15 ways to ride the audience wave

Kevin Lee on
  • Categories: Channel: SEM, Display Advertising Column, How To Guides: Search Marketing, Search Marketing
  • Marketers universally think of audiences when buying media and advertising. In search marketing, however, audiences have traditionally been ignored because they weren’t always available as targetable entities, but they are now.

    If you aren’t riding the wave of targeting options that revolve around audiences, you’re both wasting budget and missing out on what might be your most profitable targeting strategy. This article will bring you up to speed by walking you through 15 audience targeting levers that you should be experimenting with.

    Beginning with Google

    While Bing and other search engines provide audience targeting for users of their paid advertising platforms, Google — with about 65 percent of search market share — is probably your main concern, so let’s start there. (Besides, Google has released a lot of targeting options recently, and many of these are not truly appreciated or understood.)

    Because so many of you SEM practitioners are managing everything you have access to through the AdWords interface, I’ll cover audience targeting choices even if they’re typically used for video/YouTube and the GDN (Google Display Network).

    All of the audience targeting choices listed below are powerful when used alone, but when used in combination, they become even more so. Fair warning, though: You can go too far in targeting at a granular level, making the audience size so small that it’s not worth it. (If you’ve advertised on Facebook or LinkedIn, you’re familiar with how the available audience size shrinks as you add targeting filters.)

    The “shrinking audience” phenomenon is particularly evident in pure paid search, because paid search relies on the consumer or prospect engaging in a search, an event which may be far less frequent against your keyword set than video consumption or exposure to display advertising/contextual advertising.

    Choosing your best audience targeting tool

    Audience answers the “who” question in some cases even better than search alone does. That’s what makes it so powerful. So, here we go: 15 ways you should be riding the “audience wave.” These tools are presented in no particular order, not all are available as search placements, and some are exclusively available via search. They are all powerful tools in your targeting toolbox.

    Audience targeting is the wave of the future

    I predict continued advancements and refinements to audience targeting will be launched throughout the advertising ecosystem in the near future.

    Consider allocating some meaningful budget to audience targeting, but remember — when testing combinations of targeting and audiences, it’s important to know both your risk tolerance and the value you place on your time (given that combining these tools correctly takes some skill, and evaluating their results correctly may also entail the application of some serious mental bandwidth).


    About The Author

    Kevin Lee
    Kevin Lee is Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Didit a leading digital marketing and technology firm started in 1996. Didit has made 11 acquisitions to transform itself into a one-stop-shop full-service marketing firm from a SEM/SEO boutique. Kevin continues to invent new technology platforms for Didit and for clients. Kevin also co-founded We-Care.com generating over $8 million for nonprofits via cause-marketing. As a true Digital Marketing pioneer, Kevin gives back to the industry via 4 books, speaking engagements, and 780+ published columns. Kevin received his MBA from Yale University and lives in Scarsdale with his wife Dr Allison Kahner and two kids.