Five innovative ways to micro-target the right audience

24th May 2016

Today, the internet forms a pretty central part of most companies’ marketing strategy. However, the more reliant on the internet we are, the more suffocating it becomes, which means that as advertisers we have to become a little more creative in order to get our content seen.

Search engines and social media get more competitive all the time. Gone are the days it was merely enough to click the ‘publish’ button on your website and leave it to the likes of Google to decide whether your content was worthwhile to be noticed. With any online content, we now need to ask ourselves two very important questions: 1) Who is my audience? And 2) How do I reach them?

The good news is that there are now several tools that allow you to create and publish your content in a smarter and more visually attractive way. What’s more, you also don’t necessarily need huge budgets to get the benefits of them, so I have picked out five of the most innovative and useful techniques to successfully micro-target your audience.

1. Facebook Canvas

934 million people use Facebook on their mobile every day, so it was no surprise when Mark Zuckerberg’s internet giants launched their advertising tool specifically for mobile-only. The next potential game-changer from Facebook will be Canvas as it’s easy to use, faster than loading an external website and a great way to create content that users actually want to consume.

If you aren’t familiar yet with Canvas, it is a handy tool that helps you to easily turn ‘long reads’ into visually engaging features. The early statistics are quite impressive, with users spending an average of between 135 and 174 seconds on the ad. Remarkably, whether it is currently just a novelty or not, this means that at the moment Canvas is outperforming videos when it comes to keeping the attention of users.

2. Facebook Pixel

Multi-device tracking is still the Holy Grail for many marketers, but the Facebook Pixel makes it much easier to follow and understand your target audience when they switch between mobile and desktop devices.

Unlike Google, which uses cookies for tracking, Facebook Pixel has the major advantage that as long as a user is logged into their Facebook account, Pixel will be able to track them, whatever device they are on. With the pixel you are able to measure, optimise and build audiences for your ad campaign, and even follow up with people that visited your site or maybe left your site during the checkout process. The ability to personalise your ads and content towards individual customers can be an incredibly powerful technique to convert leads.

3. Snapchat On-demand Geofilters

Many marketers are only just catching up with how they can use Snapchat. However, the company recently rolled out its own custom on-demand Geofilters, so whether it is for a house party, a coffee shop or campus-wide event, Geofilters make it easy for Snapchatters in a certain area to see your branded content in their stories.

The custom geofilters are a fun way to brand your event, service or store on top of user generated content. The most interesting aspect of this, however, will be when brands start targeting competitor brands. Android, for example, could target the upcoming Apple conference, and as yet the Snapchat guidelines don’t seem to prevent this. Unfortunately, the on-demand geofilters are currently only available the US, UK, and Canada.

4. Google Posts

Google is always looking for ways to improve its user experience, and as such has moved towards promoting quality content over easy ads. The search giant has already removed its ads from the right hand side of the results page, and they continue to experiment with ways to promote paid content without being too intrusive for the user.

This new approach allows brands, celebrities or businesses to post cards that pop-up in search results, containing relevant blogposts, links to pieces of clothing or jewellery to buy, or even music and videos. It is still in the experimental phase, so the service is invite-only for the moment, but it could become a very useful pull marketing tool.

5. GoPro Hero4  & Twitter Periscope

The live-streaming of events is one of the latest crazes in online marketing, but Facebook still only allow it for verified pages and personal profiles. Periscope, on the other hand, is free to use for everyone, including brands, celebs and events. Combining Periscope with the power of a GoPro Hero4 gives you a platform to broadcast high quality live streams your target audience, with the ability to can interact with them on Twitter. Twitter Curator also allows you to showcase a selection of tweets live at an event, which could have fascinating possibilities for live music or sports events in future.

Prof. Steven Van Belleghem is author of the award-winning book When Digital Becomes Human, published by Kogan Page, priced £19.99. Follow him on Twitter @StevenVBe, subscribe to his videos at www.youtube.com/stevenvanbelleghem  or visit www.stevenvanbelleghem.com

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