Looking Beyond the Target Demographic

“Tips On Tuesdays” is a blog series written by AppNexus’ clients and partners. The series contains practical insights on how they’ve been successful in today’s digital advertising ecosystem and how you can be too. Today’s post is written by Jennifer Dunn, Senior Product Manager of Display Advertising for Mediative.

Nothing drives home the idea of a target demographic quite like the onslaught of pickup-truck commercials during a sports broadcast. Bold lettering, a booming voice, hero imagery—it’s guy stuff for a male-centric demographic.

A recent afternoon in front of the television got me thinking. Would a pickup campaign in the digital space follow the same philosophy? It’s highly unlikely. Whereas traditional ad mediums rely on demographic targeting and broad generalities, online advertising takes a different approach. Online, we can measure interest and intent, which tell us more about potential customers than simple market segmentation ever could. It’s about relevancy on an individual scale.

Just consider how these three tactics gauge interest and intent to determine which type of pickup-truck ad to serve:

  • Driving brand awareness: Visitors to a truck blog obviously have a general interest in pickups. But are they ready to head down to a dealer? Not necessarily. So serve a top-line branded ad to reinforce awareness, in case browsing leads to buying.
  • Reinforcing a specific interest: Someone checking out a particular pickup model on a brand’s site is different. This user is demonstrating clear interest and possible intent. When he or she visits other sites, keep the model top of line with a model-focused ad.
  • Responding to strong intent: When someone’s search focuses on finding an automotive dealership nearby, that’s a strong sign of intent. Serve up a promotional ad with a limited-time offer or special discount to spur action.

In every moment of every day, consumers demonstrate their interest and intent online. They do this through the sites they visit and the actions they take, so pay attention and serve creatives accordingly.


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