Targeting Your ‘Ideal’ Audience with Social Media Advertising

What is Targeting in Digital Marketing?

Targeting refers to the process of identifying and reaching a specific audience or group of individuals who are more likely to be interested in your product, service or messaging. Targeting is crucial in your digital marketing campaign. As you tailor your marketing efforts – creative, copy and offering to appeal to a specific set of characteristics, behaviours, demographics or interests that define your target audience. Targeting, in this sense, is imperative to reach them.

How does it relate to social media advertising?

Targeting plays a crucial role in social media advertising as it allows advertisers to reach the desired audience effectively. Social media platforms provide a wealth of user data and sophisticated targeting options, enabling advertisers to deliver ads to specific audiences who fall within the target audience metrics.
Leveraging the extensive targeting tools of social media platforms is a great way to reach your target audience. Some key benefits include:

  1. Precision in targeting: The peculiarities of targeting tools allow you to define and refine your audience with great precision.
  2. Cost efficiency: Optimise your spending on specific audience segments that are most valuable to your business, helping reduce wasted spend. 
  3. Audience expansion: In addition to reaching your existing target audience, social media platforms offer tools for expanding reach. An example is ‘lookalike’ audiences, whereby the platforms use their own extensive data to find similar users to a seed audience like Purchasers. 
  4. Ad Relevance and Personalisation: Tailoring your content to specific audiences creates more engaging and impactful advertising. Which increases the likelihood of capturing attention and generating conversions. 
  5. Tracking and Testing: Social media platforms are a great tool for testing audiences and ads. This will help in developing insights and providing recommendations for future advertising. 

How to define your ideal audience 

Having clearly defined ideal audiences allows the best use of targeting tools on social media. Researching existing customers and conducting marketing research are both useful tools for determining the ideal audience metrics. If this is not possible for your business, creating a persona is a great place to start.

Defining the ideal audience must be an ongoing process. As your business evolves and conditions change, you may need to adapt to your changing ideal audience. 

Segment vs Broad

Following the Apple iOS 14 update, which focused on enhancing user privacy through the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature, social media platforms and other apps have been losing the ability to track users across apps and websites. This change has created additional roadblocks in creating comprehensive user profiles, compelling platforms to depend solely on in-platform signals for user profiling. Consequently, the ability to segment audiences has been impacted severely.

Moreover, alongside ongoing improvements to ad-serving algorithms, a growing trend has emerged in utilizing broad campaign targeting. 

Previously segmentation was a powerful way to ensure the correct delivery of messaging and a way to manually focus budget and optimize campaigns.

The key limitation to broad campaign targeting is budget and event restrictions. When campaign budgets are too low, or performance is poor – brands/businesses do not get enough learning out of it. Therefore, broad campaigns are more likely to waste their budget and serve ads to irrelevant users.

While it has been reported that broad targeting can achieve superior results when budget and event restrictions are not a concern, finding a balance between segmentation and broad targeting emerges as the most effective approach to structuring campaigns. Nevertheless, the ultimate key to success lies in conducting rigorous testing to determine what works best for your specific brand and objectives. 

Different platforms have different options but the principle stays the same

Each platform has its own vernacular, tools, and audience, which may initially seem confusing. However, while the targeting options may vary, the fundamental strategy should remain consistent across platforms. The core principles of understanding the target audience, setting clear campaign objectives, crafting compelling messaging, and analyzing performance data remain universal.

Emerging trends (Content) 

Effective marketing campaigns hinge on understanding the target audience, a fundamental aspect that cannot be overlooked. However, in the ever-evolving digital landscape, content emerges as the most potent weapon in a digital marketer’s arsenal. As targeting capabilities have faced some limitations, ad-serving algorithms have gained prominence and refined their abilities. In this context, the importance of content looks ever-growing.

Regardless of targeting, developing engaging, relevant, and compelling content holds the key to capturing audiences’ attention, eliciting emotions, and driving meaningful interactions. With content at the forefront, marketers can create authentic connections, build brand loyalty, and foster genuine engagement, ultimately setting campaigns up for success.


What is targeted advertising on social media? 

Targeted advertising on social media is a marketing strategy where advertisers aim to deliver their ads to specific audiences based on demographics, interests, behaviours, or other user data. This approach allows advertisers to reach the most relevant users who are likely to be interested in their products or services, improving ad effectiveness and maximising return on investment.

How do you target advertise on social media? 

To target ads on social media, define campaign objectives, choose the platform and audience, set budget and schedule, create compelling ad content, and then launch, monitor, and optimise the campaign.

Why is targeting important in social media? 

Targeting is crucial in social media because it ensures that ads are shown to the right people, leading to more meaningful interactions and higher ad performance. By reaching the intended audience, marketers can avoid wasting resources on irrelevant users and focus on those most likely to convert. Targeting also enables personalized messaging, fostering a stronger connection between brands and consumers, which ultimately boosts brand awareness, loyalty, and overall marketing effectiveness. 

This blog was originally published on Sentius Digital (View here).

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Written by Sentius Digital

Sentius is a full-service consulting agency, providing in-house marketing strategy, design, complete agency services, and digital solutions.

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