Up close at SMX West 2016: Advanced audience targeting

Columnist Christi Olson recaps insights from a group of industry veterans at SMX West who discuss how to get the most from advanced audience targeting.

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With precise audience targeting, you can have better control over who sees your ads and improve your overall performance by developing customized messages and landing page experiences tailored for each audience.

In an in-depth session at Search Engine Land’s SMX West 2016, panelists covered how to use advanced targeting techniques like remarketing lists, custom affinity lists and YouTube remarketing to help you get more bang for your advertising dollars. Below, I’ll break down what was discussed and take a look at some of the highlights of the session.

Advanced Audience Targeting Smx

Remarketing is like dating

Mark Irvine, a senior data scientist at WordStream, presented a great analogy of how remarketing is a lot like dating. It’s a difficult and time-consuming process to find the right one, and then you sometimes have to follow them around to get them to notice you.

But in the end, the chase is worth the effort because you can find your perfect match. Below are the three key takeaways from his presentation:

  1. Get to know your audience so you can find your ideal match. Just because you think you know who your target audience is, it doesn’t mean you’re right. Go one step beyond what you think and use analytics to identify key demographics about your audience. A few things to think about as you are developing your audience:
    • Think about the chase: Engaged visitors are better visitors. WordStream sees higher conversion rates for customers who have engaged in the past.
    • Not all of your customers have visited your site: Leverage your CRM (customer relationship management) database to target individuals based on their email address. Google Customer Match boasts the highest conversion rates in the industry, because the audience has already shown bias toward your brand by signing up for email.
  2. Find your content match. Identify your best available content to pair with the relevant audiences. Think about the marketing basics: the right audience, with the right product, engaged in the right content, at the right time. Identify your best content to pair with audiences, and customize the message so it’s relevant to them.
  3. Stay persistent with your best converting audiences. Don’t limit yourself with dumb rules like frequency caps and time durations.
    • For remarketing, it doesn’t make sense to set low impression caps. Users are 76 percent more likely to click on remarketing ads because they have engaged with you in the past.
    • Conversion rates increase with exposure. Users are 2x more likely to click on a remarketing ad after six views.
    • Use your Google Analytics Time Lag Report to determine how long users wait before they buy. ACTION: Set your duration to include 95 percent of your sales.

Love At First Click: 4 Ways To Find The Audience of Your Wildest Dreams – And How to Convert Them By Mark Irvine from Search Marketing Expo – SMX

Develop more in-depth audience targeting

Amy Bishop of Clix Marketing went deeper into the processes and best practices for audience targeting in remarketing. Below is the five-step process that she walked us through to help you think through how to develop more in-depth audience targeting.

  1. Determine the goals of your campaign. Remarketing in and of itself is not a goal; however, successful remarketing will help your business reach its goals.
    • Goals can include everything from engagement through a long buying cycle to closing a sale to re-engaging previous purchasers.
    • Each type of goal can have a separate campaign with separate audiences.
  2. Decide which remarketing channels you want to use.
    • Remarketing and audience targeting have moved beyond display banners; it also includes RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads), Shopping Remarketing Lists, Remarketing for Dynamic Search Ads (which is great way to mine for queries more safely than through DSA) and social channels like Facebook.
  3. Create your audiences and segment your data and your lists. Think more deeply about how to create audience lists and move away from basic lists, like users who have been to your site, and instead develop lists for loyal (logged-in) users, visitors who started the purchase or lead funnel, those who visited a specific product page, leads that have not closed and so on.
    • The key takeaway is to target as narrowly as possible without leaving money on the table.
    • Another takeaway is to use your remarketing lists to build funnels, especially for long buying cycles.
  4. Align your messaging and landing pages with your customers’ needs and interests.
  5. And don’t forget to build audiences with the sole purpose of excluding them! Exclude visitors who bounce quickly or left after a single page view.

Four magical tactics to remarket

Last, but not least, Joe Kerschbaum of 3QDigital, covered the four magical tactics to remarket to people who have never been to your website. His deck included in-depth “magical potions” breaking down the ingredients for how to utilize each of his tactics.

  1. First tactic: Use email addresses
    • Use Google Customer Match for the email addresses you acquire. Tip: You can use third-party emails that you have purchased, as well as your own internal data.
    • Define your audience segments in your CRM before you upload them for customer match. A few ways you can think of the segmentation: people who have never been to your website, previous customers, people currently in the lead funnel, and lost customers or opportunities.
    • Now you can remarket to people who haven’t been to your website!
  2. Second tactic: App download
    • You put a lot of effort into having someone download an app, but the adoption rates can be low and abandonment rate quite high. Tip: Use remarketing to reach customers who have downloaded the app through app install campaigns to get them back to engaging with your app.
    • The remarketing process for apps is similar to that of the website.
    • Just remember that like remarketing on your website, you have to place code within your app. Go to the Google Developers Mobile Apps conversion tracking and remarketing site to get more help and insights on how to implement the code on your app.
    • Once you’ve got the code on your app, you can start to create remarketing lists for Mobile App Users. Lists include: all app users, apps not recently used and so on.
    • Now you can remarket to people who have been to your app but not your website.
  3. Third tactic: Use similar audiences
    • Google is a contextual search engine that can look at the search patterns and content for the users in your remarketing lists in order to create similar audiences. Similar audiences allow you to find more volume.
    • Segment your audiences. There are different levels of how you should segment your audiences. Think of segmenting by their engagement level and their intent levels. The audiences that tend to perform best are composed of people who are similar to those who have purchased in the past.
    • Now you can target similar audiences who haven’t been to your website but look like your current audience lists.
  4. Fourth tactic: YouTube and video
    • Every demographic is growing on YouTube. While teens and millennials use YouTube the most, eMarketer is showing that all age ranges are spending more time watching videos on YouTube.
    • The most active industries on YouTube are Media, B2C & B2B Technology, Automotive and Apparel. It’s not just cat videos and fail videos. The caveat to YouTube is that in terms of understanding the customer journey, it’s an introducing and influencing channel, not a closing channel. Embrace the intent and understand that it’s not meant to be a closing channel.
    • Now you are targeting the one billion people who are on YouTube, but haven’t been on your website.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Christi Olson
​Christi Olson is a Search Evangelist at Microsoft in Seattle, Washington. For over a decade Christi has been a student and practitioner of SEM. Prior to joining the Bing Ads team within Microsoft, Christi worked in marketing both in-house and at agencies at Point It, Expedia, Harry & David, and Microsoft (MSN, Bing, Windows). When she's not geeking out about search and digital marketing she can be found with her husband at ACUO crossfit and running races across the PacificNW, brewing and trying to find the perfect beer, and going for lots of walks with their two schnauzers and pug.

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