Traffic Cardinal Traffic Cardinal wrote 27.03.2024

Marketing Basics: Identifying Your Targeting Techniques

Traffic Cardinal Traffic Cardinal wrote 27.03.2024
22 min

Targeted advertising is one of the most effective types of advertising. All popular social networks and search engines allow affiliates to place ads on their pages.

However, it's a little more complicated than implied in the first paragraph. Let's find out which tools and features will help you succeed on various platforms.


Any advertising campaign seeks to satisfy the client’s need and offer a solution to their problem. Direct selling doesn't always entail the desired conversion rate, and the buyer is expected to be led through several stages of the funnel before they can accomplish the targeted action.

Almost all beginners make one common mistake: they try to promote a product that does not belong in the social network they're working with. In effect, first and foremost, affiliates should define where the target audience spends more time, focusing on the specifics of information perception and the segmentation options on the site.

To employ correct targeting settings, one should scrutinize and analyze the target audience as well as the product they are about to offer. It may seem an intricate task, but we'll talk you through the targeted advertising types, formats, and platforms, teaching you to comprehend what factors determine the campaign's success.

What Is Targeted Advertising

Targeted advertising is a type of advertising that is customized according to the interests and other characteristics of the target audience. The essence is that the promoted product is displayed to the interested users.

How It Works

While users spend time chatting on social networks or searching for information through search engines, the latter collect data, which targetologists then use for analysis.

Each platform provides a wide range of tools, but before you resort to them, draw up a portrait of your target audience, and based on this portrait, choose by what parameters to segment the audience and on what resource to promote.

Targeted Ads Research
Targeted Ads Research

Sites keep the following details:

  • location: read upon request or specified when creating a profile;
  • gender, age, marital status, education, and place of work: filled in during registration;
  • interests: identified based on subscriptions, visited resources, activities under posts, and search queries.

Facebook allows you to create an audience of site visitors using Pixel, installed on web pages, and scans user actions based on events: going to a page, adding to cart, and downloading a file.

Using the data, you can:

  • divide potential clients into groups;
  • show advertisements that are relevant to them;
  • encourage people to go to a community or website;
  • motivate users to purchase a subscription, product, or service.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Targeted advertising can work to your advantage in the following ways:

  • showing ads only to people who are interested in the product;
  • capturing the portrayal of the potential buyer in the settings;
  • minimizing the percentage of non-target impressions;
  • choosing a format that is convenient for clients to understand.

Targeted ads are easy to test and adjust; launching does not require your own website or large investments; you can set up the display for members of communities, including those belonging to competitors.

Traffic targeting is the easiest way to find your target audience, but it also has a few disadvantages:

  • strict advertising policy on various sites;

  • uses personal information;

  • no unified, consistent, and working formula for all networks.

Payment Models

  • CPM: per 1000 views;

  • CPC: for each click;

  • CPA: for conversions, targeted actions (FB, Google Ads);

  • CPE: for likes, focus, and other engagement (Google Ads, Facebook);

  • CPI: for installing applications (Google Ads);

  • CPV: for video views (Google Ads, Facebook).

CPM and CPC are two basic methods, and they are available in settings in all social networks and search engines.

The following categories are successfully promoted by targeted ads:

  • Products with mass demand, independent of seasonality, interests, and wages. These goods include clothing and household appliances;

  • Inexpensive WOW products purchased on impulse. Such products are associated with a popular film release, TV series, or holiday. Examples: phone case with the Genshin Impact logo, Harry Potter stylized earbuds, K-POP caryalls, and backpacks.

  • Services of massage, manicure salons, entertainment centers, and car services.

Targeted advertising does not promote urgent services or B2B products for a narrow audience: diving equipment, electricity generators, machine tools, or R-Keeper.


The cost of clicks and transitions depends on the social network and is determined by auctions. 10, 30, 60 advertisers can apply for one category. The higher the CPM price, the more often the ad wins the auction.

The price is affected by:

  • number of advertisers for the selected group;
  • number of people in the segment;
  • click-through rates;
  • premium target audience.

