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Targeting & hyper-targeting: what it is, how it works and what about the best strategies


written by Valerio Sabelli

Targeting has always been an important part of the most successful marketing campaigns. It is in fact essential to focus as much as possible on a definite user base, possibly limiting the targets that can view a certain kind of content and focusing only on some specific categories. By doing so, with the same investment, we try to convey the message to those who can better understand it and thus maximize the efficiency of the campaign. In four words: the best conversion rate. Google Ads or Facebook Ads are certainly well-known examples of tools that increase such efficiency.

Just like in other fields, making your customer feel special or passing a clear message that can save time and avoid any misunderstandings is a significant factor if you want to improve the image of a brand. The return in terms of business is almost mathematical when we know who our target audience is, how to reach it and what kind of message we should convey.

What is hyper-targeting?

Hyper-targeting is a marketing strategy that allows operators to reach customer groups – new or already acquired – and send them an extremely precise and customized message through a medium (a television channel, a social network) by which they can receive it. The first step in hyper-targeting is surely to identify, as clearly and precisely as possible, the targets of the campaign.

The information on which we can rely to define the recipients can be:

  • stable, such as age, gender, geographical position
  • dynamic, such as interests, purchases or web searches on issues related to the product we want to promote

Once we have completed a first screening, which can be refined ongoing by analyzing the partial results of the marketing campaign, we can use this information as input for the advertising tools and work on the drafting of one or more messages to convey the information we want to share.

How to make the most of hyper-targeting?

As already told, customization is the key to hyper-targeting and to a successful marketing campaign. Therefore, once we have spent some of our time identifying one or – hopefully – more categories of recipients, we need to collect the results and build various message models.

If we limited ourselves to the identification step only, we would restrict the number of recipients, but also miss the opportunity to convey “tailor-made” messages, aimed at optimizing the efficiency of the campaign: each single message must be clear and appealing to those individuals who receive it.

Of course, nobody has the perfect recipe to identify categories and build perfect messages on the first try. By measuring and analyzing the partial results of the marketing campaign, it is possible to redirect our effort to maximize targeting.

The features offered by our advertising provider should also be exploited to the fullest. Actually, if almost all of them allow you to filter the target user on the basis of the most usual parameters (the “stable” ones mentioned above), it is often possible to add additional constraints. Taking Google Ads for example, it is possible to indicate preferences on the type of device (TV, Smartphone) that will be able to display a certain banner or content

Benefits and improvements

The “old” mass marketing tries to act more broadly and convey more generic messages. Moreover, the means of communication in this case are more “conventional” (newspapers, TV commercials, billboards).

On the contrary, the first result deriving from the use of hyper-targeting strategies is the optimization of the marketing campaign efficiency (understood as the relationship between the product sold and advertising expenditure), relying on the fact that a greater number of impacted users (or a higher cost!) does not necessarily imply a better result.

Besides this, there is also a return in terms of image: communications from our brand will be seen as useful and not as spam, as it often happens with “generalized” advertisements (that may end up in the appropriate folder of our mailbox).

It is also very important to incorporate as much feedback as possible from recipients, in order to implement a feedback mechanism that will help improve the current (if still ongoing) or next campaign.