Do you feel like your digital advertising campaigns need a boost but you don’t know where to start? Are your social media campaigns struggling to bring in the results and reach your local small to medium sized business’s needs? Before your ads miss any more valuable views, clicks, and conversions, consider reading through this digital campaign targeting guide provided by your local media agency. This guide, written by the digital marketing experts at LNP Media Group, will help you to get a better understanding of how to efficiently reach, engage, and inform your target market.
Digital Campaign Targeting Basics
Before choosing an online campaign strategy and running your campaign, it is essential to know which people, and how many of them, you need to reach in order to drive revenue for your business. Targeting the right audience demographics will help ensure that you’re choosing to spend your money in the right places. One factor to consider is how long it may take someone to decide to buy your product. For example, if you’re selling an impulse buy like discount priced clothing or shoes, your target audience will probably be larger and broader than if your product is a more expensive item like a dishwasher. This is because a household appliance is a “considered purchase”, meaning potential buyers will take the time to research which dishwasher brand is known to last the longest, and which brand is best for their price range. Campaigns for considered purchases should target an audience that is more tightly defined because you want to reach people who are actively researching dishwashers.
To get an idea of the right location targeting for your ads, think about how far your customers are willing to travel to obtain your product or service. If you provide a specialty service that specific people would seek out, like physical therapy for severe scoliosis, you may want to set your location targeting to a 50-mile radius of your address, if that is a reasonable drive time to your practice. If you own a local pharmacy downtown, you may want to keep your location targeting to a 15-20-mile radius around your pharmacy, since people normally don’t want to travel too far to pick up their prescriptions. This type of thought process will help you avoid wasting money on mis-targeted impressions and will present your ads to people in the right geographic areas.
It is also important to know your audience personally. What are their interests and hobbies? How old are they? What social media do they participate in the most? Let’s say you’re promoting a new skate shop downtown. You may want to target an audience in the age range of 13-25 and serve your ads on TikTok and Instagram since younger people spend the most time on those two platforms.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to market your assisted living in-home care service, you may want to serve your ads on mainly Facebook because most of those users are in the age range of 30-99+. Once you know your target audience a bit more personally, you will be able to define the exact type of people who would benefit from seeing your online ads.
Google Ads Overview
One of the most utilized online advertising platforms at LNP Media Group is Google Ads. Advertising on Google is one of the most cost effective and viable online marketing strategies that a business owner can choose. Google Ads is also fully transparent with regard to results because it uses a UTM tracking string within the URL of each ad that you create. When you create a campaign with Google Ads, your campaign’s report will show you exactly how many clicks, impressions, and phone calls your ad generated. You can also clearly see the effectiveness of your ad by looking at the click through rate percentage (CTR) and your cost per click (CPC). Once you decide how much you’re willing to spend for each possible lead, you can set a more refined budget for Google Ads and start seeing a better conversion rate.
Within Google Ads, you can target your ads to your preferred audience by choosing which audience segment you think your business attracts the most. An audience segment is a group of people with similar interests and demographics. Google will allow you to select the gender, age, household income, and parental status of your audience. You can also restrict your ads from serving to certain audience demographics as well. After your ads have been serving, Google Ads will show you the demographic data obtained from the ad’s actual clicks and views. Now that you can clearly see the success rate of the ads within your chosen demographics, you have a better idea of exactly who in your targeted audience is seeking out your product or service. With this valuable information in hand, you can narrow your targeting to that same type of audience that is already responding and thus improve your campaign’s performance. Remember that different campaign types within Google Ads will have different success rates based on the types of audience targeting that best fits each campaign.
Google Ads – Paid Search
Google Ads offers an array of different campaign options and one of their most popular choices is the pay per click search campaign (PPC or paid search). The targeting options that work best for a paid search campaign are location, keywords, in-market audiences, and remarketing list targeting. It is important to target your paid search ads to locations where it makes sense to sell or deliver your product. It is also essential to include only relevant keywords in your paid search ad’s heading, since this is what Google uses to serve your ads based on the search terms entered by a user. Many advertisers are focused exclusively on finding new customers, but using a remarketing list is an effective way to reach people who have already visited your site or app and interacted with your ads. You can also use the same demographic profile as your remarketing list to target people actively searching for your product or service, otherwise known as an in-market audience.
Google Ads – Display
If you would like to take a more creative approach, and provide a visual of your product or service, Google Ads offers the ability to upload image ads and GIFs. Unlike the paid search ads mentioned above, display ad campaigns allow your image ads to be presented across the Google Display Network, which is “a collection of over two million websites that reach over 90% of Internet users across the globe”, according to Google. Of course if there are Google-owned sites that you would rather not have your ad shown on, you can restrict your ads from showing on those sites by excluding them in the Placements tab in your Google Ads menu.
