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Finding the right target audience - OnAudience

Understanding target audience: definition and types

Definition of target audience

Types of target audience

Creating target audiences on Data Management Platform

How to find your target audience?


If you reach out to the target audience in online campaigns you are really close to success. Targeting the right audience means better results in your activities, so for marketers, it is one of the crucial steps. Let’s check how to find your target audience and reach out them to maximize your marketing efforts.

Definition of target audience

Let’s start with the definition. What is the target audience? Basically - your potential customers. Group of people to whom you address your products or services. It can be described by behavioral and demographic attributes, such as age, gender, income, education or localization. If you use audience groups, you focus not on websites where ads will be displayed, but on people who finally will see your marketing messages.

Finding the right audience can be crucial for your campaigns’ efficiency. According to Yahoo study, 54% of customers find personalized ads to be more engaging. McKinsey study shows that ads tailored to clients’ needs can significantly increase ROI - up to 8 times, and lift sales of at least 10%.

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Now we know what the target audience is and how it can help marketers achieve better results. Let’s take a closer look at audiences - what types of target groups can be distinguished.

Audience targeting - OnAudience blog

Types of target audience

There is a lot of attributes that can be used in finding the right audience. As we mention - age, income, education, gender are just a few examples. On the basis of IAB taxonomy, we can sort all the attributes in three large categories, which are listed below:

  • Demography - socio-economic data that describe a user. This group includes attributes, such as age, income, education, gender or geographic location. Using demographic data you can target your campaign for example at young people (eg. age 18-24), both female and male from towns with a population larger than 20,000.
Custom Audience - builder button
  • Interests - the data about users’ hobbies, passions, things that they are looking for and read about. It can be, e.g. books, movies, music, cars, marketing, parenting or dance. By knowing your customers’ passions you gain powerful knowledge because you know how to engage your clients, what product will be interesting for them. For example, you can offer a new book for book lovers or new album of their favorite music group.
  • Purchase intentions - data that can be crucial especially for e-commerce. Audiences are divided into groups of users who recently looked for a specific product, e.g. laptop, refrigerator or car and did not look for it previously. It means that they want to buy a new thing, but first need to gain more knowledge about the demanded product. Examples of audience types in this groups are Women’s clothing, Skiing, Televisions, Tablets or Vehicles.

For targeting purposes, marketers can use just one type of audience attributes (e.g. demography) or mix all of them to create a detailed target group and reach out to them precisely. In other words, marketers can reach out to groups of users: age 35-42, interested in cars, who are going to buy a new vehicle.

Those three categories are just examples of types of audiences. By using technological platforms for managing users’ data, marketers can also create new types, built for a specific campaign or for an upcoming event. It gives the ability to create small, often niche groups and send them an accurate message they expect.

Creating target audiences on Data Management Platform

In digital marketing, collecting and analyzing data is easier than in any other medium. Marketers can check which pages are the most frequently visited, which products are the most often bought or which product pages perform the best.

To manage all collected data marketers use Data Management Platforms. In our article, you can check what exactly is DMP. In a few words, it is a technological platform used in digital marketing for managing users data and dividing them into specific groups.

DMP guide for marketers - button download

Using DMP makes it easy to create new types of audiences, send them personalized messages and check which converts the best. The technology allows users to divide customers, e.g. into specific markets, products or even campaigns they saw. Marketers can, for example, create a target audience from the UK market that is looking for laptops under $1,000. It creates great opportunities for marketers to increase sales by displaying accurate ads to precisely chosen audience group.

Marketers can also experiment and check what kind of groups are performing the best. You can read more about building custom target audiences in our previous blog post: What is customer segmentation and how to use custom segments?

How to find your target audience?

Try to truly understand your audience. What are their problems and needs? Who they are? Start from your current customer base - what attributes do they have? If you store data about users, start analyzing it by using adequate tools, such as Goolge Anayltics or Data Management Platform. It will give you a lot of insights into your clients’ profiles.

You should also analyze your products and services. What benefits do you offer? Try to list them. Then think about people who have a need that your benefit fulfills. How old are they? What they are interested in? What they are looking for and why your product meet their needs? It will help you to find the right attributes of your target group.

Finally, experiment. Build basic, standard segments and use them in your campaign to check how they perform. Next, try to create a new segment, add a non-obvious attribute, build audiences based on how much they spend and offer them products that they can afford to buy.

Discovering your audience, what they are looking for, what they truly need is an exciting journey. Analyze what they do, offer them personalized brand experience and measure the results. Building the right audience is not a single activity - to increase the sales you need to review your target audiences and check how their expectations change over time.

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