What is Micro Audience Targeting?
Programmatic advertising functionality that directly addresses small populations of individuals sharing common characteristics. Micro audiences are defined by interests, behavior, location, or demographics. Although ‘micro’ suggests a small size, members of a micro audience can range from several dozen cohorts, to populations of tens of thousands depending upon the sub-set of audience populations a marketer seeks to target.
Micro audiences use a data-driven analysis of customer needs and seek to align common traits. Advanced micro audience definitions will often include cohort analysis practices that observe time based behavior patterns in addition to general audience preferences and physical traits. Thus, micro audiences are dynamic in nature with people entering and leaving given population groups as either their tastes and behaviors change, or their purchase pattern progresses them further through a marketing sales funnel.
Benefits of Micro Audience Targeting
- Personalization of hyper targeted messaging that has proven to increase advertising performance and ROI up to 30%
- Elimination of ‘media waste,’ or the ability to only reach people most likely interested in your brand/product/message
- Reduction of costs for both production and media expense due to the nature of smaller scale advertising
Micro Audience Targeting Strategies
Best practice micro audience segments are commonly aligned to a buyer persona during a given point in a sales cycle. However, Personas are typically defined by a semi-fictional representation of an ideal customer. Micro audience targeting seeks to convert that fictional audience description to a fact driven data set that can be used for the purpose of programming digital ad buying systems to deliver marketing messages. Successful marketers will create micro audiences for each product, message and stage of their sales cycle, including influencers and existing customers to maintain return/repeat sales. Professional comms strategists will often seek to re-write their buyer personas using observed performance of micro audience segments.
Use Cases for Micro Audience Targeting:
- Consumer brands, DTC retailers, and eCommerce companies have long leveraged customer data from POS and CRM systems to mine for micro audience behaviors with great success. Retailers big and small can benefit from third party data analysis that has created micro audiences.
- Political campaigns, including ballot initiatives and get-out-the-vote organizations, effectively use micro audience targeting to identify audiences sharing common interests
- Regulated industries, including healthcare, finance, alcohol and cannabis can use micro audiences to protect themselves from exposure to restricted audiences
- E-Education/Online education have been able to increase enrollment using micro audience targeting to identify prospective students that share both an interest in a given class topic AND similar life stages or physical locations.
Example of Successful Micro Audience Targeting:
A large online university seeking to increase enrollment identified that a common trait among their existing student population in an online MBA program was their propensity to live in specific neighborhoods, AND drive second hand Japanese import cars. Creating a micro audience comprised of standard demographics combined with physical household locations where a Toyota, Honda or Nisan over two years old had been registered within those neighborhoods demonstrated a near 20% increase in response rate and subsequent application to study.
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