You now have the approval to begin your digital marketing campaign across various social networks—great! So how do you ensure that your content is seen by your followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others, and you are able to reach beyond your followers to connect with other potential customers?
Behavioral targeting has become one of the most effective tools social marketers have at their disposal to reach beyond their current followers. All digital platforms have some method of behavioral targeting within their admin panels and analytics reports. Utilizing the information gathered there can help you not only learn your audience, but learn who they are, what they care about, and how to best interact with them.
Find Your Audience’s Likes and Behavior From Their Own Profiles
Facebook advertising remains one of the most effective digital advertising tools, making it both affordable and easy to set up for all marketers. Within the Admin panel, you can set your ad targeting to the typical demographic categories, such as age, gender and location.
With the behavioral targeting features, you can now create your own audience based on their likes, interests, purchase behaviors, lifestyle choices and the device they use. By tailoring your ad to appeal to your audience’s interests and their life stage, your ads have a higher possibility of not only appealing to this potential customer, but converting them.
Where does all this data come from? Expert Facebook marketer, Jon Loomer, explains how Facebook gathers most of its information straight from the user, through what they like, share, and post on their profiles. However, what Facebook cannot glean from user profiles, they acquire through various partnerships. This information comes once again from applications, surveys or large purchases users have made; data mining companies then share this information with Facebook.
Even Instagram is getting ready to jump into the targeted advertising game. As the image-based platform gets ready to roll out advertising options to all businesses, they are encouraging businesses to think of their audience in terms of interests and passions, not demographics.
Using the same algorithm as Facebook to gather data on their users, Instagram’s interest and behavior-based targeting will operate similarly.
Google Analytics can break your website audience down into nine various categories. While most of the categories follow demographic parameters such as age, geographic region, technology and whether they are a new or returning user, one of the most important Audience categories is the Interests breakdown.
This section reports the interests of your website users, based on data that Google has collected. The data is then broken up into three reporting categories: Affinity categories, In-Market segment and Other. Affinity categories are used to reach potential customers by raising awareness of your brand or product, while the In-Market segment users are more likely to purchase products or services in their specified interest category. Users in the Other category can be reached at either stage of the decision process.
As an advertiser, this allows you to target your ads based on users’ specific interests. Once you have their attention, you will be able to guide their purchase decision, depending on whether you have met them in the initial or final stage. Speaking to their interests will also make your brand one they can relate to, sparking return visits or even brand loyalty.
Twitter Targeting Features
Twitter targeting allows advertisers to focus on users based more on device usage, carrier, and WiFi users. In this case, advertisers can target their ads to only Verizon or Sprint mobile users or test two ads by running one ad targeting Android devices and one targeting iOS devices to see which platform generates more engagements and conversions.
Twitter’s promoted tweets provide another budget-friendly option to gain notice by new potential followers, Social Media Examiner reports. By using the Interests and Followers filter in your promotions, your tweets will then appear to followers of accounts similar to your own, reaching potential new followers who previously engaged with subject matter similar to yours.
Premium Targeting Features Through LinkedIn
Sponsored updates through LinkedIn remain the most expensive paid social media type, but they have a large payout through the targeting options available. LinkedIn’s steep price tag comes with the ability to create extremely specific target audiences for your paid updates.
These specific target audiences could be made one of two ways: by targeting your competitors’ long-term clients and their key decision makers or finding subject matter experts using the Skill keywords option. Targeting your competitors’ clients will add your name and expertise into the decision-set for potential clients, while targeting by skill keywords can help you find the subject matter experts to help endorse and promote your expertise to their networks.
One of LinkedIn’s often-overlooked targeting option is its Exclusion option. You can use this option to exclude certain categories, helping you target an even narrower audience and avoid any potential overlap with an unwanted audience.
Targeting Effectively to Appeal to Your Audience
No matter which digital platform you choose to engage your potential customers through, behavioral targeting will help your ad stand out. By targeting those who are more likely to be interested in and respond to your product or service, you can be assured that your advertising dollars go further and the audiences seeing your ad will be more likely to become customers.
Written by Danielle VanZandt
Danielle is a Public Relations Coordinator with the Communications team at esd & associates, serving a dual role as a social media account manager and content writer. With a degree in both Business and English from Southwestern University, she has assisted with client projects through event planning and coordination, social media promotion, and content development.