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Is interest targeting the future of marketing?
Contributor Steve Olenski believes interest targeting could be the way forward for brands, allowing for more control and communication with key audience members.
Getting to your audience and engaging with them have become so much easier with the platforms and analytics that help you find them. However, it’s now possible to narrow down your target audience even further based on their interests. This means that you would be able to get closer to those who would be most attracted to what you have to offer, and you would appeal to them on an emotional level by referencing those interests.
Drilling down to specific interests
With interest targeting, it’s now possible to do just that. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter, along with content recommendation network Revcontent, are potentially revealing what the future of marketing might look like.
For example, Facebook offers a way to target with a level of hyper-granularity. In the ad targeting section of its ad creation service, you can opt to target by interests that are shared on people’s timelines, ads they click, pages they like, apps they use and other activities that they participate in on and off Facebook, as well as on Instagram.
Interests may also align with demographic data like location, gender and age. The process is similar when you’re buying ads on Twitter and Revcontent.
While previously, you might have chosen to appear next to topics like “sports,” “news” or “health,” interest targeting can go much deeper, as in the example shown below:
This level of targeting offers a greater level of control, transparency and customization for brands, connecting them to their audience in a more precise way.
More traffic, engagement and brand awareness
Brands such as Blue Apron, Wayfair, Condé Nast and The New York Times are already taking advantage of interest targeting and seeing incredible results, according to published reports.
For example, Digiday found that The New York Times has seen a positive difference since using interest targeting to bring in traffic, especially with a story about pop singer Ariana Grande’s concert. That article got 40 times as much engagement as an average Times post and 40 percent of this traffic came to the story through Facebook, Digiday reported. Additionally, a post about the show “Empire” received 28 times more engagement on Facebook than the average post.
Besides driving these better engagement rates, interest targeting essentially lets publishers become more efficient in how they use their Facebook and Twitter feeds. A brand can post more stories, given that they know some will be targeting specific interests while others may appeal to the wider audience.
Additionally, interest targeting is breathing new life into days-old content by connecting and sharing it with those who share interests that align with that content. This ability gives brands a way to get a higher rate of return on their content investment.
Some are already concerned that interest targeting will lead to a greater reliance on certain social media platforms, including social-bookmarking site Pinterest. Others have noted that while interest targeting doesn’t necessarily yield larger traffic numbers, it does create more engagement among certain groups that then enhance brand awareness among those key segments.
Additionally, this particular tactic is not the sole way to get traction and engagement but is simply an additional means to generate more marketing success.
Overall, interest targeting points to the evolution of marketing science and gives us a glimpse of the opportunities to further define and communicate with our key audience members.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.