After setting up and launching the campaign, targetologists analyze the budget expenditure and make adjustments. If the established daily limit is spent in 2-3 hours, the auction is not loaded, and you can lower the bid and get similar coverage indicators with less consumption.

Types of Targeted Advertising

There are a few types of targeted advertising that serve different purposes.

Topic Targeting

The essence is in the name. The ads pertaining to this type of targeting are placed on resources that correspond to the topic of the advertised product. They are published by teaser networks and Google Display Network. The main advantage of the technique is large coverage, but there's a disadvantage too: all individual characteristics of potential customers are not taken into account. Topic advertising is often used to promote electronics stores on forums with young people and cosmetics in women's communities.

Reaching the Target Audience
Reaching the Target Audience

Behavioral Targeting

If you ever found yourself frantically googling queries behavioral targeting how it works and behavioral targeting how to do, breathe in, breathe out, and keep reading.

Behavioral targeting broadcasts ads according to user behavior. Every time a user visits, the sites analyze what other sites they visited, what they watched, what they bought, and how they paid for the product. The results of complex analysis form categories and are used in targeting to set up advertising and draw up a clear portrait of a potential client. Often used in conjunction with geotargeting to expand reach.

Behavioral Targeting
Behavioral Targeting

Behavioral targeting problems:

  • Not every user is ready to cope with the fact that sites track their actions through cookies;
  • Sometimes two, three, or more people use one account, thus distorting the analysis results.

Interest Targeting

Facebook collects data when users like, subscribe, read posts, and join communities. To collect interests, Google analyzes cookies, frequency, and duration of visits, and the subject of the resources visited. Using this tool, you can expand your coverage by tagging new categories.

By default, when new items are added, the audience expands. If you check Sports and Fitness + Tourism, the group will be filled with people interested in tourism or sports. You can use alternative behavior: enable the Narrow audience field for Facebook. In this case, when adding items, the algorithm will look for people for whom all the specified interests are relevant.

Demographic Targeting

Demographic targeting is commonly used on social media platforms to find potential clients by age, gender, marital status, and education level. Information is taken from user profiles on the site itself. Demographic metrics reduce the number of untargeted impressions, improve the quality of segmentation, and help display advertising only to paying people.

Demographic Targeting
Demographic Targeting

Women and men, depending on their age, perceive information differently, so targetologists often separate a campaign to show different creatives, even if the product is used regardless of gender.


We heard the keystrokes punching in the words location targeting what is it, and we are here to clarify the term.

Advertisers who need targeting in a particular city, district, or region can set the GEO of interest using a map or drop-down list, add exceptions, and mark places where users visit, work, or live. Geotargeting is used when the task is to advertise an offline store, hotel, or cafe.

Social media location information:

  • read on demand;
  • indicated when registering an account;
  • fixed after marking the photo on the map.

Google enables location tracking and saving of location history by default on all Android devices, even when GPS is turned off.

Language Targeting

This tool allows you to show publications to those who use Google products in a certain language. Algorithms track the language visitors enter search queries in and focus on the language set in their browser settings and displayed on the sites they visit.

Targetologists indicate one or two languages and fill in keywords. Next, search engine algorithms begin to concentrate not only on keywords but also on languages. Linguistic preference settings help you focus on tourists and are often combined with geotargeting.

Time Targeting

After analyzing the activity of potential buyers, the best display time and day are selected. The settings help increase click-through rates and conversions by raising bids during periods when the auction is heavily loaded.

If the company cannot process applications on weekends or holidays, targetologists turn on the ad display on weekdays only. The same principle can be applied to offline companies.

Device Targeting

This type of targeting is designed to pick the post format and adapt it for the correct display on the device of choice.

Device Targeting
Device Targeting

The option is used:

  • to exclude budget gadgets;
  • to promote a game or program for one operating system;
  • to filter out smartphones that are not compatible with the application.

Keyword Targeting

Keyword targeting aims at potential customers who have requested information using a search form. To set up, prepare a list of phrases, create a segment based on the list, and launch a campaign.

Examples of key phrases: camera, Philips camera, and camera + competitor. Promoting your competitors’ keywords helps you get warm buyers. Negative phrases help get rid of untargeted impressions but narrow your reach.

