Audience targeting can be one of the most helpful tools in a business’ marketing tactics, however not many people may actually know about it. So what is Audience targeting and how can it help you?

At some point in your life, you’ve probably played the game 20 Questions. If not, it goes something like this: one person thinks of an object, but doesn’t tell anyone else what it is. You have to figure it out by asking yes or no questions, and you only get 20 chances. For example:

Is it blue?

Can I carry it on my back?

Will it explode if I put it in the microwave?

The more detailed and creative your questions, the greater chance you have of guessing correctly before your 20 questions run out. (If you were playing at home, I was thinking of a Shetland pony. Better luck next time.)

Finding a likely customer online is a lot like playing 20 questions. You have limited time and resources, and a million possibilities, but you have to reach the particular audience that has a need for your products or services.

If you’re selling deck installations, your questions might sound like this: Are you interested in home improvement? How often do you shop online? Are you planning on building a backyard deck this year?

And that, in a nutshell, is Audience Targeting

When it comes to Audience targeting, these sort of questions and answers are like a sort of checklist or filtering system. If the consumer checks off all the boxes that you specify you want your ads to service, then those consumers can get shown the ads. How you specify these would depend on what products or services you offer, who your ideal audience is, and the goals of your marketing campaign. There are all sorts of ways you can go about segmenting your audience. Let’s go through a few big ones.

Target by Interests

If you know your audience is really interested in a certain topic, you can place your ads on website that serve those interests, and in turn reach the audience with those interests. Depending on the topic and the site, there can be hundreds of pages and sections that touch on those topics, and thus thousands of touch points for your consumers.

Unfortunately, this is the point where many businesses stop. Just buying loads of impressions in targeted content is like asking three of your 20 questions and giving up.

Target by Behavior

If You’ve ever visited a website, your data has more than likely been collected by the websites you visit. Whether it’s pages visited, videos watched, devices used. Combining that first-party data with third-party data, you can start to pain a clear picture of what your audience really looks like.

From there you can segment your audience based on those past behaviors. Pinpoint the behaviors that are important to you, and then serve your ads to only those visitors.

Target by Demographics

The term demographics refers to statistical information about a particular group of people: age, sex, education, income, employment status and more. Demographic marketing is nothing new – but in the age of “Big Data” more information is available than ever before.

You’ll need to zero in on the data that best represents your target audience. For instance, you probably wouldn’t market baby shoes to Baby Boomers. Or tree trimming services to homeowners across the state. Which brings us to …

Target by Location

Location, location, location. For smaller local businesses, especially, targeting the right location is critical. You wouldn’t want to market your local corner store or that little cafe in Boston to audiences across the country in LA

And in the Mobile Age, it’s increasingly important for every business to reach audiences where they are. With geo-targeting, you can serve specific mobile ads based on a person’s location – 50% off coffee inside, sale happening here – in real-time.

Target with Re-messaging

Technology has made it possible to see where consumers have been online and what they’ve clicked. If that sounds creepy, don’t worry – that data is anonymous. You can see what’s happening, not the specific person who’s doing it.

But it does allow you to do something smart called “re-messaging.” When someone visits your website or sees your ad, you can show that person another message later, in a different location or on another site, to stay top of mind.

For example, when your lawn care website is visited by a consumer, even if they don’t contact you or make a purchase, you can then send them a message with your ad when they are looking through a separate website, whether it be a blog they read, a different lawn care site, and more.

You don’t have to do this all yourself, of course. Your media strategist will help match your goals to the right content, the right data and the right ad networks. You just have to decide how to celebrate your higher ROI. Looking for a digital expert to get you started? Contact us today.