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How to Find My Target Audience: Using Data to Increase Ad Relevancy

targetaudienceFor small- and medium-sized businesses, the value of marketing and advertising is directly tied to the efficiencies created by each channel. So it's not surprising that many budget-strapped organizations eschew TV commercials and other high-spend, inefficient channels that can make a big splash while delivering middling ROI.

Still, even with precise marketing solutions offering unprecedented levels of targeting and efficiency, it's hard to drive strong marketing ROI without a clear understanding of your primary audience.

How to Find My Target Audience

Certain data points play a significant role in helping you understand your target audience, as well as where and how to find them. Let's dig into three of these areas that surface numerous data points to leverage: online consumer actions, user behavior and demographic data.

Online Consumer Actions

If you've had past activity with members of your audience, you have rich first-party data to use to your advantage. Purchase histories, sign-ups for newsletters or other promotions and cart abandonments are all data-rich resources every marketer should try to leverage.

By evaluating these data points, you can use your current customer base to better understand the prospects you haven't yet won over. Both your current and prospective customers likely represent your target audience, so this data will help you understand what those consumers want, and what hurdles they still face.

User Behavior

Online user behavior data is broadly available through third-party outlets, and it can shed a lot of light on the behaviors of consumers you're currently trying to win over.

If you're trying to find your target audience, then third-party data will let you know exactly where they are online, what they're doing and what brands and websites currently have their attention. Data points like sites visited, content consumed and past click histories can provide an outline of their online consumer activity, and it can show you exactly where your brand might have a natural crossover with their current behaviors or interests. But HubSpot cautioned that third-party data can be difficult to verify or evaluate in terms of quality, so while this data resource can be helpful, it's best when combined with first-party data.

Demographic Data

When trying to understand the makeup of your audience, demographic data can be very useful in defining your target audience, developing personas and even refining your targeting strategy to optimize your results. According to Inc., marketers have a wide range of demographic data points to choose from, including location, income, gender, age, education level, occupation, marital status, ethnic background and others. These data points can say a lot about a consumer as well as their general lifestyle, and a combination of demographics can provide a neat, scalable framework for isolating and targeting your most valued audience segment.

Ads and campaigns targeted to the wrong consumers effectively serve as wasted money. By taking time to understand your audience and target its members more precisely, you're able to stop wasting your time on low-value prospects while funneling all of your resources toward consumers offering the greatest ROI.

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