Determining Your Target Audience

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Last week we had an awesome lunch and learn with THRSHLD, a full service marketing agency founded by Christan Duncan. The main focus of this learning opportunity was to dive into how to determine a target audience when developing a social advertising campaign. This process is not as simple as it seems because there are so many options and categories to choose from when building your ad. In order to create a successful social media advertisement you need to determine who you’re speaking to, when is the best time to speak to them and how to speak to them (what platform to use and what device to reach them on). The “who” is the first step and can be the most complicated, we’ve rounded up some categories to focus on when building your target audience:

Gender

The gender of your audience is a great first step in narrowing down a target audience. If you’re developing a campaign for a women’s sanitary product line, it only makes sense that the first step in your audience selection process would be target women. If you’re marketing a product that can appeal to both, it’s good to establish that as well so that you can create ads with a gender-neutral tone of voice.

Age

The average age of your audience is another important factor to consider. Is this a product or service that will appeal to college students or housewives, or both? Narrowing down age demographics will help you gain an understanding of the needs of your audience as well as what problems you can solve for them.

Geography

When targeting an advertisement on social media, you can also specify your audience by where they are located. For example, if you’re marketing a laundry service that is only serving a particular city or area, then targeting this geographic location would be most advantageous to your campaign.

Interests

The “interests” category encompasses a large variety of ways you can target your audience. When creating a social media ad, you can narrow down your audience into categories such as favorite sports team, whether they drink alcohol, whether they like to travel and the list goes on. You can get super specific in this section to really narrow down the “perfect” customer for your business.

Platform

Once you’ve narrowed down who you are trying to reach with your advertisement, you need to know where to reach them. If you’re looking to get the attention of professionals or a business, LinkedIn might be a great avenue to pursue. If you want to attract a younger generation, they hang out on Snapchat and Instagram. The platform that you decide to run your advertisement on is very important when reaching your target audience.

Device

With some advertisements, you can also specify what device to run the ad on. If the target audience is probably primarily using their mobile phone or tablet to surf their social media channels, then it’s best to target for those devices. Or if they will most likely be viewing your ad from a desktop at work, then it’s best to target them via a desktop ad.

Time of Day

After deciding the who and where, it’s time to determine when is the best time to reach your audience. If you’re signed up for a business account on Instagram, the insights section is a great starting place when determining the time of day that your users are most frequently scrolling through social media. Additionally, if you’re running an ad that has a call to action encouraging viewers to call your store, it doesn’t make sense to run that ad after business hours have closed. Timing is everything and determining the best time of day will help you reach the right people.

The biggest takeaway from our lunch and learn was the realization that developing an ad campaign is really just a matter of telling a story. You need to know who is listening and then curate that story to suit their preferences and needs. If you’re interested in starting an ad campaign for your business, be sure to check out our services to learn how we can support your growth and presence on social media.

Story By: Sophie Duncan