A Display Campaign – How to Get Digital Audience Size Right?

By: Samantha Bedford

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing can be a complex web of bids and targeting methods that vary vastly from medium to medium. The promise of digital marketing is a simple one. Only paying to reach the people who want to engage with your brand and are likely to make a purchase. The concept’s holy grail is a digital audience of one wherein you reach an individual person with an individual message at the exact right time and place. It spins out of control quickly and reminds us of Minority Report While in theory, an audience of one is a great concept, the technology isn’t quite as robust as it needs to be right now to make it a cost-effective means of communication.

Creating Audiences For Display Campaigns 

Without an audience of one, that means that a campaign needs to have an intended digital audience in mind when the campaign is created. Typically speaking, we’re creating audiences for display campaigns. A display campaign could be part of a campaign on Google’s Display Network, Facebook or even Snapchat. In today’s world of hyper-targeting, it can seem like a good idea to narrow down audiences to only bid on exactly who you’re trying to reach, but that can often lead to campaigns either not spending out, or inflated cost-per-results because you’re being a bit too particular in finding that needle in a haystack.

The Display Campaign – Being Too Restrictive

We like to think of targeting as a balance between finding your exact right customers and then customers that check off many of the boxes that your ideal customer might have. For instance, in a display campaign promoting a university, the ideal audience had a household income (HHI) of $100,000+. After several days of the display campaign the impression and click volume were far below expectations. After combing through all the campaign settings and targeting components, HHI was determined to be too restrictive based on overall potential audience size in comparison with the other attributes of the campaign. In short, a tradeoff was made to keep other targeting components in place, such as keyword targeting, and not being as specific on the HHI targeting. The campaign still reached the intended audience, but targeting is only as good as the data source provided. In this case, Google’s Display Network didn’t have as robust information on the HHI targeting of our audience as age demographic targeting. After this change was made, the display campaign started to perform in-line with expectations and surpassing industry benchmarks.

The Display Campaign – Being Too Broad

When creating a campaign, on Facebook for instance, pay special attention to potential reach as it pertains to your budget. While it’s not totally precise, Facebook provides a dummy-proof visual guideline to show if your audience is too broad, specific or just right.

Digital Marketing Audience Size Chart

A better way to go about this is to back out a CPM bid to determine how much of a given audience you can reach within your specific budget. Facebook won’t target audiences lower than 1,000 people, but in general, try to keep that audience over 8,000 people to get the scale necessary for most campaigns.

Digital audience size is just one component of a successful display campaign and can contribute to success or difficulty of a campaign. It’s imperative that you target as accurately as possible to make sure that you’re giving the campaign the best chance for success, but also not being so specific that you can only reach a handful of people which will lower your odds of successfully converting customers.

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