign enjoys a cost-per-like of $2.02.

With digital, evaluators know exactly how effective expenditures have been over the day, week, month, and year.

The Bottom Line

Behavior change doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time to effect change. Digital is an affordable way to continue to stay in front of the target audience. In addition, built-in analytics mean its effortless to evaluate the efficacy of digital programs.

About VONT Performance Digital Marketing

At VONT we believe that change is the only constant in the digital world – and that excites us. When tools and environments are constantly changing, new opportunities to help our clients achieve success are constantly arising. Each new advertising technology, social platform, or design approach allows us to improve on the results we achieve for our clients.

We believe in this idea of continual fine-tuning so much that we named our company VONT, which means to achieve exponential improvement in incremental steps. It is our core belief, and the reason why we are not simply a web design company or simply a digital advertising agency, but rather a long-term, single source partner providing a comprehensive array of web development and digital marketing capabilities.

In short, we’re here so that our clients achieve success in the ever-changing digital world. If you’d like to learn more about VONT and the work we’ve done with our client partners, visit our Work page. Or, if you have a question, or contact us. We’ll get right back to you!