Audience targeting

Learn everything about audience targeting — its definition, types, impact, methods, and best practices.

Archana R
March 8, 2023
9 min read

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Table of Contents

What is audience targeting?

Audience targeting is the practice of taking your entire audience of prospective customers and grouping them into segments based on various criteria, including demographics, interests, behavioral characteristics, and previous engagement with the brand. By leveraging audience targeting, you can create more personalized and engaging experiences for your customers, which can lead to increased brand loyalty, higher conversion rates and better ROI for your marketing campaigns.

Initially, audience targeting was a process for brands to create content or ads specifically for people who were more likely to purchase their products by using a defined set of criteria to narrow down their target audience. The process of audience targeting began with narrowing down prospects based on primary and secondary criteria such as audience profile and demographics and has evolved to creating granular target segments based on customer journey analytics and behavioral data.

Types of audience targeting

When targeting an audience for your advertising campaigns, you can choose from a variety of segments. Here's a brief description of the audience segment types you can use for targeting in your campaigns:

Demographic targeting

Demographic targeting allows you to reach a specific set of potential customers who are likely to be within a particular age, gender, parental status or income range. For example, if you're launching a shoe exclusively for women, demographic targeting could help you avoid showing your ads to men.

Geographic targeting

Geographic targeting allows your ads to appear in the geographic locations you choose, including countries, areas within a country, a radius around a location, or location groups, which can include your business locations or areas of interest. For instance, businesses with multiple locations can display localized ads by targeting specific people around each location.

Placement, device and platform targeting

Placement targeting allows you to choose specific positions and sites where your ads should appear in the channel. Device targeting allows you to target users based on the device they're using. For example, if you're promoting your mobile app, you probably want to promote it on mobile devices only.

Behavior and interest targeting

Behavioral targeting enables you to target niche audiences who have shown an interest in your product or content related to your product. These preferences and interests are measured through people's social media profiles and their engagements, browsing activity and offline purchase behavior. For instance, furniture brands can show their ads to users who want to gather ideas for their brand new home by targeting based on the year their home was built.

Keyword and topic targeting

By choosing keywords specific to your product and service, you can ensure that your ads appear within particular search results on social media or search engines. Keyword targeting is a great practice that ensures your potential customers transition to your page or app in a more natural way. This mode of targeting enables social media users to find you based on what they're already searching for. It's also easy to exclude negative keywords or topics to avoid wasting impressions on irrelevant content.

Custom audience targeting and retargeting

If you already have first-party information on your existing or prospective customers, such as users who clicked on your website, responded to your survey, visited your store or subscribed to your service, it's even easier to target such users effectively. Let's say you're a streaming service provider. A sequel to one of your biggest shows is being released next week. If you have information on users who watched the first season, then you have a target group that is very likely to watch the second season.

Targeting using third-party data

Third-party data providers can provide rich, in-depth data about your consumers and their behaviors. You can use this information to fill in gaps and get a complete profile of your target users so you can have personalized interactions with them for your email marketing or customer care conversations.

Importance of audience targeting

Audience targeting is crucial to the success of any advertising campaign, and there are several reasons why it should be a top priority for businesses.

Reaching the right people

One of the most important reasons for audience targeting is to ensure that your ads are reaching the right people. By defining your target audience and tailoring your messaging to their needs and interests, you can improve the effectiveness of your ads and increase the chances of converting them into customers. Without audience targeting, you risk wasting valuable ad spend on people not interested in your product or service.

Increasing relevance and engagement

When you target a specific audience, you can create more relevant and engaging content that speaks directly to their interests and needs. This helps to capture their attention and keep them engaged with your brand. By providing value to your audience, you can build trust and establish your brand as an authority in your industry.

Improving ROI

Effective audience targeting can also help to improve your return on investment (ROI). By focusing your ad spend on a specific group of people, you can reduce wasted spend and increase the likelihood of converting those people into customers. This can lead to more revenue and a higher ROI for your advertising efforts.

Gathering valuable data

When you target a specific audience, you can gather valuable data on their behavior and preferences. This data can be used to improve your targeting efforts in the future and create even more effective ads. By analyzing this data, you can gain insights into your audience's needs and interests, which can help you to make informed decisions about your marketing strategies.

