Audience targeting on Programmatic

The Complete Guide to Audience Targeting in Programmatic Advertising

Any marketing campaign or approach starts with the STP (Segmentation, Targeting, Positioning) framework.

As a marketer, you would first create your segments that have your ideal customers. Segmentation is an approach to divide the market into user groups of homogeneous characteristics based on their likelihood to buy your product or services.

Once you know who your target audience is and how they behave, you want to reach out to them. That is what Targeting is.

And when you know how to reach your audience, you devise your messaging based on product Positioning.

Founders, CXOs & Marketers of your organization are the custodians of the segmentation and product positioning. It is a rigorous process of market testing, user testing, reading the industry & competition, and forecasting the trends to come up with the ideal segments to target and the product positioning viz a viz your competitor products. Generally, this is a one-time task and stays relevant, with little modifications, for at least a few years.

A lot depends on the way marketers and advertisers reach their desired audience segments to deliver messages as per their product positioning.

We all would agree that a robust targeting is the backbone of any campaign. Right from the media planning phase to campaign optimization, the marketer, advertiser, or the media trader needs to carefully select the desired audience profiles, which give them the best ROAS (Return On Ad Spend). Because it does not make sense to show Ads of Men's Gillette Shaving Kit to a lady unless she wants or searches for it, in which case, Contextual Targeting should also be considered.

Defining your ideal targeting mix can be a challenging task. It takes multiple iterations in campaigns to get to your ideal prospects. Before formulating a media strategy, you need to be ready with answers to the following questions -

Who are they?

Creating a customer persona involves defining the age, gender, education level, income bracket, nationality, and ethnicity, among other parameters.

How do they consume online content?

Are they netizens, technically living online? Or are they late adopters barely managing their email accounts and browsing two of their favorite cable news networks online. Do they use the web for their browsing and purchases, or they rely entirely on mobile apps? Do they use desktop, tablets, or smartphones to browse the internet and make purchases? Do they also own a connected-TV for media consumption?

Where will you find them offline?

Where do they live? Does your product cater to wider geography or only to people residing within 6 miles radius of your store?

What are their interests?

Customer InterestsIs your audience more interested in sports or politics, are they interested in or looking into credible sources of information to take care of their toddler, or are they reading DIY terrace garden tutorials?

What is their (purchase) intent?

Customer IntentAre your prospects still looking for information around the product category, or made up their mind to make the purchase? Where exactly are they on the buying journey?

Let's take the example of a car manufacturer launching four car models - a hatchback, a sedan, an SUV, and a luxury car. Typically, their Media Planner would choose different targeting settings as per the car being advertised -

A hatchback ad can be shown to the mid-income segment, first-time car buyers, living in cities, and aged between 25-40 years.

The ads for a sedan can be shown to males (typically) aged between 35-50 years, probably looking to buy their second car, are climbing the corporate ladder, and lie in the upper-middle-class segment.

An SUV ad can be shown to enthusiastic or adventure loving people, looking for their second cars, who own a house and lie in the higher-income segments.

Customers/prospects in the Premium/Luxury car segment could be business owners, higher management executives, frequent flyers who love vacations. Or, in general, those with a household income of more than $100,000.

In case the manufacturer also has a reselling vertical, the ads for refurbished cars would be targeted to the working middle-class people. Timing can also be a part of this plan because working calls people are most active on the internet from Mondays through Friday between 9 AM to 5 PM.

These are just hypothetical examples; similarly, there can be numerous combinations of targeting parameters that enable marketers to reach out to the desired segments at the right moments.

How does Kritter help in finding your ideal customers?

The Kritter DSP allows the profiling of customers on various targeting parameters. A logical combination of targeting options can lead an advertiser to their desired/niche audience with precision, resulting in successful programmatic campaigns.

Let's revisit the five questions that an advertiser needs to answer to set up their targeting and see how Kritter programmatic platform can help.

Who are your customers?

Kritter provides the primary audience demographic segmentation based on age groups, gender, education level, nationality, and ethnicity (based on their browser language). Additionally, Kritter's proprietary data allows segmentation based on users' credit ratings, household income, and even net worth.

To reach out to a specific set of customers, targeting with Device IDs is also possible. In case an advertiser wants to use their list of Device IDs (IDFA, IFA, GAID, AAID, etc.), they can upload all of them together in a CSV file.

Alternatively, ads can be shown based on specific User IDs. This is used when an ad is meant to bid only when a particular User ID is present in the Bid Request. The IDs here can be Mac ID, SHA1 or MD5 encoded or a Cookie-ID, and so on.

How do they consume online content?

When is your customer online? Time & Day Parting reduces fatigue and unnecessary broadcasting of ads while spreading out your budget wisely. For example, people with day jobs are not going to see an Ad after 2 o'clock in the night, while students and professional working night shifts can be targeted post-mid-night.

Kritter also lets the advertisers target their prospects based on what Connection Type (Ethernet, WiFi or 4G) and Internet Carriers (AT&T, Vodafone, 3Mobile) they use. Additionally, Web & App-traffic segmentation allows delivering different messages to audiences.

Users can also be targeted based on Device Type(s) (Desktops/Laptops, Mobile, Tablets, CTV) they use. This can be a broad level targeting feature or can be clubbed together with Browsers, Operating System, Device Make, and Model to reach niche segments.

