Audience Targeting

Updated on April 10, 2024
Article byKhalid Ahmed
Edited byKhalid Ahmed
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is Audience Targeting?

Audience Targeting refers to segregating a complete set of audience or potential consumers into target groups depending on various criteria like intent, demographics, gender, interest, and online behavior. It aims at helping marketers formulate ad campaigns aligning with the lifestyle of consumers willing to buy their products.

Audience Targeting

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It helps marketers reach more customers interested in their products or services with related content. Companies get to deliver optimized and customized experiences to their prospective customers. It can be created from customer profiles comprising data points like online behavior and demographics.

Key Takeaways

  • Audience targeting is a way to segment entire audiences into targeted groups according to specific factors such as intentions, demographics, gender, interests, and online habits.
  • Several strategies are used to ensure marketing messages reach their intended audience, which accounts for people’s demographic traits, behaviors, psychology, contexts, locations, devices, and similarities to other consumers.
  • It benefits marketers in reaching qualified potential customers, boosting website visits, increasing sales, enhancing how people engage with a website, and reducing wasted spending.
  • It uses targeting people based on their behavior and characteristics, while contextual targeting targets content and surrounding context

Audience Targeting Explained

Audience targeting is defined as a procedure of segmentation of all prospective audiences into different segments based on types like online behavior, demographics, and interests. Marketers utilize these to formulate ad campaigns aligned directly with targeted customers’ lifestyles. It allows one to reach the correct people to generate leads without spending on the non-delivering audience. It enables one to choose the right audience for displaying ads.

Audience targeting depends on various factors, including the following:

  1. Demographics: It includes targeting people per their income, parental status, gender, and age.
  2. Affinity audience: It means profiles based on lifestyle and interest derived from users’ online behavior.
  3. In-market audience: They are people visiting online markets for certain products.
  4. Remarketing: It targets people who previously visited the website.
  5. Similar audience: It refers to creating a segment of the audience mirroring the remarketing or email list.

It works by gathering data from various sources, building profiles, assigning set categories, activating campaigns, and their evaluations. Audience targeting has multiple implications, like personalized marketing leading to higher sales, higher sales enhancing return on investments, and some challenges like over-targeting or granular audiences and serving excess ads.

It is used for digital advertising and email marketing leasing to maximize marketing effect and improve customer engagement and conversions. As a result, companies get enhanced revenue, customer loyalty, increased customer base, and regular source of income.


To reach a large number of target audiences, the below strategies work exceptionally well:

  • Utilize Google Analytics & Google Ads to determine the interest of website visitors for audience-targeting marketing.
  • Leverage social media audience targeting to attract and target audiences.
  • Invest heavily in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy.
  • Implement demographic targeting to reach audiences according to their marital status, gender, income, age, education, location, etc.
  • Choose behavioral targeting based on their online behavior, like browsing history, app usage, website interactions, and purchase history.
  • Adopt psychographic targeting, which centers on targeting audiences as per their interest, personalities, values, and users’ lifestyles.
  • Use contextual targeting to deliver ads concerning web page content and apps.
  • Lookalike audiences use existing customer databases to form new audience groups having similar characteristics, helping to increase the reach of the audience. 
  • With geo-targeting, one can focus on users as per their geo-location, like postal codes, city regions, or country, and data sources like IP addresses and GPS data.
  • Through device targeting, businesses can deliver ads as per the type of device used by users, like desktop, laptop, or tablet. 
  • One could also use A/B testing to find whether the ad campaign is effective or not.


Let us take the help of a few examples to understand the topic.

Example #1

A recent article by Nicola Agius, published on January 25, 2024, discusses Meta’s expansion of how they target audiences automatically for ads. It states that Meta’s Advantage detailed targeting is now available for all types of ad campaigns after phasing out detailed manual categories for targeting sensitive topics. Furthermore, the tech giant had announced plans to stop using detailed manual categories for targeting certain topics. Although using AI for ads can improve campaign performance, there are concerns about potentially losing control and spending budgets inefficiently.

