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Apple and Cookies: Behavioral Targeting Food for Thought

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Important note: With confirmation of Apple, the timing and relevance of the two Apple emails I received on the same days I visited the photo book product page is purely co-incidental. Apple is not using behavioral targeting to trigger emails. I have officially entered the twilight zone because this really happened to me. Despite the sad truth that Apple wasn’t executing stellar behavioral targeting, I have decided to leave this post up as an example of what could happen in the future, as Internet marketing analytics and personalization tools evolve.

The Apple Store is a shining example of an ecommerce site that uses behavioral targeting to trigger very relevant emails.

For instance, on two occasions I have visited Apple’s website looking at its photo book creation page. The first time was in January, and I received this email the same day I visited the Apple Store (I apparently am on Apple’s mailing list though I don’t remember registering my work email with the site – perhaps Apple is that good):

The triggered email was relevant to the product I was viewing on the e-store, as well seasonally relevant (“Make last year’s memories last forever”).

I didn’t return to the site after receiving the email, until this week, when I visited that product page on the Apple Store again. Once more I received a seasonally relevant triggered email within 6 hours, reminding me that a photo book makes a great Mother’s Day gift:

Apple makes smart use of cookies and profile data (my email address) integrated with its email marketing program, showing what’s possible with targeted selling.

Have you spotted any examples like this in the wild? Or have you tried this tactic on your own store?

Linda Bustos
Linda Bustoshttp://www.elasticpath.com
Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.
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