Is ad targeting dependent on campaign objective?

ad-targeting-depend-on-campaign-objectiveDoes ad targeting depend on your campaign’s objective? You may have seen my recent post on KPIs depending on your campaign’s objective. Can we make the same case for ad targeting as we made for KPIs?

Campaign objectives

As I wrote in my previous blog post, campaign objectives, in the digital world come in three broad families and can be expressed in many different ways.

  • Awareness: the goal here is anything to do with getting your brand name out there, creating or increasing awareness, association a brand with a company or product to a brand, remaining top of mind, etc.
  • Engagement: the goal here is the middle ground between awareness and direct response. We target people who already know your brand and can move on to convince consumers that yours is indeed the right brand for them, convince or inform them about specific brand attributes or change people’s minds about some aspect or other. Here we need for the consumer to spend time with our message (ad) for them to get what it is we want them to get. We want to move them along their path to purchase.
  • Direct response: The goal here is to get people to act. We want them to visit your site, to buy now, to subscribe to your newsletter, download your app, visit your store, etc.

Ad targeting by campaign objective

As you can already see, for each type of ad campaign, we want to talk to people at different stages in their purchase cycle.

For awareness, we want to talk to people who don’t know you, or don’t know you well but have a potential interest in what you do. Contextual and demographic targeting is ideal in this phase as you’ll reach people rather broadly.

For engagement, we want to talk to people who already know you to move them along their path to purchase. This is the stage where you can convince people of certain aspects of your brand. This is where you get to explain things, in their research or shopping phase. It is where you hope people will want to spend a little time with your brand so you can get your message across. You can start here to retarget people who’ve either visited your site before. Behavioral, profile and look-alike targeting are of optimal use in this stage.

For direct response, you are attempting to get people to act, to convert, to register, or to buy. Retargeting people who’ve abandoned their shopping cart is of use here. Intent to buy and past-purchase targeting are also ideally used here.

Targeting options position along the purchase funnel

Are some ad-targeting options good at all times?

Yes, some ad targeting options are good at all times.

Geotargeting and time-bloc targeting can, and likely should, be applied throughout the consumer’s path to purchase.

Another which may be applied throughout is demographic targeting, but only if our target audience is that specific throughout. For example, women’s hygiene products should be targeted to women at all times. Not doing so would be a waste of media dollars.


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