Sometimes media planners and advertisers need to narrow down their targeting based on the domains their prospects interact with. At Kritter, they get an option to upload a list of domains to be whitelisted (where they want to show ads) or blacklisted (domains that they want to avoid). The advantage with this is that any number of web and In-App Bundle IDs can be uploaded in a CSV file, and it will be read, parsed, and used in real-time in the campaigns.

Where to find them Offline?

Like most advertising platforms, Kritter AdTech lets you target your customers based on their geographical location (country, state, or city). What makes us unique is how, using our demand-side platform, marketers can devise hyper-local campaigns based on IP addresses, precise Latitude-Longitude, zip-codes, radius, and a Designated Market Area (DMA).

What are their interests?

Like most advertising/programmatic platforms, Kritter allows targeting of sites falling under one or more than one IAB Categories. This type of customer targeting is especially useful when an advertiser believes that their product can be associated with a specific category of content.

Let's say a mobile game creator wants to launch a new game based on an outdoor sport. So targeting users that read or interact with content around outdoor games like football, rugby, cricket, hockey, and American football would produce better results in terms of app installs.

The essential advantage here is that Tier-1 and Tier-2 IAB Categories can be targeted independently. For example, an advertiser can attract traffic from the News category (IAB 12) as well as the Local News category (IAB 12-3), separately, based on their requirement.

Interest and context can also be indicated by the keywords present in the content being viewed. Advertisers can upload a set of keywords that they think are in the context of their messaging. These keywords will be matched with the ones coming in the Bid Request, in real-time to deliver the ads accordingly.

What is their (purchase) intent?

Targeting based on interest, context, or keywords is generally done to a broader set of audiences that the advertisers think might be interested in their products or services. In the context of the buyer's journey, these are used to reach out to prospects majorly in the awareness & consideration phase.

To induce action and purchase, Retargeting performs better. It is a form of online advertising to reach out to users that have previously interacted with your content, campaigns, or ads. To start with retargeting, advertisers need to place a system-generated pixel, which then creates pools of users based on their activity. Below are a few ways to devise retargeting campaigns -

  • Recency - This feature allows you to retarget a user who has already seen or clicked an ad served by the Kritter platform within a specific period (say, within 20 days span).
  • Event Retargeting - This feature helps you to retarget users based on ad renders, ad clicks, and conversions.
  • Taxonomy – Available for targeting when Taxonomy is created beforehand. For example, if a Car brand advertiser is running multiple campaigns for Sedan and SUV, they can create Taxonomy for both segments and associate them with specific Ads. Later on, the same user pool (available from the Taxonomy) can be used for the second phase of campaigns.
  • Audience – This section contains a list of Pre-run Campaigns and Ads. Advertisers can choose to retarget the users based on events (Impression, Clicks, Conversions). For example, the Car brand will be able to run retargeting campaigns, showing ads only to those users who saw the ad but did not clicked, or clicked on the ad but haven't converted.

In addition to the different ways mentioned above, Kritter lets media planners & advertisers target specific inventories, Private MarketPlaces (PMP), and Slots (based on viewability).

  • Inventory – This is where the Supply Source targeting comes in. It can be an Exchange or the Direct Publisher or both.
  • PMP – You can just select the Exchange (has to be integrated first), put the Deal ID, and you're good to go.
  • Slot Viewability – Used to target specific ad placements that are above the fold, in the header or sidebar. This is, however, dependent on the Supply Partner/Exchange whether or not they are sending this information in the Bid Request.

In short, Kritter helps you understand your audience better and lets you target your customers precisely where they are. With so many targeting parameters, advertisers can reach out to micro-segments with tailored messaging and offers to increase their ROI.

Below are some Use Cases from brands & advertisers in different sectors & geographies using various combinations of targeting parameters, available at Kritter, to create successful campaigns -

An Education Center in Atlanta (USA): The client wanted to create awareness among the target groups in a specific city and within specific demographic groups.

Using Hyperlocal, Zip Code, and City targeting, the campaign achieved 25K Clicks with an average CTR of 0.5%.

An Australian Advertising Agency wanted to increase student registrations with a University by reaching out to new prospects in different countries and retarget website visitors.

They had traditional as well as Remarketing campaigns, which effectively increased the number of registrations for their programs. Achieved 170K clicks with a steady CTR of 0.3%.

Healthcare Company (India): Their goal was to entice people about their proprietary muscle building supplements and men's health capsules.

By targeting specific demography (males in the age group of 30-60 years), day-time parting, category targeting, and domain whitelisting to deliver the ads only on premium publisher websites & apps, the campaign achieved an average CTR of 0.4%.

Advertising Agency (South Africa): They wanted to reach out to prospects in 5 countries in Africa for branding/awareness campaigns for two luxury car manufacturers.

While most impressions were delivered on mobile devices, Tablets saw the highest CTRs. Having slot targeting enabled, the viewability rate achieved was 1.5X the industry benchmark. The campaign delivered ~1 million Impressions in the short span of just one week.

One of their other campaigns was to promote the premiere of the new season of a popular television show. They aimed to create awareness about the same in South Africa.

The campaign saw a Video Completion Rate of 1.4X times the industry benchmark, delivering over 200k impressions in 8 days.

A Canada based Agency: They wanted to run a branding/awareness campaign for a Luxury car manufacturer. The targeting was niche – targeting people of Chinese ethnicity residing in Canada.

Using Geo and Browser Language Targeting, they served over 34 million impressions with CTR well above the industry average.

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