How to Use Audience Targeting to Show Your Ads to Buyers

How you can use Audience Targeting to Show Your Ads to Buyers

The faster you learn about a website visitor the faster you can identify their needs and win their business. So, when you consider that in most cases you only get one shot at targeting them, you really need to take your shot count, and before they leave your website to never return. When I say make it count, I mean learn as much about the visitor as possible so that you can give them what they are they looking for.

The very fact that 98% of website visitors leave without buying is a widely known figure, one that will show you how to drastically reduce in this blog. I will also demonstrate how you can use audience targeting to show your ads to buyers and massively cut advertising costs and improve conversion and sales.

Its all about knowing what they want before you display your advertising.

What is Audience Targeting?

Audience targeting is all about filtering or segmenting the available audience in-order-to be as highly targeted as possible. By limiting who you display your advertisements to, you can minimize advertising spend.

It enables you to generate the maximum return on investment.

Every advertising platform lets you select your audience using a range of different filters. Some are better than others, but what really matters is the size of the audience you can reach once your filters are in place, so choose your advertising platform accordingly (Facebook has 2 billion+ users).

The most common ways of targeting are as follows:

Target by Location

Over time location targeting has become more and more precise, targeting according to country and by region and even by neighbourhood in some circumstances. It depends on which country you are located and the privacy laws in place, some countries do not allow highly targeted geographical targeting (Germany for example) so you need to determine how precisely the platforms can target if this is of interest to you.

The growing importance of Mobile first advertising is undisputable since the number of mobile searches overtook desktop-based browser searches in 2016. For example, people in the proximity of a specific real-world store can be targeted with advertising for a sale or a time limited discount offer in real-time.

Target by Demographics

Big data held by advertising platforms allow targeting by numerous different factors (demographics), by sex or age, education and even by income in some circumstances. It’s a good way to eliminate vast number of irrelevant people from your paid advertising. For example, targeting women only for women’s related products, you eliminate anyone who considers themselves not female and therefore those unlikely to find the product interesting.

Target by Interest

Topics of interest are another common method of targeting, for PPC campaigns using Google Adwords but also on Social media platforms. What was formerly called interest-based advertising by Google has been renamed to personalized advertising, following the trend of advertisers wanting to be seen to benefit users rather than annoy users. Across the industry, personalization is replacing interest based and topic-based terminology.

Targeting by interest is probably the most powerful of all targeting because it addresses the need and purpose of the customer answering the question “what does the visitor want”.

Target by Behavior

Sales personnel are always taught to watch for buying signals, words said, or actions done unconsciously, that give away user intention, ultimately that they are ready to buy and that its time to close that sale! Well, its no different on the internet, obviously there are fewer “tells” on the internet with no voice or facial expressions to analyse, but online there is something just as powerful, – the tracking of actions.

The saying “actions speak louder than words” is all too true online.

Target by BehaviorBy combining pieces of user data you can build a picture that tells you who they are and what they want. Various pieces of data can be used. For example: device used, videos watched, content read, or customer support questions asked (one of the biggest buy signals).

Now you might think that what users reads (target by interest) is the same as or at least a part of targeting by behaviour. Here you would be right, the difference is in-part just marketing terminology, but it is also the difference between onsite and offsite targeting (off site retargeting and remarketing) and the value of first-party data gathered from your own website vs third party dataFirst-party data can be used freely to target your existing traffic, which makes it especially valuable because it enables the refinement of targeting prior to paying for PPC advertising.

What we are effectively talking about here is a whole area of marketing which is devoted to personalization of targeting (not to be confused with what Google now calls personalized advertising), known as conversion rate optimization (CRO) otherwise known as Conversion Marketing or CRO Marketing. CRO is based on first-party data (your analytics data), and the creation of firstly a Customer journey map for each of your customer types to create personas and a conversion funnel. From the top of the funnel takes every visitor from being a new visitor through the customer journey to become a buyer at the bottom of the funnel. This topic is beyond this article (see links).

Target by On-Site Messaging or Re-messaging

This form of experience personalization has been entirely defined by-the-use-of real-time targeting technology and tools that enable what is referred to as On-Site Retargeting. This technology enables website owner to automatically trigger messages to visitors according to their actions onsite. The ultimate-goal is to have personalized messages that are triggered for every persona at every stage of the conversion funnel. These messages are designed to help move them forward, towards the next stage of the conversion funnel. The eventual goal is to take them to the point of purchase and beyond to re-purchasing thereafter. Every message is optimized through A/B testing in-order-to generate the very best conversion rate so that when Google Advertising or Social media advertising (or any other advertising) is used to drive traffic that the website visitors have the very best personalized experience and one that converts.


The ultimate-goal of this article is to make clear that audience targeting should be done on-site first, and that without completing an on-site retargeting strategy and implementing it you cannot optimize your Google Ads or Social Media Advertising effectively (you are wasting money). Optimizing your advertising is dependent upon following step by step process, onsite:

1. Identify customer types (personas),

2. Generate a Journey map for each persona

3. Build a content plan around each persona

4. Build a conversion funnel from your Journey maps and content.

5. Personalize each persona journey with personalized messages and offers (AB tested).

Each step above can be based just on organic traffic and is an ongoing process throughout the life of the website. Every piece of content should be optimized by an SEO professional and A/B tested in order-to fully optimize conversion and to get the very highest return from, – not just organic traffic with search engine marketing (SEM), but also for PPC and Social media Advertising. Do not make the mistake of confusing On-Site Retargeting and CRO for retargeting advertising, otherwise referred to as Remarketing services. 

On-Site Retargeting always comes first, before any kind of paid advertising.

(Note: Have you heard of OptiMonk? It’s a powerful onsite messaging solution that helps you convert up to 15% of abandoning visitors to sales and leads. Give it a try – click here to create your free account now.)

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