Overall, audience targeting is an essential part of any advertising campaign. By taking the time to define your target audience and tailoring your messaging to their needs and interests, you can increase the effectiveness of your ads, improve engagement and ultimately drive more revenue for your business.

How does audience targeting work?

Audience targeting works by collecting and analyzing data about your audience, and then segmenting them based on various criteria such as demographics, psychographics, behavior and other contextual factors. Once you have segmented your audience, you can then tailor your marketing messages to each group to increase the likelihood of conversion.

Here are the steps for implementing audience targeting:

Define your audience segments 

Identify the different groups within your audience based on factors such as age, gender, location, interests, behaviors and more.

Collect data 

Collect data from various sources including your website, social media channels, email campaigns and other marketing initiatives to build a more comprehensive view of your audience.

Analyze data 

Use analytics tools to analyze the data you've collected and identify patterns and trends that can inform your audience segmentation.

Create custom messages 

Tailor your marketing messages to each audience segment, using relevant content and messaging to speak directly to their needs and interests.

Test and refine 

Test your messaging and tactics with different audience segments, and use the insights you gain to refine your approach and optimize your results over time.

Difference between target market and target audience

Target market is a specific group of people or businesses to which a company intends to sell its products or services. This group is determined by demographics, such as age, gender, income, location, and occupation. 

Target audience, on the other hand, is a specific group of people or businesses that a company is trying to reach with its marketing messages. This group is determined by factors such as interests, behaviors, and psychographics.

Here are the key differences:

  • The target market is a broad group of potential customers, while the target audience is a more specific subset of the target market.

  • The target market is identified based on characteristics such as demographics, psychographics, behavior, and geography, while the target audience is identified based on more specific factors such as age, gender, income level, education level, lifestyle, and preferences.

  • The target market is the group of people to whom a business is marketing and selling its products or services, while the target audience is the group of people to whom a business directs its marketing and advertising efforts.

Audience targeting tips

Here are a few tips to make your audience targeting more effective:

Leverage audience insights 

Use audience insights to build a picture of who your ideal customer is, including demographics, interests, behaviors and more. This will help you understand what resonates with them and shape your messaging and targeting efforts accordingly.

Take advantage of lookalike audiences

Target people who share similar characteristics to your existing customers. This helps you expand your reach and find new potential customers who are more likely to be interested in your brand.

Don't ignore behavioral targeting

Behavioral targeting allows you to target people based on their past online behaviors, such as the pages they've visited or the actions they've taken. By using this type of targeting, you can create personalized messages that are tailored to their interests and behaviors.

Experiment with retargeting 

Retargeting allows you to target people who have already interacted with your brand in some way, such as by visiting your website or signing up for your email list. This type of targeting can be particularly effective for e-commerce brands looking to drive conversions.

Use multi-channel targeting

Targeting your audience across multiple channels, such as social media, search and email can help you reach them at different points in their customer journey and keep your brand top of mind. Additionally, by targeting them across multiple channels, you can reinforce your messaging and increase the chances of conversion.

How Sprinklr improves your audience targeting

Sprinklr’s Audience Insights can help you build a holistic view of your customers by centralizing first and third-party data across the web, social, email, e-commerce and CRM. With clear audience segments, you can generate, target and publish relevant ads at the most appropriate time, across multiple channels.

Audience Targeting

Audience targeting FAQs

1. How do you use audience targeting?

As consumers evolve on their journey with your brand, you should be reaching the right audiences with personalized advertising messages all along the way. To create the most appropriate audiences for your ad campaigns, audience segments must be created from customer profiles that include data points such as demographics and online behavior. 

2. What are examples of targeting?

When targeting an audience for your advertising campaigns, you can select from a wide range of segments. Here are a few examples:

  • If you are launching a shoe exclusively for women, demographic targeting could help you avoid showing your ads to men.

  • Businesses dispersed across different locations can show localized ads by targeting specific people around their location. 

  • If you promote your mobile app, you probably want to promote it only on mobile devices. 

3. What are four key ways to identify a target audience?

Determining your primary target audience is crucial when launching a business, or a product or service from your existing business. Geographic, demographic, psychographic and behavioral are the four levels of segmentation that can help define your business's primary target audience.

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