This option fits:

  • Products with a narrow audience: vegan products, permaculture grains, insulation for increasing energy efficiency at home;
  • Goods that are already in demand: debit cards, clothing, consumer electronics, cosmetics;
  • New brands that want to enhance awareness. A short description and colorful creativity increase recognition;
  • Target audiences that are hard to define. People looking for dietary supplements or psychological services may not spend time in such communities.

Targeting Tools

There three basic targeting tools.


Retargeting allows you to re-engage with the audience who saw the product advertisement. This tool requires defining an audience collected through a pixel, QR code, or previous campaigns. Pixel is a JavaScript code generated in the advertising account, installed on the site, and reads the actions of visitors based on events. Events are configured manually by webmasters.

On social networks, when creating an ad, you can configure the saving of the audience by type of reaction and add users who like it, go to the community, or hide the post to different groups. Ready-made groups are used in subsequent campaigns to “catch up” with the user and guide them through the remaining stages of the sales funnel.


  • allows you to guide the buyer through the sales funnel;
  • works with warm clients;
  • high conversion rate;
  • eliminates untargeted impressions.

The only flaw of retargeting is that some users have a negative attitude toward personalized advertising materials.


Parsers collect and organize data according to specified parameters. Contact and community parsing complements the functionality of social networks, automates processes, and arranges better segmentation of the target audience.

There are a few things parsers can do easily:

  • Search for active subscribers who are members of several public pages;
  • Track profiles of buyers of similar products;
  • Parse active and new subscribers of competitors;
  • Collect a database of thematic communities;
  • Look for parents, public administrators, and birthday people.

Here are the advantages:

  • a wide range of options for searching and filtering;
  • the ability to collect a database from several social networks at the same time;
  • contact information can be uploaded to a separate file.

As any option on the Internet, this one has a few disadvantages:

  • not all services offer a trial period or free functionality;
  • can be difficult for beginners to select an instrument and understand the settings.

Look Alike

This technology creates a similar audience based on the existing one. It is available on Facebook and Instagram. LaL focuses on interests, gender, age, and location and collects similar customers who may be interested in the product. You can use contacts collected by Pixel, parsers, previous campaigns, CRM platforms, and a database of email addresses as a basis.

To set up look-alike, you are allowed to use data left by the people who:

  • spent 2-3 minutes on a website;
  • left a phone number or email address;
  • read the description of the product or service;
  • subscribed, downloaded an app, made a purchase, or another conversion.

Advantages of the look-alike technology:

  • promotion costs reduction;
  • rapid expansion of target coverage;
  • selection accomplished by machine learning technology;
  • accepts contact information in different formats.

The disadvantage of LaL is that you need to set a high-quality initial group without bots, otherwise the results will be inaccurate.

Social Media Targeting

Let’s have a look at the most popular social media platforms.


As the platform’s algorithms are adjusted to machine learning, you cannot use the list of community subscribers and activity readouts (likes and comments on Facebook). Here, you can set up automatic post selection, which brings more clicks and views.

When working with Facebook, the main task is to train the algorithm. The targetologist determines key interests along with a standard set of parameters for social networks: age, gender, and GEO. Next, an algorithm comes into play that analyzes how a person consumes content and what type of communication he prefers. After the algorithm finds the optimal group of people, the indicator curves stop fluctuating up and down and remain at the same level.


Instagram shares the advertising account with Facebook, so the setup is no different. The platform automatically selects where to publish posts. Available formats vary depending on the chosen objective. The system offers 11 formats, the most popular of them being one image/video, or carousel.


Research confirms that TikTok is used not only by children and teenagers but also by solvent adults. Direct sales do not work on this social network, so targetologists use simple lead magnets to transfer buyers to a messenger or another platform for further warming up. Lead magnets for TikTok include an offer to receive a free checklist, an introductory lesson, and a trial order.

When working with TikTok, it is worth testing two channels at the same time: transfer people to a messenger and to a website. Often, the first option results in the best conversion rates. Despite its growing popularity, the platform is not suitable for promoting expensive products.

