What is audience targeting, and why do you need it?

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Before I knew about audience targeting, I would think to myself - how do these brands know exactly what I'm interested in?

For example, during lockdown I was swiping through my Instagram Stories, and came across one displaying gourmet scented candles that looked good enough to eat. I’m constantly looking at art and design pages, and since lockdown I’ve been researching scented candles to spruce up my home office, so this naturally caught my attention because it combined all three interests perfectly.

CandleCan is the brand that caught my attention, and it is one of many social media accounts which demonstrates a deep knowledge of their audience – to the point where they can target people based on their specific interests and demographics.

According to HubSpot, audience targeting is “the method of separating consumers into segments based on interests or demographic data. Marketers should use audience targeting to formulate campaigns that will align directly with their consumers’ lifestyles.”

When you segment your audience, think of the type of audience you want to reach for a specific campaign or product, and which interests and demographics you need to focus on. The most helpful demographics to consider in the audience targeting world are age, average income, interests, location, and gender. Your target audience’s interests are a little harder to pinpoint, but think about them as the values and motivations that impact a consumer’s buying journey.

Going back to my CandleCan example, for this ad, we might target homeowners and tenants and/ or people who are interested in art, design, décor, and home improvement. Or we could use Pixel to target users who have visited the CandleCan website purchase page but didn’t complete the purchase. We could even target people who have recently liked CandleCan’s Facebook or Instagram posts.

Audience targeting allows you to generate leads, which ensures you’re using your marketing resources and time in the right places, and for the right people. You also won’t have to waste your precious ad spend on audiences that won’t deliver a high return on investment.

Here are three steps you can take to know more about your target audience:

Step 1: Learn more about your target audience through analytics

It’s incredible how much Google and social media analytics can tell you about your audience. For more detail on this, read Dom’s blog post explaining how measurable digital marketing really is.

Step 2: Research your target audience by engaging with them

Analytics can only go so far in some instances – at which point it’s time to actually engage with your customers. This can be in-person, simply by asking them, through an Instagram poll, email marketing, or even holding a focus group.

Step 3: Run an A/B test to make sure your content targets your audience

A/B testing allows you to test your content before driving it, so it helps to reduce the risk of your audience not engaging with it. A/B testing is an experiment that divides your audience into two groups – A and B – who will try out your content and provide feedback to help you improve it. For example, if you have two different Facebook page likes ads and you want to know which one will perform better, you can run an A/B test to help you choose which ad targets your audience better.

Targeting audiences is seriously important, especially in our digital age, where we’re bombarded with tons of information and have developed the attention spans of goldfish. Although it may sound intimidating, it’s just a matter of knowing your customer, and keeping them at the heart of your targeted ads and content, so that you can achieve a high return on investment for your company. If you’d like help with your targeting, chat to us to set up a free consultation: hello@theyellowdoor.co.za

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