Targeting audience segments vs. behaviors

Targeting audience segments vs. behaviors

By Austin Dicharry

When it comes to automatic advertising, there are two main approaches that companies can choose to take. The first involves targeting audience segments, meaning that they’re going after a specific group of people. If you have a product that is aimed at women between the ages of 28 and 40, for example, it’s only natural to want to target these people specifically with your campaign. The second technique involves targeting audience behaviors, meaning that you’re going after the types of people who are more likely to use the product in question based on activities that they’ve engaged in before. Targeting audience behaviors is always the better of those two choices for a number of important reasons.

When you’re targeting audience segments, you are doing literally that – gearing your marketing campaign towards the types of people that your product was intended for. Your campaign will likely go into full force based on demographics of certain sites or channels, for example. If the target audience of your particular product uses Facebook dramatically more than Twitter, for example, it would be natural to put the majority of your efforts into Facebook and maybe even ignore Twitter altogether. Your ads will also likely run on websites that these people are statistically more likely to visit to increase effectiveness any way that you can.

The major issue with targeting audience segments over behaviors is that you are potentially limiting your campaign in a number of significant ways. While it’s always good to go after the people who you think very strongly are right for the product or service that you’re offering, it’s also important to leave the proverbial door open for the unexpected people. Just because your product is aimed at women doesn’t necessarily mean that men won’t use it, for example. By targeting exclusively at the women segment, you’re essentially closing off men altogether.

That’s just one example of a reason why targeting audience segments isn’t necessarily the right move to make in the given situation. Targeting audience behaviors is a technique that is actually designed to fix that problem. It uses a wide range of different techniques that are aimed at increasing the effectiveness of a campaign based on information obtained by a user’s web browser.

Instead of only targeting women, for example, you’re targeting all people who have performed X, Y and Z actions in the past. Audience behaviors transcend race, age, location and more and are much more likely to connect you with a wider range of people who will use your product effectively. Information that can be used to target audience behaviors includes the total number of times they visit a website, the types of pages that they’re likely to visit, the types of terms that they enter into Internet search engines and more. All of this information can shed light on the way a person thinks, which can allow you to target your product towards them in new and effective ways.

 

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