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Creating Effective Campaigns Through Search & Social Targeting

Posted on 3.01.2015

By Seth Norris, ZOG Digital

Maximizing the return on investment from ad campaigns today requires highly focused, personalized targeting that combines audience data from both search and social channels.

By layering behavioral, interest, demographic and other data sources to develop these extremely specific audience profiles, marketers can create customized content that is highly relevant and engaging to those personalized segments.

Consider the following approaches for your own digital advertising initiatives and see where the ‘Net can take your enterprise:

Leverage Information Customers Provide

Whether visitors realize it or not, they are providing marketers with all the information they need to develop a clear understanding of their audience segments and create highly targeted campaigns.

To create more effective content, marketers should first analyze the data found in their website analytics solution (e.g. Google Analytics) to understand general user demographics and how their audience engages.

Monitoring social interaction (e.g. shares, likes, retweets, etc.) can also help identify user interests, behaviors and engagement. Combine this information to establish audience segments and identify their needs and expectations from the brand. Top-performing content on a website and social channels can reveal the interests within segments and help develop strong targeting and messaging for all paid media advertising. Additionally, email databases can be leveraged in certain ad targeting (such as Facebook) to target specific users and keep a brand top-of-mind.

Localize Ads with Geotargeting

Targeting users based on location can offer many advantages for ad campaigns and can allow personalized messaging encouraging immediate action. Google and Bing offer the ability to target ads within a specific area while many social channels offer detailed location targeting down to the country, state, city and zip code (postal) level. Leverage these features to increase foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores through promotions and digital coupons. Location-specific content can help increase engagement and drive sales through timely and specific messaging.

Identify Decision-Makers Using Demographics

Targeting decision-makers allows marketers to increase engagement by sending actionable content to users who will inevitably make purchases. Depending on a target audience, decision-makers can take all forms. Marketers can isolate a brand’s decision-makers by analyzing engagement and purchase trends. They can also consider the interests of audience segments/demographics and get specific with targeting across all paid media channels. By creating specialized campaigns for individual groups of decision-makers, marketers can customize their messaging and offers to drive more sales and generate a deeper understanding of what influences audience segments.

Analyze Purchase Patterns through Search Trends

Purchase history and historical search data can teach marketers a lot about their audience and help improve campaign targeting by identifying how users engage with their brand. Consider shifts in seasonal trends and other influencers, such as weather, economy and competitors, which can impact search and sales patterns - requiring adjustments to targeting and campaign messaging.

Leverage tracking pixels from search and social campaigns to see how users move through and engage with the website. Examine page visits, bounce rates, time on pages, landing page selection, top keywords driving traffic and where users drop off in the conversion funnel to identify obstacles and opportunities for targeting, content and website usability.

By focusing on bringing back existing clients, brands can save time and resources by increasing the value of those returning customers.

When looking to expand a brand’s reach and attract new customers in new markets, marketers should leverage Google Trends to identify popular content and purchase patterns within new audience segments. Further, brands should use customized ad content and promotions that speak to the needs of audience segments and monitor engagement to adjust campaigns.

Optimize for Mobile Engagement

Data shows that mobile targeting is a massive opportunity for marketers. By leveraging mobile in search and social campaigns Internet professionals can increase their brands’ visibility and engagement across the Web on all devices. Mobile campaigns help convert leads at the moment of interest while users are out shopping or looking for information. Promotions and coupons can help drive sales in real-time from new and existing users.

Keep in mind the user experience when developing campaigns, as mobile users possess different interests than desktop users such as location information, in-store availability and local sales. Above all, keep mobile ad content concise to capture engagement on small screens and increase visibility on the go.

Monitor Engagement and Adjust

The best way to create effective campaigns is to monitor results and test adjustments to targeting and content. By watching how campaigns perform and analyzing patterns, marketers can create deeper audience understanding that can increase engagement across all digital assets, including paid media.

Further, listen to audience needs and react to customers’ interests and behaviors. Isolate drivers of engagement and messaging focus by analyzing what content and targeting performs best across various channels on the Web. Continue to analyze data and adjust campaigns to stay competitive and targeted as audience and industry behaviors shift.

Improve Ad Quality

Search and social targeting offers opportunities to increase campaign effectiveness by generating a better understanding of audience interests. Leverage data and behavioral trends to create specific audience segments and utilize personalized content and delivery to increase engagement and drive more sales. Layer data sources to discover best opportunities by cross-referencing information from various platforms and crafting more complete audience profiles. Identify the interests of unique audience segments and appeal to them in targeting and campaign content to maximize ROI and increase ad quality.


Seth Norris oversees paid search, affiliate marketing and product feeds at ZOG Digital, incorporating the company’s mandate for results into each of the solutions.

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