Three ways to reach your target audience online

Reaching your target audience online should a basic goal to strive for before seeking to improve sales, revenues and returning customers. But what if your online marketing campaign never actually reaches them in the first place?

Only a few weeks ago, Marketing Week contributor Rachel Gee wrote an article with the headline ‘new research shows UK marketers are struggling to reach their desired audiences online, with just 47% of campaigns seen by their target audience.’

Pointing to a study conducted by consumer insights agency Nielsen, Gee argued that many brands struggle to target effectively through digital, with FMCG and retail coming in at just 40% and 42% respectively.

With so much marketing now done solely online, or at least with a digital-first strategy, this insight should be more than a little worrying for those brands reliant on reaching their target demographic this way. So what can be done about it? Here are three tips for better targeting your campaign to your intended audience, and how to monitor your reach.

Get to know your audience, especially young people.

Just when you thought you had the millennial figured out, times have moved on and yet another generation is set to become the youngest audience segment with money to spend and hearts and minds to be won.

The marketing world is only just starting to get to know Generation Z, which is generally understood to be those born in the late 1990s or early 2000s. While that may not sound all too different from the coveted millennial, just remember that these young people have grown up with a mobile phone in their hand and wireless internet at their fingertips. Dial up, anyone?

With Campaign Live reporting that Nielsen’s study suggests young people are even more difficult to reach online than over 35s, the mismatch between being constantly connected and yet hard to reach poses a challenge for marketers.

Getting to know Generation Z could prove difficult, not least because their habits and interests are ever changing, but some early insights have been drawn from commentators. PR Week suggests that ‘Generation Z is responding less and less to traditional advertising, especially if it appears on social media’, often finding it an annoyance blocking the content they want to see.

Here the key is integration, camouflaging advertising seamlessly with content that interests the audience, whether that’s by using social media influencers or creating relatable stories that show the product or service as something aspirational yet attainable.

Vary your platforms, but choose wisely

With so many platforms out there to choose from, it is easy to get lost in a minefield of online sites that bring little or no value to your strategy. While varying the platforms you use to reach your target audience is important, choosing the right one is vital to ensuring that your efforts produce a good return on investment.

While Facebook and Twitter are obvious choices, other platforms that are quickly becoming just as frequented are Instagram and Snapchat, and are proving to be great platforms for marketers to reach their audience.

Business Zone argues just this, pointing to Instagram’s recent launch of live streaming, stories, and push notifications as exciting new features that could be useful for marketers. It is suggested that ‘up until now, many brands treated Instagram as a platform for sharing visual content. Now, there is a lot of possibility to treat it as a platform for engagement as well.’

Go holistic with your data

Using data to focus your strategy is now accepted as a must for any marketing on- or offline, but taking a holistic approach to your data and insights is one way you can better reach your target audience.

According to VentureBeat, although many brands now put data at the heart of their marketing, far fewer seek to connect the dots between those insights generated by different teams and different business functions and areas.

It is argued that ‘by pulling together all the data and empowering people to expand their analysis, marketing organisations can gain a full-picture view of their efforts.’ This in turn can lead to being able to capture the full life of your relationship with a lead, fine tuning your media mix in real time to meet the needs of the audience and capturing demographics more effectively and efficiently than your competitors.

Using these three techniques you can begin to better target your online strategy to reach the audience you need, in turn bringing higher engagement and brand awareness where it really matters.

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