Savvy business owners understand that digital marketing efforts will only be successful if they reach the right people at the right time. For instance, ads from a car dealership will be much less effective on consumers that just bought a car versus consumers that are actively searching for a new vehicle. Moreover, those ads will likely be more effective on people within a certain mile radius than individuals who live far away from the dealership.
As the above example illustrates, it's essential to 'make your blows count' in the world of digital marketing. This is where the concept of digital targeting comes into play.
What is Digital Targeting?
Simply put, digital targeting is a way to aim your ads at the people most likely to buy from your brand. Digital targeting (referred to as "audience targeting" or "microtargeting" in some contexts) can be defined as: "A marketing strategy that uses people's data — about what they like, who they're connected to, what their demographics are, what they've purchased, and more — to segment them into small groups for content targeting."
In the example of the car dealership mentioned above, digital targeting would involve consumers' segmentation into specific groups. The highest value group would be consumers that are (a) actively looking for a car and (b) residing within a certain mile radius of the car dealership. If the car dealership can aim the bulk of their ads at this group of consumers, they will likely gain a much higher ROI from their marketing efforts.
Why Digital Targeting is Essential
It should come as no surprise that digital targeting is an essential component of almost any effective marketing strategy in today's Internet Age. Some key advantages associated with digital targeting include:
- The ability to get your marketing in front of those who want to see it
- The ability to introduce your brand to those who fit your segmented target audience
- The power to retarget those who have come into contact with your brand but didn't complete a transaction
Just how essential is digital targeting in terms of business growth? According to Tammy Duggan-Herd, a director of marketing at the digital marketing firm Campaign Creators, her agency saw a 744% boost in organic traffic within 12 months after shifting to a content strategy informed by audience targeting. That's a fantastic ROI!
How to Implement Digital Targeting
What practical steps can you take to implement digital targeting in your overall marketing plan? Here are six suggestions that can help:
- Use existing insights and data to determine your target audience. You can mine your brand's transaction history database, purchase data from a market research company, reach out to consumers directly via focus interviews/groups, or even employ cutting AI (artificial intelligence) customer modeling to obtain the information that you need.
- Find out where your consumers are spending their time and when. For instance, do your target consumers spend a lot of time on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram? Do they shop online, and if so, where? Do they watch cable TV, OTT content, or both? Answering these and related questions is a critical step in implementing digital targeting (and can also help you plan out your marketing budget for the year).
- Select digital marketing tactics that can best reach your target audience. If you know that your audience likes to watch a particular show from a streaming service, you can set up ads for that specific platform and program. Or, if your target audience is a younger demographic that spends a lot of time on social media, you can leverage Facebook Ads and other marketing systems for ad delivery.
- Develop ad creative that will appeal to your target audience and work best on the chosen platform. For instance, references to the Andy Griffith Show might not appeal to Millennials; but bringing in references to "K-dramas" will likely capture the attention of many young consumers. Moreover, while ad creative should be "on-brand," there is a vast difference in approach between a 30-second commercial on an OTT platform and a display ad that the user may only see for a few brief seconds.
- Run ads that target (or retarget) your audience after they visit your website. Retargeting visitors to your website via a tracking pixel (or "cookie") is an excellent way to drive "second chance business" — in other words, business from consumers that don't buy on the initial visit but come back to complete the transaction. With retargeting, you can either show the same ad to the consumer or even deliver a new ad in the hope of securing a conversion.
- Create a compelling CTA. You want your call-to-action to be clear, engaging, and drive a specific outcome. Be sure to use a powerful and active verb in your CTA, e.g., "Download Now," "Join Today," etc.
In summary, digital targeting is an excellent avenue for leveraging consumer data to your advantage. It allows you to put your ads in front of high-value consumers that are interested in your product. If you implement digital targeting correctly, then you'll likely see significant growth in your business for weeks, months, and years to come.