The Top Three Targeting Methods for Internet Marketing

You know who your best audience is. You've done the market research and compiled mass amounts of analytics on past campaigns telling you exactly what segments of the consumer population are most likely to become your customers. Now, how do you reach them?

There are a number of popular audience targeting methods used for Internet marketing campaigns. Many advertisers are confused as to which ones to leverage and at what cost? For SEM or paid search, the targeting has historically been keyword and inventory based, perhaps with a frosting of geo-targeting on top. But what about display? Is the targeting being left in the hands of the Ad servers or exchange networks?

The Digital Advertising Big Picture
Digital advertising has been on the rise. It's not stopping, either. In the US, Forrester predicts that display advertising will grow from $8.4 billion at year-end to $17 billion in 2014. Online display advertising is growing and changing so quickly, audience targeting is more complex than ever. There are also more Internet users than ever, so how do you talk to the right ones at the right time and most importantly, the right price? Let's look at the top three categories of targeting being used today and the success rates of each.

  1. Standard Targeting - This category is for the highest level and most simplistic targeting methods that are almost always used in any Internet marketing campaign. These include location (geographic, time of day, languages), demographic (gender, age, economic spectrum, household income), technographic (browsers, operating systems, connection speeds, and screen resolutions), and inventory (Web sites, publishers, categories, and channels).
  2. Behavioral Targeting - The level of complexity here can be infinite. Advertisers can build custom behavioral targeting segments with multiple data points to configure an accurate behavioral profile. Behavioral targeting can yield high conversion rates when used properly. The important fact to consider is the more complex your BT segments, the less inventory available. As you limit your target audience, you also limit the range of inventory available for those select users.
  3. Retargeting - Retargeting (also called remarketing) involves placing a Beacon on a page to collect data on site visitors, tracking their behavior (such as uncompleted purchases), then serving ads to those visitors related to the same product or service. The conversion rate is often highest on retargeting tactics over any other targeting tactic because the audience has already demonstrated a certain level of interest by visiting the site.

All About the User Experience
In addition to boosting performance, a primary reason to execute a well-planned targeting strategy on your Internet Marketing campaigns is to deliver a better user experience for your prospects and customers. When you target specific audiences you can create relevant messages specifically for them. The more relevant your message, the more useful it is for the consumer. The ability to deliver relevant messages to different types of consumers is arguably the most important function of targeting.

But what about the bottom line? Of course, performance is also paramount.  In part two of this blog series, we'll discuss how to enhance targeting and boost performance.

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