The best targeting methods to use for display campaigns are location, demographics, topic placement, keywords, affinity audiences, and custom audience segmentation. Before defining these types of targeting strategies, we first recommend that you categorize your ads into ad groups based on which goal you’re setting for each group. Maybe you want to run a group of display ads to target Lancaster, Lititz, Ephrata, New Holland, Elizabethtown, Quarryville and Strasburg, but also want to try an ad group targeted to Philadelphia to gain brand awareness and reach. Within your ad groups, you can also assign location, audience segments, demographics, and keywords to each group.
Google Ads – Topic Placement, Affinity, and Custom Audiences
A targeting strategy that is unique to display campaigns is Topic Placement targeting. With Topic Placement, Google Ads will serve your display ad on any Google Display Network site that relates to the topic of your advertised product. As mentioned before, Affinity audiences are pre-made audience segments provided by Google that match your ideal target audience based off your previous ad demographics. The difference between Affinity and Custom audience segmentation is that Affinity audiences are pre-made segments of people created by Google based on their demographics, while Custom audiences are audience segments created by you. To create Custom audiences, you can enter websites, keywords, and different topics of interest, which Google will use to generate an audience of people that match those attributes.
Google Ads – Shopping
Like display ad campaigns, Google Ads also offers users the ability to create a shopping ad campaign that shows ads with product images. This best utilized to target people who are searching for a specific product to buy. For example, if your business sells skis and you want to increase your ski pole sales during the winter months, your business could benefit from creating a shopping campaign. Just upload a picture of the product you want to sell, enter the price, and then the display link. This helps the viewer know exactly where the shopping ad will take them if they click it. Because this is a campaign that will have a very specific audience, the targeting methods that we suggest for this type of campaign are remarketing list, location targeting, and remarketing audiences. Shopping campaign ads can appear anywhere in the shopping tab in Google, YouTube, Gmail, and the Google Display Network.
There is much more that Google Ads offers outside of the basics we’ve covered, so if you are considering starting some online ad campaigns using Google Ads, we recommend that you work with a Google Partner, such as LNP Media Group, to optimize your spend on Google Ads and reach your digital campaign goals.
One of the most popular strategies for online advertising is social media platforms. Depending on their campaign goals, many companies will advertise on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, or YouTube. The trick to advertising on social media is first setting a goal for your online ads. Are you trying to raise awareness of your brand? Do you offer specialty services that are difficult to find? Do you need to increase sales for specific products? It is helpful to work with social media experts, like LNP Media Group, to ensure that your social media ad spend is targeted correctly to ensure best possible results.
Social Media – Facebook and Instagram
If your business’s goal is to gain brand awareness, Facebook and Instagram are known to have huge success rates for branding campaigns. Facebook and Instagram are a package deal when it comes to social media advertising. You can structure the exact same look and targeting method for each campaign and it will post on both Instagram and Facebook. According to Facebook, there is an “80% greater discovery for new brands or products on Facebook than on brand or retailer websites”. Facebook and Instagram are great choices not only for large businesses to expand their reach, but also for small to medium-sized businesses that want to target a local area. Another statistic from Facebook informs us “Over 10 million businesses have used Facebook advertising, the majority of which are small to medium-sized businesses”.
Facebook and Instagram give advertisers the ability to reach what they call “Core Audiences” which are audiences based on interests, age, and geography. You also have the option to use their Custom Audience targeting method, which is similar to the remarketing lists in Google Ads. This method allows you to reconnect with people who have visited your site or engaged with your business on or offline. You can also target what Facebook calls a “Lookalike” audience. This method targets people who have similar demographics as your current best and most engaged customers. From this selection of audience targeting, it is clear that if you’re looking to give your business more reach, Facebook is a great platform to explore.
Social Media – LinkedIn
If your business is advertising to fill open positions, consider LinkedIn’s targeting abilities and transparent reach. LinkedIn has stated that their platform has the ability to “combine targeting criteria to build your ideal persona: IT decision makers, C-level executives, prospective students, small business owners, and more.” With LinkedIn you can post an ad for open positions and review potential candidate’s profiles. LinkedIn is so transparent that you can see proof of people’s qualifications in their profile and make an informed decision on whether you should reach out to them.
Social Media – YouTube
For businesses that are trying to expand their reach, we suggest leveraging video ads on YouTube. Businesses advertise on YouTube to connect with their audience on a more personal level. When you can convey the story of your business and show your product, you can build a better connection with your audience by captivating their attention. The targeting methods used by YouTube are demographic grouping, interests, placements, and remarketing. You can even choose specific audiences based on what content they are currently viewing on YouTube. YouTube provides an array of different video ad formats, such as skippable ads, non-skippable ads, in-feed video ads, and bumper ads. You can manage your YouTube video campaign through the Google Ads platform. Within Google Ads, you can upload the desired video ad and monitor how it is performing.
SOCIAL MEDIA – TikTok
The most recent social media platform that advertisers have started utilizing is TikTok. TikTok is an app where users upload 15-60 second videos, and which allows for the placement of video ads. With an audience that spans across 150 countries, TikTok is a great tool to use for gaining reach and engagement from your target audience. Similar to the previously mentioned Google Ads platform, TikTok allows businesses to create ad groups with specific target audiences for each. Like Facebook, you can also create Custom and Lookalike audiences within TikTok. TikTok includes a wide variety of targeting options such as gender, age, location, interests, internet connection type, device model, phone carriers, and even the price of the user’s device.
