Which Targeting Option is Best for Achieving Brand Awareness?

Generating brand awareness is, in many ways, the biggest challenge for an organization because it’s a crowded market. You need to find your most likely customers and cut through the noise to get to them - and that means getting really good at targeting.

July 19, 2023

If people aren’t aware of your brand, you don’t exist to them - and if you don’t exist to them, they’ll never be a customer.

Michael Kline, our paid advertising aficionado, and digital marketing star SK Vaughn want to help you find the right targeting option for your paid advertising campaigns. We asked them for their insight, and here’s what they recommend.

Starting With Your Target Audience and Campaign Objectives

Before you can choose the targeting option that works best, you need to figure out:

  1. Who you want to reach, and
  2. What you want to achieve.

When you begin, it’s best to start wide and narrow down your focus. “The key is to target as broadly as possible, while still ensuring that the people you’re reaching are within your target audience,” says Michael. “Don’t get too specific in your targeting, and don’t worry if some of the people that you reach are the people who live in the same household or work at the same places as your target audience, rather than the exact target audience.”

SK agrees:  “It will be important to not get too specific here, as you may miss out on reaching a bigger pool of potential customers.” 

Remember: the ultimate goal is to get your audience to remember your brand, so that when they’re ready to find a service or product they need, your name pops up.

“If the people surrounding them are talking about your brand,” says Michael, “they’re much more likely to consider you when making their purchasing decisions.”

As far as your goals go, you’ll choose campaign objectives that help you reach as many relevant people as possible. This will determine the channels and methods you use to deliver your ads and content to them. 

Breaking Down Brand Awareness Targeting Methods

There are quite a few ways to reach your target audience online. Broadly speaking, they include:

Each method and platform has its own unique advantages when it comes to reaching your target audience. Most importantly, different segments of your audience “live” in different places. Facebook skews older, while Instagram skews younger. Some segments are more likely to click on PPC ads after searching on Google; others ignore them altogether.

According to Michael, marketers today are focusing more on video content - especially short-form video optimized for mobile. Video is engaging, catches peoples’ attention, and can be more memorable than a text or banner ad. 

For SK, influencer marketing is a big trend savvy marketers are exploring. “People trust people,” says SK. “They don’t immediately trust brands. Influencer marketing has the capability to get your services or products in the hands of people who trust them - and by extension, trust you.”

You can either start small, with one method, or cast a wider net and pursue a “survival of the fittest” strategy where you steadily identify the most fruitful methods and discard the less accurate and effective options.

How to Measure Success in Online Targeting

After you’ve created audiences and launched campaigns, how do you know they’re working?

Top metrics paid advertising marketers use to track success include:

  1. Video engagement - How many people are watching your video?
  2. Traffic - How many people are visiting your website from the ads?
  3. Branded search traffic - Have you seen an increase in people searching for your brand name on Google?
  4. Social media engagement - How often are people reacting to, commenting on, or sharing your campaign on social media?
  5. Brand mentions - How often is your brand being mentioned, and are mentions positive or negative?
  6. Social media following - Are you seeing a lift in social media followers?
  7. Overall leads increase - Are you seeing an overall increase in leads for your business? (Not just from the campaign itself, but from all channels)
  8. Full funnel attribution - Using attribution modeling, you can track how each campaign contributes to a lead.

You can get really granular and look at more specific metrics like cost per click (CPC), cost per acquisition (CPA), cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM), click-through rate (CTR), average view duration, and others.

SK’s favorite ways to measure overall campaign success include brand awareness metrics like post reach, impressions, thruplays (i.e. whenever a user views a video for 15 seconds or to completion), brand mentions, and landing page views. 

Her vanity metrics to watch include follower growth rate, comments, and new users to the site. Vanity metrics are those that may not indicate tangible ROI, but can be indirect measurements of general progress on social media.

Michael shares one success story: a brand awareness campaign for Electromagnetic client, Technical Training Aids.

“A great example of a successful brand awareness campaign is our Roland and Universal display ad campaigns for Technical Training Aids. Technical Training Aids sells 3D Printers in the southeastern United States to educators of all grade levels, from elementary to university.  

These ads began running in September of 2021, and continued throughout 2022. By running these display ads, traffic from TTA’s sales regions increased by 259.59% comparing 2021 to 2022, from 12,664 users to 45,538 users. Conversions (requested quotes and phone calls) also increased by 35.85% comparing those periods, from 159 to 216.”

You can segment metrics by geography, too: “North Carolina, where those ads resonated particularly well, saw a 783.70% increase in traffic, from 2,000 users in 2021 to 17,674 users in 2022. They also saw an increase in conversions of 186.67%, from 15 in 2021 to 43 in 2022,” says Michael.

The takeaway? Brand awareness works, y’all.

Targeting Mistakes to (Hopefully) Avoid

In a perfect world, there are no mistakes and your brand awareness campaigns go off without a hitch.

But mistakes will be made, and brands tend to make the same ones - which means if you’re aware of potential pitfalls, you can sidestep them.

For SK, the most common mishaps come when brands don’t understand who their audience is and what problem they are trying to solve. “When you try to be all things to all people you end up talking to no one,” says SK. “It will be important to have a brand identity and personality once you determine your audience.”

For Michael, the most common brand awareness campaign mistake is, well, not running a campaign at all. “Many businesses don’t see the value in it, as most brand awareness campaigns aren’t the campaigns that your audience will convert from,” he says.

That leads to the second mistake: Expecting a brand awareness campaign to generate several leads without the help of a lead generation campaign, or contributions from another channel.

“Brand awareness campaigns are meant to ensure more of your audience knows you, and more of your audience has a positive impression of your brand, so that when they’re deciding on who they will choose for your product or service, they’ll choose you through your lead generation campaigns or just by going directly to your site,” says Michael.

When it comes to actually creating the content and messaging, a big mistake is not being consistent. Consistency in messaging and visuals is essential to a good brand awareness campaign, according to our gurus.The game is all about getting your audience to remember you, and they’ll struggle to remember you if your brand isn’t consistent in its messaging, visuals, and even audio. 

Michael recommends “establishing a slogan or jingle to use in your business’s brand awareness campaign” to create that stuck-in-their-brand moment to follow them around wherever they go - long after they’ve seen your ads.

Finally, SK cautions against unrealistic expectations. ”You can’t expect great return on investment if you aren’t willing to invest,” she says. “Some people like to see how far their dollar can stretch, but I would rather start small in one area and build from there rather than casting a wide net with little money to reinforce it.”

“Unfortunately,” she adds, “the frequency of the ad will be too low and no one will really see it and your ROAS [return on advertising spend] will not be what you hoped.”

The Final Word on Targeting

The most important investment you can make in marketing is letting people know you exist.

Building a better brand isn’t all you need to do, but the more branding campaigns you run, the more lift you’ll see in your conversions - if you’re targeting the right people.

Know who you want to be and who you want to reach, and you’re well on your way to finding, influencing, and winning over your ideal customers. Ready to get in front of your ideal customers? Let’s talk! 

SK Vaughn

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