Strategy

Ask Kate: How Should You Target Your Digital Audience?

This week, D Custom’s director of digital media strategy, Kate Crouse, sat down to talk to me about targeting digital audiences. My key takeaways:

  • Kate is a digital marketing genius
  • Facebook and Google potentially know more about me than my own mother, thus
  • My online shopping problem is no happy accident

Related: Check out a few of our secrets for effective target marketing.  

Here’s a peek of our conversation:

Let’s set the stage. Where are we with targeting digital audiences today?

Organic search/posting used to be all you needed: Your brand could have 200,000 followers, throw something up on your Facebook page, and reach a huge percentage of those people.

Now, Facebook has changed its algorithm and relies more heavily on paid advertising on social media (I focus on Facebook because they and Google are currently carrying the flag in terms of highly specific audience targeting platforms). And they built Facebook Ads Manager, which was a gift to marketers everywhere.

What makes Facebook Ads Manager awesome?  

Ads Manager is probably the most intuitive, user-friendly targeting platform you could imagine. Anybody can do it, and it’s robust and highly customizable. For instance, you can build a Facebook ad targeted at someone who:

  • Lives in Boston,
  • Has a net worth of more than $250,000,
  • Works for Coca-Cola, and
  • Has children.

The demographics and interests you can dig into are incredibly specific (they partnered with large database companies like Acxiom to gather information that you may not have provided to Facebook).

Here’s what it looks like:

As a marketer, that’s great, because you’re not just throwing your content out to the masses in hopes of reaching the right people. I click on Facebook advertising more than anywhere else because it blends so well with other content and it’s all tailored to me.

Facebook isn’t the only one with a great targeting platform — LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram all have it, but their targeting capabilities aren’t quite as strong as those of Google AdWords and Facebook.

How does Google AdWords fit in with all this?

Google is the most prevalent search engine, so it’s hugely important to identify keywords that matter most to both your consumer and your content. The ability to anticipate what your audience will type into their search bar and then appear at the top of their results is priceless. Just be sure you strike a happy medium between proactive brand building (like posting and creating content) and paid engagement.

In general, how do you see our clients doing in terms of targeting?

It’s a good mix. Some businesses pick it up quickly and use social media and targeting in the right way. On the other hand, we have a few clients who feel overly inundated with choice. An amazing, brilliant piece of content can easily fall flat because it doesn’t reach the appropriate audience, yet pinning down exactly who that audience is can be overwhelming. That’s where we step in to help with goal-setting and strategy.

Any last words of advice for those delving into audience targeting?

Don’t try to serve a message too broadly. You want to be able to target specific messages against certain segments to see what resonates and go from there. Try targeting six or seven versions of an ad from the same business to a certain demographic and see which one is most successful. Testing is one of the most important steps that people often skip just for the sake of sending a message — regardless of who it’s going to or if it’ll work at all.

Last week, Paul talked about what he sees as the future of digital advertising. How do you see targeting efforts growing and changing in the coming years?

It’s only going to continue to improve. It’s not going to be just Facebook or Google who has information on you. The more we live our lives online, the brands and publications will cater to our specific preferences and needs. Every website will tailor their content to who you are and what you are interested in so that everywhere you go, you’ll only encounter information that you want to see.

Have more questions for Kate? Drop her a line, and be sure to keep up with what else we’re talking about on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

LET OUR EXPERTS GRADE YOUR CONTENT MARKETING EFFORTS. For a free, personalized content marketing audit straight from us, click here.