6 Digital Marketing Tactics for Behavior Change Marketers

For many years, behavior change marketers have relied on tactics such as direct mail, broadcast and print media to reach and motivate their target audiences. Today, the digital landscape offers new opportunities for efficiency, effectiveness, and measurement with the ability to transform and improve behavior change campaigns immensely. Coupled with tried and true social marketing strategies, these 6 digital tactics can help to increase reach, decrease spend, and optimize target audience conversions.

  1. Digital Targeting

Targeting is a critical digital tactic that enables you to more closely reach your specific audience, without wasting advertising dollars communicating to those who don’t fit your demographic or psychographic profile. All digital media platforms include some level of either demographic (targeting based on age, gender, location) or psychographic targeting (based on interests or attitudes). Platforms like Facebook and Instagram, however, have particularly potent capabilities. Ads on these platforms are not targeted based on a keyword being searched, but rather using rich demographic and psychographic data known about social media users. Ads on these platforms can promote content designed to inform and engage the target audience.

Ethos client, Maine SNAP-Ed launched a Facebook campaign in May 2015 in an effort to help low income parents to shop, cook, and eat healthy food on a limited budget. Using Facebook’s sophisticated targeting tools, the campaign reached only female parents with very low income who have at least some high school education and who may be interested in coupons, freebies, money saving deals, etc.  Ethos has now employed that same targeting and strategy working with the Purdue Nutrition Education Program to promote their SNAP-Ed programs to low-income mothers in Indiana.

  1. Programmatic Digital Advertising

Programmatic ads are digital ads placed using artificial intelligence (AI) and real-time bidding (RTB) for online display, social media advertising, mobile, and video campaigns. Ethos used programmatic advertising to buy placements on specific websites that Maine SNAP-Ed target audience members had visited. We identified the websites using Google searches for terms such as ‘low income healthy eating,’ ‘cheap healthy meals,’ and ‘budget family meals.’

Programmatic advertising is an excellent way to target your message to people within your demographic, wherever they are already surfing the web. It is a perfect addition, or alternative to broadcast advertising, which reaches a much broader, but less targeted and more expensive audience.

  1. 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. In addition, optimizing a landing page for conversions (known as Conversion Rate Optimization or CRO) further increases the likelihood that the desired action will be taken.

Maine SNAP-Ed used content promotion and marketplace campaigns to drive users to external landing pages as well as the Maine SNAP home page. SNAP-Ed moms who want to feed their family healthy meals, but think it is too expensive, were shown banner ads on coupon sites and sites related to bargain hunting. When they clicked on the ad, they were sent to landing pages where they could find content about how healthy food can be budget-friendly.

  1. 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 thrive organically. To be effective, there has to be a strategy and ongoing promotion to support it.

Maine SNAP-Ed’s Facebook campaign started with the creation of their Facebook page, which now has thousands of likes. Ads run each month promoting healthy eating videos and other content targeted at low income families. The result? After a year, the average conversion rate of those who click on the ad and then engage with the page is a whopping 59%.

  1. Video

Video is a powerful medium for capturing attention and motivating change, and digital video advertising is far less expensive than traditional TV. It also has the added punch of targeting capabilities – you only pay to reach the people you want to reach. Ethos’ 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 to discourage young adults from binge drinking. The campaign produced over 895,000 impressions, 130,000 views (30 seconds), and 2,000 clicks with a cost per view of only $0.17.

  1. Measures of Success

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

Take, for example. Maine SNAP-Ed’s Facebook campaign. Monthly analytics provide hard numbers on clicks, click-through rates, cost-per-click, number of likes, cost per like, and conversion rate. After a year, the campaign enjoyed a cost-per-like of just $2.02. With digital tactics, 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 affect change. Digital marketing is an affordable way to continue to stay in front of the target audience. In addition, built-in analytics make it easier to evaluate the efficacy of digital programs.


About Ethos

Ethos is a multiplatform branding and behavior change marketing agency that develops and executes integrated campaigns across multiple channels for organizations inside and outside Maine.

At Ethos, we believe that the most effective way to set an organization’s marketing course is by finding its core truth – its ethos. We know that once we discover and communicate that core truth, we can truly make a difference to each client’s unique marketing and business objectives.

With Ethos, you get more than a Maine marketing agency. You get a long-term partner whose goals are your goals.

Learn more about the Ethos approach and the work we’ve done for our clients. Want to have a conversation about your brand’s core truth? Contact us!