Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realise it themselves. ~Steve Jobs
Not so long ago (and not so far back as the Mad Men and midday scotch) you could reach the majority of your target audience if you advertised on the right TV channel or radio station at the right time or in the right newspaper or magazine. With the rise of the internet, particularly websites and social networks, came a fragmentation of audiences. With more choice and more freedom to control what they read, listen to or watch, the idea of being able to reach the majority of your audience through a single advertising or marketing channel became the stuff of fiction.
However as technology and the monetisation of the web has advanced, it is now becoming easier and easier to find and reach your customers online. Whether they are lurking on news sites or active on mass or niche social networks, every day a new way to find the ‘needle in the haystack’ emerges.
5 social media targeting announcements you should be aware of
Recently there was a slew of announcements that highlight that marketing, advertising and technology are now inextricably linked.
Twitter launched emoji-targeted advertising:
This means that if someone posts a tweet and used the burger emoji () then they could feasibly start seeing adverts for Burger King. If they used the hospital emoji, they may trigger adverts from a health insurer. This is on top of the existing targeting options from Twitter – language, gender, interests, followers, device, keywords, location. In other news, Twitter launched a ‘Live’ button. In the Twitter app on iOS or Android you’re now one tap away from streaming live video on Periscope. The aim is to expose more people to Periscope and increase the creation of live video content.
Snapchat launched it’s advertising API (application programming interface):
This throws fuel on the fire of advertising on Snapchat – allowing ads to be bought, sold and managed by third party media companies. Considering that Snapchat has 100m daily users, reaches 41% of 18-34 year olds (compared to about 6% for the average TV channel), this is a significant move. It will be interesting to see how an advertising cynical generation respond to increasing branded content on the network.
Up until now the advertising options on Pinterest have covered the basics like location, gender (its audience are 85% female), device and language. With this announcement you can do much, much more. Customer list targeting – if you upload a list of your customers (email addresses or mobile ad IDs), Pinterest will match your list to its own user database and allow you to target your ads at just those people. Visitor retargeting – you add a snippet of code from Pinterest (a conversion tag) to your website. When visitors come to your website you can choose to tag or exclude them. If tagged, they will see tailored Pinterest ads whenever they visit the site. Finally they added lookalike targeting – you can outline the traits of your target audience or upload a customer list and Pinterest will attempt to find other people ‘like them’ for you to target.
Youtube unveils YouTube Director:
This is the umbrella name for a suite of advertising products to allow businesses to create video ads. See below for an example. YouTube Director “automated video” also allows you to create a video ad automatically from existing assets like logos and app screenshots in the App Store or Google Play Store so you don’t even have to step in front of the camera.
Not to be left out from the social media news, Apple announced that, with iOS 10, publishers can now embed Facebook and Vine posts inside articles, include playable video URLs and customised feature stories. You can also now integrate all Apple News advertising options into your existing workflow. This includes the ability to move selected articles to the top of your channel for new readers and also elevate the selected articles to the “More From” area at the end of your articles. You can also target your audience based on Maturity Rating – selecting from Kids, Mature and General.
As the number of ways to target customers online grows, so too does the number of customers using software to block adverts on their devices. 1 in 5 smartphone users now use ad blockers. Just because you can target someone with an advert, doesn’t mean you should. It is increasingly important that advertisers use common sense and, in some instances, restraint. Prioritising the customer experience above all else would yield the greatest returns for any brand.