Two ways to approach finding the right consumer 1. is where you do front-end targeting starting from the user profile 2. is starting from back-end conversions, specifically hunting for converters and then backing into what the user profile/target looked like (“targeting reality”).  The following are examples of the second targeting approach.

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1. BEHAVIORAL – “Act-a-like” – first find people who booked, second backtrack their web behavior and then third find people who act like them.  

This can be called “inside-out” – build a user profile by mining our bookers and reverse engineering the targeting criteria of that segment THEN finding more of that target on the media inventory we are buying.

For example people who follow the same behavior, like read a certain news site every morning, check stocks throughout the day, books international travel through their black credit card site, suit shops on Brook Brothers, best in class private schools, SAT classes, searches service site like Nanny, housekeeping, catering, spa, etc. 

“Act-a-like” targeting is being able to continually retool the targeting criteria being used to identify the “optimum’” customer. By using previous conversion and targeting criteria as a benchmark, advertisers can then scale their targeting to include additional points of criteria that may be relevant in locating and speaking directly to those key consumers.

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2. PREDICTIVE – “Look-a-Like” – first is knowing a booker’s specific behaviors (plus psychographics like identifiable opinions beliefs and ideals) and then finding people just like them.

(Definition of Psychographics: personality, values, attitudes, interests, lifestyle)

This can be called “outside-in” – build a user profile that has propensity to convert based on their web surfing behavior (and psychographics) THEN target those who behave the same.

While retargeting focuses on revisiting consumers who have already had meaningful contact with an advertiser’s brand, look-alike targeting acts more as a direct response tool to get a message in front of the best candidate consumers and the expectation that they will be more likely to take action immediately.

Using look-alike targeting, advertisers are able to convert nonperforming inventory into an effective way to target and convert new prospects.

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3. RETARGETING – cookie the user and find them again by cookie-matching on the media inventory we are buying.

– we have expanded RT to include Search RT which has two versions: 1) If we get searched on and serve Text Ad impression but don’t win the click THEN we bid higher (CPC) on next Text Ad impression for that Google user; 2) This is very creative tactic by ad networks who will use SEO to populate the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) with listings and if they get clicked on then they cookie the user (just like we do RT on Brand Site) – THEN they serve our Display Ad to that user.

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CONCLUSION: ”Effective advertising is often less about finding an audience than it is about finding an outcome. It may not matter that a consumer is male or female or within a specific age group. What matters in the end is what gets those consumers to take the necessary steps toward a point of conversion.”

As with any smart media buy, the first step is to clearly identify the criteria that best defines the optimum target audience. This often means starting with assumptions and through measurement and optimization working toward a meaningful targeting reality. In short, just because you think you know who your customers are doesn’t mean that’s who they are.