How to target your digital advertising campaigns

by Garth Stirling
May 4, 2020

Speaking to the right person, in the right place, at the right time is crucial for a great campaign.

But thinking about who to target for your digital campaigns can be daunting. The possibilities for targeting are endless, so where do you start?

Here are 4 considerations to nail your audience targeting:

1. Use what you already know about your audience

The best way to begin targeting your campaign is by using the existing knowledge you have.

Use results from market research or documented strategies as a starting point.

Take demographic data (age, gender), psychographic data (interests, behaviours) and contact data (emails, phone numbers) you already have and use it to plan out your campaign.

For example, through existing research, a medical charity may know their donor base consists of two distinct segments: those with the condition and those who know someone with the condition. They know these audiences will respond to different messages, so segmentation by these audiences should form the basis of their targeting.

If you lack this data, don’t fret! There are plenty of other ways to figure out your target audience.

2. Past results give an indication of future performance

Campaigns should be an iterative process, with data from one campaign informing the next.

Before diving into targeting, look at what worked (and what didn’t) in the last campaign. Find out who was more likely to convert, and who was most engaged. If you tested new markets in the previous campaign, consider including these markets in this campaign.

To gain best campaign performance for our campaigns, we need a test-and-learn approach, and those learnings should be put into action.

For example, one of our clients that traditionally works with older audience groups has been testing a new, younger audience with promising results. For their next campaign, we would target this new audience.

Your always-on communications and campaigns should work in tandem as an insights loop. Take learnings from your always-on marketing, such as audiences and creative types, to inform your campaigns.

3. Target based on your objectives and budget

Your objectives depend on your budget. Lower budgets lend themselves to niche targeting options, say existing supporters or your Facebook fans, and larger budgets can allow for broad awareness objectives and prospecting new users.

Become the Goldilocks of campaign targeting: don’t be too targeted, nor too broad. Too narrow and you’ll limit your reach, too broad and you’ll be talking to disinterested audiences.

For awareness objectives you can go out to broader audience segments.

For consideration and conversion objectives, your targeting should be more segmented to understand which precise audiences are converting and then your budget aligned to these audiences.

4. Target your audience through a mix of data points

There are three types of data you can use to reach out to your audience: first party, second party and third party data.

First party is data you own —it will be cheaper and easier to use. This could be email addresses you have from people who are on your database, they may have signed a petition or given a small donation.

You can get this data from your CRM or email database and use this information to reach out to your audience through email or social media.

Second party is someone else’s first party data. This could be, for example, the email lists of a corporate partner. Use this in the same way as first party data as a way to expand your audience.

Third party data is owned by platforms like Facebook and Google. This is the data they collect when you interact with their platforms—your interests, the things you search for, your age and gender.

This data is extremely powerful and insightful, and can bridge gaps in your first-party data.

Say you wanted to reach out to fans of a particular celebrity ambassador in your campaign, you could target their fans on Facebook in Ads Manager.

The best campaigns use a good mix of first and third party data.

These considerations can help you understand who to target and how to reach them. Knowing how to get results means using past knowledge from campaigns and your organisation, targeting based on objectives and budget and using a mix of data points to speak to your supporters.

If you want insights on how to use Facebook for growth, we’re running a webinar with ProBono Australia on May 7th.