One unique aspect of TikTok’s targeting is its ability to track user behaviors. Behaviors are user interactions with TikTok creators and videos such as liking, commenting, watching, following creators, and viewing creator’s profiles. TikTok even focuses on the interest categories that each user interacts with the most within the app to drive ads and additional videos of the like to the viewer’s device. The user behavior tracking and interest category algorithms are so precise, that you shouldn’t be surprised that if you like a TikTok with cute and fluffy kittens, your TikTok feed becomes populated with kittens of all kinds.
One important factor to keep in mind is that TikTok’s audience consists of 47% of users between the ages of 10-29 and 42% of users between the ages of 30-49. Statista.com states that this leaves only 11% of TikTok’s audience in the 50+ age category. Based on these statistics, advertising on TikTok is not for every business’s target market, so if your product or service would not be of interest to the Gen Z and Millennial audience, you may want to consider advertising on a different social platform.
Although there are other social media platforms to advertise on, these five are the most popular. No matter which platform you pick, remember that you can save time and money by working with a Lancaster digital agency that is experienced in all the nuance and detail of social media marketing.
LancasterOnline.com and LancasterFarming.com
If you are interested in advertising your small to medium sized business to a strictly local audience, we suggest advertising on LancasterOnline or LancasterFarming. We have a wide variety of targeting options provided by Google Ad Manager 360. These options include targeting by IP address, by device type, by zip code, radius, browser language, or browser type. You have the option of choosing display ads, which only show on browsers, or on the LancasterOnline or LancasterFarming mobile app.
Targeting people by their IP address is similar to targeting people by location because an IP address identifies a device on the internet. If you want to target by zip code, Google Ads 360 will give you an estimated radius of how far your ads will reach based on that location. If you would rather save money on ads and only serve them on certain devices, you can restrict your ads from serving on certain device types. For example, if you are trying to run a campaign for your business’s new app, you may want to only target your ads to phones and tablets because these devices can download apps. If you find that most of your customers prefer Google Chrome to Microsoft Edge, or if you prefer how your ads render on Google Chrome rather than Safari, you can restrict your ads to serve on only on specific browsers.
In addition to targeting by audience attributes, LancasterOnline and LancasterFarming also offer the option of targeting by content type. LancasterOnline is the largest news website in Lancaster County, reaching over 1 million unique users per month. LancasterFarming is the largest agricultural news site in the mid-Atlantic region with over 100,000 unique users per month. For both of these sites you can target users based on the type of content they read. For LancasterOnline, key topics are sports, entertainment, breaking news, crime, food, business, home & garden, and health. For LancasterFarming, key topics are dairy, equine, crops, beef, recipes, antiques, history, livestock, and farm life. On both of these sites you can also target based on ad position. For example, the large ad at the top of the page is a premium position called the reveal ad, while the small ad at the bottom of each page is called the sticky anchor.
Because of our digital campaign targeting expertise, Lancaster’s local recruitment company known as PA Career Link chose to advertise their upcoming job fair with LNP Media Group. Our digital marketing team created and sent out email blasts, posted and maintained PA Career Link’s online advertisements on Facebook, and featured ads on LancasterOnline to raise local awareness about their job fair. Because of our integrated, multi-channel marketing campaign, our team attracted 350 local job seekers to the job fair, while other job fairs in the same year had struggled to bring in even 50. Click here to learn more about PA Career Link’s success with LNP Media Group.
OTT, CTV and Video
Digital advertising media that are often overlooked are OTT, CTV, and video ads. OTT stands for Over the Top because this type of ad placement only shows on top of streaming networks such as Hulu, Netflix, and Disney Plus, served via the internet. The targeting options available with OTT advertising are home demographics, state, designated market area (a broad metro area designation) and zip code. CTV advertising is a type of OTT that serves video ads on TVs connected to the internet, like smart TVs. These ads will serve on networks such as Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, and PlayStation. However, CTV does not allow specific household targeting options. Video ads are 15-30 second videos that serve on websites and apps, like ads on YouTube as discussed previously. These can be viewed on a desktop, tablet, or mobile device. With video ads, you can target a wide variety of users. You can target people by their behaviors and interests, zip code, age range, gender, education, parenting status, household income, and annual income.
Are you ready for your small to medium sized local business to try digital advertising? Or are you already using digital ad campaigns but have been disappointed with the results? Whether your business is focused strictly on Lancaster County or anywhere in the U.S., the digital marketing experts at LNP Media Group will help you achieve your digital campaign goals. We work closely with your team and we are fully transparent every step of the way. Whether your goal is to raise your brand awareness or generate more leads and more product sales, you’ll find that our deep experience will drive campaign results that are better than any other digital agency in the area. Contact us to today for an absolutely free, no commitment marketing strategy session.