How to Effectively Target Your Target Audience through Digital Advertising

Aug 2, 2018, Written by Shelby Thomas


In our last blog, Jim emphasized the importance of identifying your brand in the beginning stages of your business. If you think your business is too small to work on branding, I encourage you to read his blog here:

As a brief review, what does your brand include?

  • Your Target Market
  • Your Value You Provide to the Target Market
  • Why Your Business is Uniquely Qualified to Deliver That Value

We believe only once you are able to provide answers to those questions can you begin to effectively promote your business via marketing channels. But, for the sake of this blog, let’s say you’ve got all that nailed down and you are smooth sailing in the brand department. Maybe you’ve even seen a talented business coach in the area!

Can You Really Track Advertising ROI?

When you think of traditional advertising platforms, what do you see? Billboards, magazines, newspapers, radio, TV? All of these have potential, but one thing in common: the inability to accurately track ROI.

Let’s say you have never paid for advertising before and decide to take an ad out in the newspaper. Then, next month you start to receive phone calls! Sure, you could reasonable conclude that advertising in the paper increased leads.

Now, what if you had another ad in a magazine, and also decided to run radio ads concurrently. Then, how do you determine the medium that was most effective? How do you make informed decisions on where to invest more or less of your money?

You Can With Digital Advertising

First, let’s clarify the type of digital advertising I am talking about. Although, I will stand behind the targeting and analytical benefits of most available digital methods. At Crossroads, we support our clients’ digital marketing efforts through the following advertising platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Google AdWords (Both Display and Search Ads)
  • Video Ads (YouTube and Google Partners)
  • LinkedIn

Depending on the brand profile, we assign the necessary platform to the overall marketing strategy. In terms of advertising, I think many people underestimate the weight that your target audience carries in terms of affecting overall advertising cost and effectiveness.

For example, a real estate company will have to pay a premium to target higher income levels in a small geographical area. That is because the narrower your audience is, the more competitive the advertising space is unless you are in a really niche market.

Also, when your audience is contained to a small, targeted group, you have less room for error. It’s a high risk/reward scenario. If you throw a lot of money at a small audience and they love your content…BINGO. But, if you blow through that audience in two weeks without any conversions, it’s back to the drawing board.

For that reason, we like to implement the funnel method to determine the best audience size.

Where is Your Audience in the Funnel?

After you nail down WHO you want to target, we need to think about how to fit that audience in one of the following objectives in the advertising funnel:

  1. Brand Awareness/Broad Reach – You are not sure about your target audience and want to analyze potential demographics and interests, or your are launching a new product or service.
  2. Demand Generation – You are confident of your target audience and want to send tailored content to these users to increase demand for your products or services.
  3. Acquisition – You have a specific product or service you want to sell to your target audience and have a specific task for the user to complete.
  4. Retargeting – You want to up sell or cross sell previous customers on a similar product or service.

Your audience should gradually get more narrow the further you go into the funnel. The key to making the best decision here is experience. If you have never started from number one (brand awareness), we recommend beginning there.

With today’s technology, you would be surprised at the available insights that come from analyzing advertising campaigns. After a brief testing period, you may learn that the demographics and interests you thought were in your target audience actually do not resonate with your content, and vice versa.

The Tools Available for Building Your Audience

As I have said, the best way to identify your most profitable audience is testing and experience. So, how do you decide on an audience to test? There are several targeting parameters and methods we use to capture the right audience:

  • Lookalike Audiences – We take a customer list that you provide and program that into Facebook’s audience tool. Facebook takes it from there and automatically finds users in your area that match the same demographics, behaviors and interests as the list your provided. Pretty cool, right?! We tend to recommend this approach for businesses that may otherwise have a difficult time defining their audience.
  • Custom Audiences – We manually input the demographics, interests, and behaviors into the audience profile. The risk here is that you are saying you believe in your ability to target your audience over Facebook. Sometimes this works great, and other times a lookalike audience would have been a better approach. Custom audiences are also available in LinkedIn, which has it’s own set of targeting parameters to choose from (industry, job title, years of experience, skills, etc.).
  • Keywords – This is specific to Google AdWords and and Google Video Ads. We identify the words and phrases that your audience would search for and tailor our content and spend there.
  • People Who Follow Your Page and Their Friends – If your main goal is brand awareness and you want to make sure people who are already interested in your content are seeing your promotions, this is a great tool for Facebook and Instagram.
  • Retargeting – Based on your website traffic or previously completed tasks that a user has done, we use that data to retarget that audience. This can be someone who has watched your video, added a product to cart, or submitted contact information. All of those metrics are trackable, however this approach usually works best for more advanced ecommerce businesses.


The reason we have invested so much time and money into learning the ins and outs of digital advertising is because we believe the analytical benefits provide the best insights needed to make informed marketing decisions for our clients and drive the most conversions.

I think it is important to not only look at digital advertising as a another form of promotion, but also as a tool to develop your branding and marketing strategy as a whole.

If the methods mentioned above spark any interest or ideas for your business, we would love to explore them with you! You can contact me directly at [email protected] to setup a quick call, or call our office during business hours at (225) 341-4147.

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Shelby Thomas

As a Marketing Project Manager, Shelby's goal is to provide value for clients with results-driven solutions in website development, digital advertising, and traditional marketing collateral.

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