There you sit, searching online, maybe looking at a comfy new sweater or pair of boots to get you through winter. Or, maybe you’re looking at that 65” TV you hope Santa brings you for Christmas. Next thing you know, it seems like digital ads for those same products are following you around online for days, maybe even weeks after.

We’ve all been there… retargeted by digital advertising. While some find it annoying, most of us are used to the routine by now. Others might even think this is the only way that digital advertising works. Brands “stalk” us once we’ve taken a peek at their products or services. But this is far from the only way to target a specific audience online.

Audience targeting is as easy to define as its two words imply, targeting an audience or a specific group of people. Sounds pretty simple, right? If only! When you look at a more detailed definition – using data points available online to target segments of the population based on their demographics, interests and behaviors – now you might be wondering exactly how to reach that audience who’s going to buy your product or service and hopefully become a loyal customer.

Here’s where that little question, “Who is your customer?” becomes so important. Because defining who you’re trying to reach must come well before determining how to best advertise.

Even in traditional forms of marketing, audience targeting has always existed. Think about outdoor advertising – using billboards or other outdoor signage to target an audience that existed in a specific location. That was location targeting. Demographic targeting was and still is the primary way to target audiences in channels such as print, TV and radio.

Today, with digital and programmatic advertising, there are unique ways to audience target that simply didn’t exist before. Retargeting, people-based marketing and look-alike targeting are just a few. The chart below defines these and quite a few others.


Photo source: Goodway Group

You can target users who have visited your website and performed certain actions or viewed your creative. And while this retargeting was once only available through digital advertising, now traditional advertising is catching up. With advanced TV, we can now track users as they watch TV on streaming and on-demand services and serve them retargeted ads. I know, it’s that “stalking” thing brought to a whole new level!

People-based marketing is also unique to programmatic advertising. You can slice and dice your customer data, segmenting your audience in various ways. This makes the possibilities truly endless for cross-selling, loyalty programs and rewarding frequent customers.

Exclusion targeting lets you choose audience segments you don’t want to reach, making sure they are blocked from seeing your ads. This allows you to better focus your marketing dollars on people who are most likely to be prospective customers.

Finally, look-alike targeting allows you to create an audience that shares the same characteristics as your current customers. This can expand your reach to new people who have a higher likelihood of being interested in your products or services.

As you can see, digital and programmatic advertising offer so many opportunities to find and reach prospective customers. And in most cases, digital is still more cost-effective than most traditional forms of advertising, leveling the playing field for most organizations to compete with industry “giants.”

Whether you’re new to digital advertising or you’re looking to improve upon strategies already in place, Barcelona Creative Group can expand your digital marketing strategy for 2018 and help your business garner real results. Contact us today!

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