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Targeting In Online Advertising: How To Get The Right Prospects

There are two distinct forms of targeting; Audience and Contextual. Think of it as the Who and the Where.

  1. 1. Audience: Who do you want to show your ad to?
  2. Contextual: Where do you want your ad to be shown?

Audience targeting allows you to be more accurate when choosing who sees your ads.
In marketing and advertising, your audience is a particular group of consumers within the predetermined target market, identified as the targets or recipients for a particular advertisement or message.
Using audience targeting in AdWords is a way of segmenting your website’s users and reaching users around the web based on their behaviour online and the signal these actions send about their likes, interests and purchase patterns.



Audience targeting takes a number of forms:

  • Demographic targeting: Allows you to reach people who are likely to be within the age, gender, parental status and income that you choose.
  • Affinity Audiences: Lifestyle and interest profiles based on a user’s browsing behaviour.
  • In-Market audiences: Users who are more likely to be in-market to purchase a specific product or service based on their browsing behaviour.
  • Re-marketing: Target users who have previously visited your site, or provided their email address to you.
  • Similar Audiences: Create mirror audiences based on your remarketing lists or customer email lists.

Demographic targeting

  • You can set and adjust demographic targeting for age, gender, parental status and household income (if info is known).
  • “Unknown” in AdWords refers to people whose age, gender, parental status, or household income have not been identified.
  • You should not exclude “Unknown” age and genders from targeting as they often represent a large number of users. It is important to note that the system can only target if this information is known. It can know this if, for example, someone is using Chrome and is logged into their Google account while browsing, or if they’re signed into a YouTube account, where they have given this information. Otherwise, the system will do a “best guess” based on browsing behaviour. To exclude this segment is to significantly restrict your reach.
  • People mostly fall into the “unknown category” for display, however, this is much more accurate for YouTube, and as such, it is not advised for Display campaigns. Change the default settings which is to target all demographics.

Affinity Audiences

  • If you’re familiar with TV audiences, you’re already familiar with the concept of an affinity audience.
  • Affinity audiences are good for brand awareness. It is the broadest audience target available and reaches people at the beginning of their buying journey.
  • When using affinity audience targeting, you are targeting people who have shown an affinity for your product or service in their internet behaviour – based on the content they interact with, past purchases and websites they frequently visit. You have options such as Beauty Junkies or Outdoor Enthusiasts for example.
  • You can also create Custom Affinity audiences by blending interests together for a specific cross-section of users, such as Travel Buffs who are also interested in Health & Fitness, to advertise Hiking Holidays too.

In-market audiences

  • When user transitions from being interested in a subject to actively beginning their buying journey, they become in-market.
  • In-market audiences are good for reaching people who are in the middle to end of their buying cycle.
  • A user is counted as part of an in-market audience for 7-days, up to the point they make a purchase or stop showing any signals of purchase intent.
  • As a result of targeting people who are already actively shopping or searching for your product or service in such a short period of time, it means that the reach can be smaller compared to an affinity audience, however, it is far more targeted and dynamic in how users are constantly joining and leaving this audience.Action Point

    PS: I know you might agree with some of the points that I have raised in this article. You might not agree with some of the issues raised. Let me know your views about the topic discussed. We will appreciate it if you could drop your comment. Thanks in anticipation.

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