If you spend 30 minutes – or in some cases 5 – on Facebook, Pandora or even Hulu, you’re bound to be served a multitude of ads. As marketers, we tend to do one of two things when this happens: We either ignore them because we’re “in the business,” or we pay close attention, in an effort to determine what the ads are doing right and wrong.
If you’re like me and you do the latter, you’re going to start noticing something rather unsettling. Pay attention to the ads, and then take a second to think. How many of those ads had anything to do with me, my interests/hobbies or even my location? The usual answer is – not much.
Let’s take a recent example. I’ve been paying for Hulu for years now. Recently, however, I received an ad on Facebook offering me a free trial of Hulu. If I’m a current customer, what’s the point of targeting me? It’s wasteful and ineffective. Examples like this go on and on. People have complained about getting ads for childcare products when they have no children or retargeting ads for the product that they’ve already purchased. In this part of advertising tips, we’ll cover effective advertising.
Lazy Marketing = Non-effective Targeting
Despite living in the age of “Big Data” and advanced targeting, most marketers still allow Google, Facebook and other platforms to make the targeting decisions for them. While these platforms will make an effort, they’re never going to be as concerned about your target audiences as much as you are.
You’re paying for a service, and these platforms are there to take your money. Sure, they’ll try to match your ads to segments based on interests or look for people who have “similar” profiles to the ideal target audience. Typically, however, it’s not enough. The takeaway is this: Advertising platforms will do their “best” to try and hit the correct target audience, but they really do leave it up to you to hone in on the right people.
Yet, marketers have gotten lazy. They don’t want to do the extra work to ensure that they’re not wasting budget. Why? Because targeting requires continual research and testing to be effective.
How to Be More Effective with Your Budgets
If you really don’t know where to start, then taking the targeting advice from Google or Facebook is a good place to begin. But that’s not where you should end it. You must become intimately familiar with your target audience. Research each segment. Figure out their interests. Pull up profiles of some of your best customers on Facebook or LinkedIn, and see what groups they’re involved with or what their interests are.
Review best-performing websites, and create your own white or black lists. Or generate your own managed placements list. Keep testing and honing throughout the campaign. Take your learnings, and apply them to current and future campaigns.
The key takeaway is this: Don’t let your ad platforms do all the work for you. They’ll never understand your target audience as well as you do. Lazy marketing leads to wasted budgets – and won’t get you results. Pay attention, be diligent, and you’ll see a return on your efforts with effective advertising.