For better or worse, the internet sure isn’t what it used to be.
Mostly, the days of serving users with intrusive, blanket ads are less of a thing than they used to be. Today, more personalized and beneficial digital ads are the norm.
Targeted advertising is powerful because internet users’ own online behavior helps determine the ad placement, which greatly increases their relevancy. Online ads can be triggered in several ways: by a visit to a website, a search engine query, engaging with a specific piece of content, or even putting things in an online cart but not buying it yet (thanks, Amazon!) In each case, the ads are tailored to the user based on the digital data they generate or interact with.
It makes sense then, why businesses of all sizes love targeted advertising campaigns because of the great brand reach and ROI they achieve. According to HubSpot, one-third of marketers use paid advertising to increase their brand awareness, with audience targeting being one of the top tactics that they use.
Targeted advertising has become so specific, in fact, that some users are concerned about how their data is utilized.
“How did they know I was looking for this exact thing?”
“How do they know I’m right across the street?”
“Why am I getting ads for something I was just reading about?”
These are common questions that people ask every day when seeing online and mobile ads.
Because today’s digital world gets more complex all the time, audiences may understandably be skeptical about what their online data is used for. Marketers must take this into consideration, but it doesn’t take away from the effectiveness of a targeted digital ad strategy.
So, from a business’s standpoint, how does targeted advertising work without creeping your audience out?
The key to answering that – and for putting users’ minds at ease at the same time – lies in understanding how targeted ad campaigns work. Let’s take a gander at the most common (and useful) forms of online ads that businesses use.
Fishing with dynamite is frowned upon, so if you want to improve your catch, why not simply fish where the fish are?
Geo-targeted ads, or mobile geofencing, does just that. Both B2B and B2C companies utilize this strategy, which employs GPS technology on mobile devices to pinpoint locations in which to serve ads.
For example, let’s say you market a bar or restaurant and there’s a big event – a concert, festival, trade show or sporting event – near your location. You could use geofencing to set up a virtual “fence” in a radius around the event. When people cross that fence, your ad will deliver on their devices. The goal here is that people at the event now know of your awesome bar nearby to visit afterward.
This form of targeted advertising is highly popular – and effective – for restaurants, auto dealers, jewelry stores, retail stores and repair shops that rely heavily on foot traffic to make sales.
Social Media Ads
Social media is like an online cocktail party for a business’s audience – a massive party that is. Over 4 billion people use social media around the world, which is more than half of the world’s population.
In their long-running effort to keep up with Google, however, social media algorithms keep changing all the time. This includes the social media ad game. Because only a small percentage of a business or brand’s followers see what they post, targeted ad campaigns are the only real way for a business to reach its audience.
Like any other platform, social media advertising is pay-to-play territory, but it can be significantly effective with amazing potential of extended messaging reach. Ads are delivered to social media users in a couple of ways. The first and most obvious, is if they like or follow a brand’s page. Secondly and most powerfully, is if they fit the brand’s target audience. This could be based on geography, or certain demographics such as age, gender, occupation, interest categories, and even who else the user may follow or engage with.
Social media ads are also deliverable at the hyperlocal level, making them some of the most relevant ads a business can target with. Users are more prone to click/tap them because they already match one or more of their interests.
68% of marketers recently stated that display advertising is crucial to their overall marketing plans. Retargeted ads are a subset of this display mix, which appear to users in different ways online depending on the tactic. This is another popular strategy for both B2B and B2C companies, with several types to choose from.
Site – Ads are triggered by a pixel on your website to deliver your ads to users when they visit other sites.
Search – Search engines will deliver relevant ads based on the keywords that people input.
Behavioral – Ads are delivered based on users’ various internet behaviors.
Contextual – This tactic displays ads related to the content of a given site(s) that the viewer engages with. For example, there might be a lawnmower sales ad right next to an article about lawnmower repair.
Any of the aforementioned targeted ad strategies are geared to help you increase your brand awareness, reach new audiences, and communicate your messages to specific prospects in relevant, non-intrusive ways.
Targeted advertising provides a more personalized experience for users, which delivers the product or service information they are seeking in an acceptable method. This, in turn, increases the chances of conversion.