Audience targeting

Audience targeting can open doors. The question is whether you’re opening the right doors, enough of them, or too many to execute a successful campaign. What can be more powerful than getting the right message to the right customer, at the right time?

While there’s no single strategy that works for every campaign (because everybody’s goals are different), we’ve found the following three steps provide the best, most consistent results for most companies.

Start with geography

Location should be your first consideration. Geo-targeting is obviously important for budgeting limited ad dollars: you want to spend where your customers are (or are most likely to be). It’s important to do it first because it’s the quickest and easiest way to narrow your potential audience.

When targeting by geography, there are two basic approaches: IP address targeting, which targets the current ZIP code of a particular device and Geo-content targeting, which targets the geography a user most often reads about.

A person who lives in Brewerton and works in Syracuse may fall under both geo-audiences, and it’s appropriate to target using both methods.

In fact, the best approach is usually to combine the two. That way, you’ll find your target audience at work, at home and at play on whatever device they’re using to connect to the internet.

Target by behavior and interests

What is the audience’s intent? What are they interested in? This factor will always trump more generic demographics when it comes to zeroing in on the right audience.

The real power of behavior and interest targeting lies in how people use the web. We don’t give up much information about who we are (demographics) as we browse – but the sites we visit, the ads we click and the content we consume speak volumes about what we’re interested in and what we’re shopping for right now.

For example, let’s say you’re selling a luxury sedan. It’s good to know how many in your audience are financially able to afford it (demographic targeting). It’s better to know which ones have recently read about the latest Lexus and searched for the Audi A6 in auto listings (the behavioral targeting method).

Filter with demographics

This is where you can further shape your audience, if needed. You’ve found an interested group in the right location, but your aim could still be too wide of the mark. Or there may be too many members in the audience to effectively reach them all.

At this point, targeting by demographics like gender or income can help fine-tune your approach.

Many in the audience, no matter how interested, will simply lack the means to make a purchase. Maybe certain demographic segments haven’t historically shown a tendency to buy. All good things to know, so that you only target impressions to those that are most likely to want your product or service.

This isn’t a foolproof formula – no formula ever is. Like all marketing and advertising, we recommend you take three more steps: test, measure and adjust.

Expect everything to change

The digital marketing world is moving rapidly. What was common practice just two years ago is totally different. Keep reading. Meet with your digital agency representative. Ask questions. They’re there to help you navigate these crazy waters.