Oberlo sums up the results of DataReportal Research
Oberlo sums up the results of DataReportal Research

There are five ad formats available in the app, the most popular being In-feed Native Video. This format is launched independently through the account and is a video from 5 to 60 seconds that pops up in the user’s feed.

TikTok In-Feed Native Video. Source: strikesocial
TikTok In-Feed Native Video. Source: strikesocial


Audience targeting in search engines also allows you to find your target audience based on interests, behavior, and demographic parameters. It differs from targeting on social networks as it produces more precise segmentation. A marketer can fill out the semantic core for context but limit the search results and display of banners on partner sites using audience targeting.

Audience targeting on Google is available both during and after ad creation.


  • Audience accumulation. This tool combines different groups into one to clearly represent a potential buyer;
  • Search remarketing. It allows you to respond to requests with advertisements if the user is present in the remarketing database;
  • Observation mode. That's how you can study and evaluate the effectiveness of the target.

Google Audience targeting advantages:

  • works in two modes;
  • does not display ads only on thematic resources;
  • provides a good analysis of interests;
  • helps you catch up with customers by remarketing;
  • supports look-alike technology.

The disadvantage is that it is difficult to exclude consumers who lost interest in the product.

Measures of Effectiveness

Efficiency is assessed within the objective set. If the indicators are lower than expected, adjustments are made. To evaluate ad effectiveness, platforms provide the following metrics:

  • reach: how many people saw the ad;
  • impressions: the total number of unique and non-unique impressions;
  • frequency: repeated viewings by the same person;
  • CTR: reflects click-through rate, the ratio of clicks to impressions;
  • CPC: cost per click;
  • CPL: price for a lead;
  • CPM: price of 1000 impressions.

To view the cost of a target CPA action and the CR conversion rate, you need to connect to Google Analytics or calculate it manually. If traffic is directed to the site, you should pay attention to the time spent on the resource and the page depth.

Cases & Creatives

Here you can find examples of the creatives and cases that led affiliates to success.


InnoGames Screenshot
InnoGames Screenshot

GEO: Thailand;

Target audience: men 25-54;

Language: Thai;

Traffic source: Tik-Tok;

Payment model: CPM;

Period: 06/25/2020 - 07/30/2020;

Income: $2160;

Expense: $211;

Net: $949.

We selected the “Conversions” campaign type and installed a pixel on the thank you page to collect statistics. Then, we launched a test and collected a database of moderators for cloaking. After preparations, we launched an advertising campaign with a budget of $20 per day and controlled the rate.

Hialronika CO, MX

Hialronika Creo
Hialronika Creo

Source: Instagram;

Spent: $34,000;

Received: $73,000;

Period: 11/10/2020 - 03/20/2021;

Affiliate Program: Leadrock;


ROI: 116%;

Profit: $39,000.

The (pre)landing pages were taken from the offer, and the goals were set to “Complete conversion”. Targeted women 38-65 years old. The approval rate remained around 50%.


Before you start working with social networks, define the target audience and ponder over the chain of actions leading from the first contact to the target action. Do not try to apply a model that works on one platform to another one because each algorithm is different and requires an individual approach.

Before launching a full-fledged campaign, it is advisable to test different ad formats with different creatives for 3-5 days. Tests will show which advertising formats, texts, and creatives work best.

Wrapping Up

The campaign's success depends on:

  • accuracy of target audience portrayal;
  • quality of the ad format and creative;
  • the platform where customers make conversions.

If tests show low performance after 3-4 days, it is recommended to pause the ad, correct the text, call to action, and creatives.


What is the optimal budget for targeted advertising on social networks?
Depends on the objective, payment model, and selected network. Rely on indicators and results your tests show.
What is the optimal budget for targeted advertising on Google?
There is no universal amount suitable for all purposes and payment models. It is recommended to set your daily budget above the cost of three conversions.
Are targeting and retargeting the same thing?
Targeting from scratch implies selecting potential clients based on demographics, geographic indicators, interests, and education. Retargeting is a way to re-engage with a group that was previously shown ads.
Can targeted advertising be free?
No, social networks and search engines make money from targeting.

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