Results-Based Targeting | Outbrain Blog

CONTENT MARKETING & DISCOVERY

Marketers, Trust Results-Based Targeting, Not Your Gut

| Idan Vakrat

Trust Results-Based Targeting

Ready, Set… Let’s Target

Online marketing offers something magnificent. It’s called – Targeting!

While television, radio, newspapers, and billboards – AKA the “carpet bombing” or “classic” marketing channels, offer pretty broad reach, they come with limited control over audience reach.

Over the years, tactics have evolved, and with it, targeting capabilities were born.

You can now focus in on audiences by location, platform, device, interests, behaviors, demographics, and can even create custom audiences through specialized pixels.

Thanks to Facebook, the revolution has grown so popular that even microtargeting through detailed target audience segmentation is practiced for those obsessed with extreme granularity in their marketing campaigns.

So, Does Targeting Make Me a Better Marketer?

Not necessarily. Lately, I hear more and more about behavioral targeting or result-based segmentation.

This old/new trend suggests a simple principle:

Start broad, almost as broad as you can, then narrow down your audiences based on performance. You’ll be surprised to find out that your audiences may not be as expected.

Let’s try this hypothetical example:

You’re selling flowers online, and your delivery reach is within the city of San Francisco. You could assume that your target audience would be women because they love flowers, and on desktop because buying flowers is easier to do at home from a laptop. Additionally, they might be from a wealthy neighborhood since your flowers are not cheap.

But if you just take aim based on a “hunch” about your audience, you can totally miss other key consumers that you weren’t aware of or could perform better. For example, men buying presents for their spouses, on mobile devices when commuting, who have an average income because expensive flowers are just impressive.


(Image via TechCrunch)

It can be challenging to guess your exact target audience upfront, and their likelihood to engage and convert better. Just remember, you are a marketer, not a wizard.

But when you use outcome-based segmentation methodology, you are able to identify smart audiences based on real results.

From there, you’ll learn which of the segments defined have been over-served, under-served, or worse, not served at all.

But if Platforms Offer Advanced Targeting, Why Not Use It?

As great marketers, we understand the complexities of understanding all of the following fundamentals: defining personas, messaging, pricing, analyzing large amounts of data, clustering, surveying, measuring and understanding customer behavioral principles.

And that this partial list correlates to the immense level of proficiency needed to master the craft of “marketing.”

So, even if you can operate Facebook and Google campaign dashboards like a pro, you still need a deep understanding of the psychology and rationales behind the actions you are taking on those platforms.

Not to mention the importance of analyzing stats, data and campaign performance. Otherwise, targeting will become incredibly cost-inefficient.

The State of Always-On Marketing Study from Razorfish highlighted a few things we need to improve upon…

Key Findings Include:

  • 76% of marketers are failing to use behavioral data in segmentation analysis and targeting execution

  • While execs consider themselves strong at targeting experiences to segmented groups, only 13% are delivering segmented experiences and measuring the results, proving the 58% who think they have strong capabilities may not be able to quantify perceived value

Without the ability to truly narrow a campaign’s reach, our suggested cost-per-click will grow across most platforms as the bidding war becomes fierce with broader audiences.

And competing with similar budgets on fewer converting users means you end up paying more for each one of them.

So, What Should I Do?

When it comes to targeting, there isn’t really a “one size fits all.”

However, next time you build a campaign in a cutting edge platform that enables you to choose your target audience, think twice.

Try first with a “wet run” on a wide audience.

Start by limiting your campaign’s budget to 20% for knowing your target audience. Furthermore, be aware of time. Set a certain time frame that makes sense, as this process of learning can also become quite expensive if not capped properly.

Campaign Tip for Results-Based Targeting:

First define your campaign’s goals, including impressions, clicks or certain conversions you’d like to measure and reach. After the campaign is running for a while, you can start analyzing the results.

Based on the campaign goals, start identifying audiences that perform best and target them specifically with a higher budget and higher granularity. On the other hand, limit spend on audiences with poor performance by not targeting them.

After allocating a small amount of budget and time, you’ve managed to better target your campaigns and to the audiences that perform best and yield the best results.

And the best part is that you weren’t guessing.

Final thought

Trust that performance data knows better than a gut feeling.

Result-based targeting can increase your campaign results significantly. Master it, and you’ll know exactly who brings better engagement and more conversions to your business.

Good Luck!

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Idan Vakrat

Idan Vakrat

Idan Vakrat is a product manager at Outbrain on the Amplify team. He joined Outbrain with a vast experience in... Read more

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