Ad Targeting Definition

August 31, 2017  |   LiveRamp

What is Ad Targeting?

Picture a marksman, aiming her arrow at a target in the distance. Success for her is when that arrow successfully reaches its target, dead center.

The concept of ad targeting in marketing is pretty much the same. You have a target (your customers), an arrow (your ad), and a mechanism for launching that arrow (your channel). And it’s a success when a you effectively hit the right group of people with the right message.

Targeted advertising is not guesswork, but rather a collection of data points that indicate what a particular customer responds best to and in what channel. Segmentation—which is the creation of each group that will be marketed to—is defined by the marketer based on data and hunches.

Like in archery, market segmentation can also be adjusted after learning how close you were to your target—or to what degree you were off the mark. (Read more here about 10 segmentation tactics you should consider).

Why does ad targeting matter to your business?

Simply, a targeted advertising experience is a better customer experience.

Effective ad targeting allows the customer to feel that the marketer know what’s important to them and how they choose to digest information. You wouldn’t talk to your grandmother the same way you would your teenage daughter—your relationship with each of them is different, they have different interests, etc.

Likewise, for a group of 70-year-old women who interact most often with your brand through the mail, a targeted advertising effort would look and sound drastically different than speaking to a 13-year-old who only interacts via snapchat.

Or at least it should.

What makes ad targeting difficult?

Living in a culture where the customer expects the marketer knows them, targeted advertising has never been more important. However, this means you need to know your customer and their preferences.

Using data to solve this problem instead of just user personas allows for effective targeting. Obtaining the right data and synthesizing it into useful information can be difficult, but it’s worth it. Your customer will appreciate your efforts and feel better understood, ultimately leading to markers of success such as better loyalty or more conversions to sales.

If you’re ready to take a deeper dive into targeting and understand its different  applications in marketing, check out our website. For more marketing terms you should know, take a look at the rest of our series, or check out our glossary now.