When budgets are tight and marketing budges have been decreases are almost non-existent, online advertising is one of the best ways to stretch your dollar. Even still, it’s very important to make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck.

This is where targeting your ads comes in. Targeting will help ensure ads are only being displayed to people who are most likely to be interested. Implementing only targeted ads will prevent you from wasting money on uninterested viewers.

How can ads be targeted? There’s a few strategies including keyword targeting, demographic targeting, geographical targeting and behavioral targeting.

Keyword Targeting

Keyword targeting is the most popular form of targeting for online advertising today. Keyword targeting is used in search engine marketing when you target ads to viewers who search for specific phrases and words. For example, if you are keyword targeting for a caterer in San Francisco, you would want to display ads for people who searched “San Francisco caterer”, “San Francisco restaurant” and “San Francisco event planning”.

Contextual keyword targeting is when ads are displayed on the sides of pages based on the keywords that are in the content of the page.

Demographic Targeting

Targeting based on demographics is popular among many social media networks and are based upon criteria such as:

  • age
  • gender
  • income
  • language
  • interests and hobbies

Demographic targeting isn’t always available and depends upon the website or ad publisher.

Geographical Targeting (aka Geotargeting)

Geographical targeting allows you to display ads based on the viewers physical address. The IP address and sometimes the domain name is used to determine where the viewer is located down to the city and state.

Geographical targeting is very important and effective for local businesses. Limiting the ads to only the local geographical area ensures you are paying cost per click for viewers located across the country or even in another country.

Behavioral Targeting

Behavioral targeting is used more with large website publishers. It uses information from cookies and your browsing trends to display ads relevant to you. Amazon and other ecommerce sites use this type of targeting to suggest other products you may be interested in.

How to determine what to target?

Now that you understand what the different types of targeting are, you may be wondering how to choose your criteria.

Here’s a few of our tips:

  • Survey your visitors – Learn how arrive to your site, where they are coming from, if they are finding what they are looking for
  • Dont’ forget about current customers – their demographics may help you discover trends that you weren’t aware of. You may be surprised that most of your customers are women between the ages of 25-30.
  • Don’t be too picky! If you limit your criteria too much you risk getting very little exposure. You may also risk excluding potential customers.

Once you set up your targeted advertising, it’s important to monitor the advertising activity. You may need to modify your targeting.

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