However you slice it, targeted advertising isn’t a big fan favorite among consumers. For some, getting blasted with targeted ads based on past searches, site visits, and other online behavior can even come across as a bit intrusive or even creepy, especially when the products or messaging they see misses the mark entirely.

But despite how some consumers feel, the right targeted online advertising campaigns can be a highly effective way to reach customers and market your brand. The key is not just knowing what your customers want, but also creating ad content that consistently delivers the goods.

How does targeted advertising work?

Targeted advertisements are generated using pre-collected consumer data. This includes browsing history, site visits, and demographic information to create targeted ads aligned with customer preferences. Once created, these ads are placed at critical touchpoints, places where customers are most likely to engage with them online.

Targeted advertising campaigns provide an excellent opportunity to work your brand into your customer’s daily routine and maximize interaction.

And once you have a solid behavioral targeting strategy that hits all the right notes on all the right platforms, each targeted ad you create could open the new business floodgates in ways you never knew possible.

Where should I focus my targeted advertising efforts?

Your business has a variety of options for getting targeted ads out there and in front of the right audience at just the right time.

Targeted advertising can be done through:

  • Email. Including targeted ads in email sends is a great way to reach customers already engaged with your brand, those who have opted into previous offers or newsletters.
  • Social media. Paying for behaviorally targeted ads on social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and others offers access to a much wider target audience.
  • Google search results and Google display network (GDN). With an incredible reach that includes the vast majority of internet users around the globe, targeted advertising through Google search and GDN remains one of the most popular digital advertising methods out there. Built on the pay-per-click (PPC) system, Google contextual targeting offers savvy ad strategists a golden opportunity to target consumers at critical phases of the buyer’s journey.

When you know the platforms that work best for your brand and customers and your targeted advertising focuses on the right message and touchpoint, you can maximize the impact of your contextual advertising strategy across the board.

Targeted advertising campaigns: How to optimize your targeted ads strategy

With each new targeted ad comes a new opportunity to boost brand awareness and turn leads into paying customers. Following some basic guidelines can help you build an online ads strategy that not only matches customer needs but improves interaction and optimizes your advertising campaign ROI.

Provide customers what they want: something new

Internet users are bombarded with information every day, inundated with updates and ads that, for the most part, don’t really provide a reason to engage or take the next step. Rather than simply doubling down on what the customer already knows, break out of the background by providing something new and intriguing.

Create ads that offer new and interesting information directly linked to past online activities and buying behaviors. Give them things they care about and are yearning for in new content.

In other words, targeted ads stand out when you keep your content fresh.

Creativity is essential. USE IT

Whether it’s done on search engines or the latest social media platform, marketing works best when it catches the customer’s eye.

That doesn’t mean your marketers have to reinvent the wheel each time they release a new ad. But it does underline the importance of creativity, the process of conjuring up new and exciting ways to market your brand to customers while avoiding the formulaic approach that sinks so many targeted advertising strategies every day.

In short: don’t be boring. Create ads that grab their attention.

Make your point, but don’t overdo it

For decades, repetition remained a hallmark of effective advertising. After all, how else could you really make a lasting impression on customers and maximize brand awareness without repeating those same tag lines across every consumer touchpoint?

However things worked in the past, blasting the same targeted ads with the same messaging across GDN or social media can actually do more harm than good. Why?

Think about it. As a consumer, coming across a targeted advertisement that meets your unique preferences is one thing. But facing the same ad on every website you visit is another, quickly resulting in the feeling of ad fatigue that drains brand sentiment and pushes potential customers away from your business.

The point: Setting limits on ad frequency can help prevent brand burnout and save face with your customers.

With online advertising, location is everything

Maximizing ad effectiveness means knowing where they’ll get the most traction. For instance, some ads tend to work better for social media targeting (i.e., complex, multi-faceted ads), while others usually make more sense for Google advertising networks and results pages, such as those built with a simpler, more streamlined design.

Either way, it’s important to understand which ad types and digital marketing real estate offer the best fit for your brand and your demographic targeting objectives. Different platforms offer different advertising opportunities that should always be considered carefully before diving in.

To recap: In ad targeting, location matters.

Every targeted ad needs a target audience

Want your targeted marketing strategy to hit the mark? Finding the right audience is critical.

Placing ads that don’t align with customer preferences is one of the fastest ways to hamstring your campaign before it even starts, setting the stage for low CTR (clickthrough rates) and wasted ad spends.

But using consumer behavior and demographic data to carve out unique customer personas–and customizing ads to fit those target audiences–gives your strategy the personalized touch it needs to make the most impact.

The skinny: Without the right audience, your ads will fall flat in a hurry.

Test, refine, repeat

Targeted advertising campaigns don’t always hit their stride right out of the gate, even after extensive research and planning. That’s why continual A/B testing is so important. Regular testing is the key to identifying where your behavioral targeting efforts are performing best and which ads are falling short.

Once you know which ads are working, you can continually refine them to ensure maximum digital advertising ROI, while gaining better insight into what to avoid in the future.

What to know: Testing offers a golden opportunity to identify issues and put your behavioral advertising efforts over the top.

Don’t be afraid to experiment

It’s impossible to know which ad platform will provide the best lift for your audience targeting campaign until you test the waters.

That doesn’t mean dedicating your entire marketing spend to blasting the web with new ads, but instead floating your message across multiple venues to see what gets enough traction to dive a little deeper.

The gist: Casting a wide net allows you to locate your customers and funnel your online marketing where it’ll have the most impact.

Assess your efforts and adjust when needed

Your time and money are valuable, and you don’t want either going to waste or delivering less-than-optimal ROI. So, to keep your ad targeting campaign performing at the highest levels possible, it’s critical to track key metrics and regularly evaluate those numbers to make sure your efforts are paying off.

Scheduling regular campaign assessments and eyeing those campaigns carefully is how you know what’s measuring up, as well as where a strategy shift may be needed.

Measuring means money: Regularly assess your performance to ensure your targeted advertising spend is always working for you.

Speak with a targeted ad specialist

The right targeted advertising effort can pay off in dividends for your business. But creating and serving ads that reach potential customers and maximize brand impact is a lot of work, taking valuable time, money, and resources away from the day-to-day management of your business.

Our digital marketers specialize in organic marketing and targeted advertising solutions that maximize reach and impact across your target audience. Contact our award-winning PPC specialists today to help build an ad personalization strategy that delivers results.


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