As part of Meta’s Advantage tools, Advantage’s detailed targeting uses AI and machine learning to identify more types of valuable customers. This feature can now be applied to campaigns aimed at achieving multiple goals like getting impressions, video views, reaching people, engagement, boosting ad recall, collecting leads, clicking links, and creating landing pages.

Example #2

Let us assume that a motivational website called WisdomTooth targets a US-based audience for growth and inspiration. Its primary audience includes the age category of 25-45 years, who are sailing through career transformations and want to improve themselves to achieve greater growth. The targeting of the audience will help resolve professional challenges, mental resilience, and life balance. WisdomTree’s advertisement department creates engaging content with a relatable and conversational tone.

Hence, their ads campaign will use the most popular social media platforms among the target audience. Besides, the website of the company will contain expert insights, success stories, practical tips, and a community support forum. Moreover, the company aims to empower and motivate the targeted audience on their path to a more contented life by understanding their struggles in life and their aspirations.


A business needs to target an audience for the following benefits:

  1. It leads to the generation of large volumes of quality leads as marketing content as ads reach the desired audience wanting to buy the product or services.
  2. It also opens doors for enhanced flow of traffic towards the website due to high-engaging ads resonating with potential customers, motivating them to click ads and visit the website.
  3. It facilitates maximized sales, leading to earning a higher return on investment.
  4. It improves user experience significantly as only relevant ads are served to relevant audiences without distracting them.
  5. It complements powerfully to personalized and dynamic ads.
  6. It helps minimize the wastage of ad revenue as they only target interested audiences.
  7. It reveals valuable information regarding the target market, enabling the refinement of the marketing strategies.
  8. Marketers use insights from here to allocate and optimize ads for audiences that can highly convert to customers.
  9. Marketers can build a loyal customer base by creating audience-targeted ads through relevant ads.
  10. It also attracts high-quality leads, having more chances of conversion into consumers.
  11. Publishers of ads get better fill rates, higher effective cost per mille (eCPM), and higher view-through rates (VTR), leading to increased revenue of earnings per 1000 impressions.

Audience Targeting vs Contextual Targeting

Although both help in marketing products online for better conversion, they have certain differences, as listed below in the table:

Audience TargetingContextual Targeting
Aims to publish ad relevant to the user landing on a web page.Is a highly effective and privacy-oriented alternative to marketing
It works on the premise of who the audience is.It uses a variety of factors to determine the most relevant content to place ads for users.
Helps ad reach interested consumers.Used side by side of audience targeting ads per the context of the content.
Uses targeting of people based on their behavior and characteristicsTarget content and surrounding context
Uses purchase history, interests, behaviors, CRM data and demographics.Uses website categories, Keywords, and content analysis,
Dependent on the method used to reach an audience.Not reliant on third-party data.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What audience targeting options are available on Twitter?

One can pick their audience on Twitter in many ways. Target them based on where they live, what language they speak, what device they use, their age, or gender. One can also focus on certain discussions, events or hobbies. Even movies, TV shows, and keywords can help one target their audience. Moreover, one can connect with people similar to their followers or those who engage with their content.

2. How to increase audience targeting?

To increase the audience targeting, one has to do the following:
– Use the criteria like behaviors, demographics, and interests.
– Leveraging from retargeting and lookalike audiences.
– Finally, one has to take the help of performance data to refine and test the strategy of targeting.

3. Why is targeting your audience important?

The targeting of one’s audience is important due to the following reasons:
-Increases the reach towards the right section of the audience to maximize the impact.
-Helps boost audience engagement along with conversion rates.
-Finally, it optimizes the ad expenditure and also the ROI.

This article has been a guide to what is Audience Targeting. Here, we explain its examples, comparison with contextual targeting, strategies, and benefits. You may also find some useful articles here –

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