Three killer strategies for data-driven audience targeting

Michael Bird

Mike Bird is CEO of Australian revenue performance management agency, Social Garden. His specialities include data-driven lead generation and enterprise marketing automation.

Audience targeting is becoming an increasingly sophisticated art through data. Here, we look at three ways you can drive better engagement through different types of data assets and sources.

Audience Profile One: Helix persona targeting

If you’re part of a well-established enterprise, there is a good chance that at some stage you have worked with Roy Morgan Research and undertaken Helix Persona targeting to define the market segments most likely to become your customers.

This type of audience profiling can provide some excellent insights into your target market that can be utilised to improve the efficiency of all customer acquisition activity, whether online or offline. There are a number of ways to use Helix personas:

  • Social Media Advertising: Helix persona findings can dramatically improve the accuracy of your online targeting through social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, which offer a myriad of demographic and psychographic targeting options.

  • Joint Venture Partner ID: Once you have a solid understanding of the demographic and psychographic factors that make up your ideal target audience, it becomes significantly easier to identify businesses that could be a good fit for a joint venture partnership. For example, we are currently working on the strategy behind a joint venture deal between a property developer client and a bank who share a very similar customer profile.

  • Tone of Voice Development: Once you know who your audience is, you can begin speaking in a way that resonates with them and creates an urgency for action. Understanding what drives your target audience is a critical first step in tailoring a voice that they not only listen to, but trust.

Audience Profile Two: First-party customer and prospect data

One of the most surprising things I often find when speaking with CMOs of large enterprises is how little value they see in their customer and prospect databases. These databases can tell you an awful lot about the types of prospects who are attracted to your offering and provide a solid foundation for new prospect targeting.

The utilisation of first-party data in audience profiling and targeting has been one of the great revelations of the modern CMO and can provide a significant competitive advantage if used in the right ways. Here are some ways to using first-party data effectively:

  • Facebook Custom Audience: Facebook allows you to upload your own first-party data into its advertising platform before matching up its users’ email addresses with your database, providing you with the ability to run ads at those that match (in our experience we see about a 60 per cent match for most clients with decent databases).

    One great way to use custom audiences is for re-engaging customers who have left an organisation for one reason or another. Running ads toward custom audiences offering them a special deal to sign back up is particularly effective especially in industries that have recurring billing such as the consumer energy, telecommunications and insurance markets.

  • Facebook Lookalike Audiences: Now I know I’m thrashing Facebook here, but the platform really is an incredible way to utilise first-party data to accurately re-engage lapsed customers, or in the case of lookalike audiences, find new ones.

    Once you have uploaded your database you have the ability to use Facebook's enormous amounts of psychographic and behavioural data to find audiences of prospective customers who are most similar to your existing customer base. Facebook on average has about 1500 data points on each one of its users, here are a couple of the standard ones to get you started:

    • Age
    • Sex
    • Marital Status/Life Stage
    • Income Levels
    • Location
    • Interests

    The standard click-through rate for right bar ad is 0.04 per cent. With lookalike campaigns, this can increase to 4%-5%.

  • AdRoll Audience Development: One of the key issues facing marketers over the past 3-4 years, has been the limitations on the amount of budget they could spend when utilising retargeting in their digital marketing strategy. This was due to the fact that their audience was limited to their existing website visitors.

    Enter ‘Prospecting’, the new feature released by AdRoll in July that provides marketers with the ability to upload their own first-party data to expand their audiences, and strengthen the quality of their targeting. We have already seen a major uplift in qualified sales enquiries coming through from the AdRoll channel as a result of this new way to utilise our clients’ first-party data.

Audience Profile Three: Website audience profiling pixels

With the rapid rise in value of rich first-party data, many companies have been caught out. They’ve overlooked the importance of organising their data strategy in a way which allows for easy segmentation and general usability in an increasingly tech savvy marketplace.

While this is a major issue, there are a couple of clever ways to get around it. One of these is through the use of audience profiling pixels that can be installed on your website that track and identify key characteristics relating to the demographic and psychographic profiles of your existing website traffic.

  • Quantcast: Quantcast has a free and powerful audience profiling tool that allows you to utilise your existing website traffic to generate insights into the types of consumers that are coming to your site. This provides a solid base for audience targeting across other channels and can also be used to entice potential JV partners that your traffic is valuable to them as well.

  • Facebook Audience Builder: Once again, Facebook is able to be used to effectively utilise your existing website visitors to build both custom and similar audiences which were discussed earlier in this article. This really is a get out jail for free card for companies who have a huge amount of website traffic but little to no database (almost).

    My first step with any new client is to immediately get an audience pixel onto their site to begin collecting audience data, regardless of the size or accuracy of the database/CRM. If you don’t have one on your site right now, follow this simple guide to generating a pixel.

  • Google Analytics Affinity Categories: Almost every website has Google Analytics installed, however there are some organisations who still have not yet upgraded to ‘Universal Analytics’ which provides a new section called ‘Affinity Categories’. Affinity Categories will provide you with key demographic and interest categories that you can repurpose to drive many of your marketing and media targeting decisions such as TVC spots to book, and blogger outreach to focus on.

Tags: data-driven marketing

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