Defining & Reaching Your Target Audience Through Paid Media

3 December, 2019


Josh Duggan

Josh Duggan

Working in paid media for over 8 years. Specialises in Google Shopping and paid social. Spoken at various eCommerce events around the world about paid media and Google Shopping.

This post will give a brief introduction into the recent developments of Paid media and also provide recommendations for building campaigns to target your target audience and also High Net Worth individuals. Programmatic buying has allowed smaller advertisers to compete with the larger advertisers to show ads on premium sites etc.

How Paid Media is Moving Towards Audiences

I have worked in Paid media for over 7 years and in this time there has been substantial change within the industry; from both advertisers and publishers trying to meet the changing demand of consumers.

Advertising has shifted from a content approach to an audience first focus. Historically advertisers would use tools such as Hitwise and Comscore to identify upstream/ downstream traffic and to select sites where they should place their ads. They would also buy advertising slots on content complimentary to their products e.g. Nike advertising new trainers on the Yahoo sports page. More recently however, media has focused to an audience first approach. Targeting audiences allows you to go much more granular with your paid media budget and to reduce wastage.

You can also tailor ads and dynamically change images/ messages based on a user’s gender or interests for example. In terms of targeting high net worth individuals – this strategy is key as targeting luxury content may not necessarily mean you are serving ads to more prosperous individuals. By targeting audiences you could use Google data to reach people within the top 10% of Household income, Facebook data to reach users with income >£75,000 and then 3rd party data providers such as exelate allow you to overlay job, income data to your display activity.

The opportunity for smaller advertisers / businesses

As briefly mentioned above; programmatic developments have allowed an open playing field for advertisers of all sizes. Smaller advertisers would historically be out priced to show ads on for example. They would also not have the budget to pay for a full day’s worth of inventory. With programmatic and auction based buys; advertisers can now enter the auction for individual ad spots impressions and compete only when a user profile matches their targeting.

For one of our luxury clients; we use a similar tactic and promote their ads across premium site in the UK. We spend minimal budget and there is little wastage where we only target users who match our targeting attributes. Please see the below Facebook indexing section whih provides an example of how to understand and find who your customers are.

Building audiences into your campaigns and indexing customer data  

All advertisers should create a Facebook account and add the Facebook pixel onto their site. Not only is remarketing via Facebook a great way to re-engage customers who have abandoned cart for example. It also allows you to match your customer data against Facebook data. This will provide you actionable data which highlights who your customers are.

For one of the sports brand we work with – young males was typically our primary audience as these customers came into the store and most often purchased the clothing. Through Facebook however, we learned that customers most engaging with the brand and purchasing online were older females. When we drilled down further – we could see it was mother’s purchasing products for the family.

Another example which Google have presented in a case study is an automotive firm who also matched customer data to third party data. Here they were able to understand their SUV customers were 3x more likely to use android and typically were outdoorsy/ sports people. When changing their old ads to not promote iPhone capabilities and focused on a wintery setting for the backdrop – they dropped their CPA by 50%. Indexing customer data is a very effective way to understand your customer and adapt your marketing moving forward.

Please find a screenshot below – where you can see that this client’s customers over index as females aged below age 34.


Audience targeting

Paid media has moved significantly towards an audience and consumer centric approach. Advertisers will often look to using third party data to target users which share characteristics with their target base. For high net worth individuals for example, you can purchase Experian data and target users based on job, industry, income, qualifications and many others.

Facebook and the GDN however, offer cost effective ways to reach your target audience without the requirement of using a DSP. In AdWords, you can now overlay Household income data (please see the PPC section below) which would be a clear route to increase your ad relevance targeting HNW individuals. This targeting can be applied to PPC, YouTube and GDN. In-market segments are becoming increasingly popular and these are audiences who are actively browsing, researching and comparing the type of products you sell. You can use this feature to target customers in-market to purchase your product; alternatively to reach users buying complementary products e.g. promoting sunglasses to people in market for holidays.

Within Facebook – job, qualifications, income targeting are effective ways to reach your target audience and a high net worth audience too. Overlaying these with interest targeting is an effective way to reach your higher net worth customers who are also interested in your industry/ products etc. For example, targeting users on a high income interested in sports would be a good tactic for a luxury sportswear brand.

One tactic which is under-valued is building your high net worth audiences through paid media and then retargeting this user base within your existing marketing activity. For example, you can build remarketing lists for users who watch your videos and click your GDN ads. If you are targeting users who are interested in luxury fashion; you can then upweight these users via RLSA within your PPC campaigns.

How to approach content and ads

Although digital has moved to an audience first and customer centric approach – contextual ads have also increased in importance. One example, is the responsive ad development within AdWords. These allow advertisers to adjust content/ images with a feed based on the content they are appearing against. For example, you may show a ‘shop now’ product ad on review pages etc, but then a more branding image on less specific celebrity fashion pages etc.

Content is still a very effective form of advertising. For our clients, we will often select luxury websites we want to appear on and then overlay our demographic our audience targeting. In more niche examples, you may target everyone on a website if it shares a similar audience to you. It also allows you to more easily manage your placements and the websites your ads appear on. One problem with programmatic buys can managing where your ads appear. Selecting specific sites allows you full control of where your ads appear and you can also review how ads appear on the site etc as well.

Utilising third party data

Using a 3rd party data provider such as Experion – you can now overlay a substantial amount of data over your advertising. Unlike offline advertising buys, which would be content focused and a broad audience – 3rd party data allows you to target across the web but serving ads only to users based on their income, job, industry, age, interests, number of people in household and much much more.

In terms of reaching a high net worth audience – the opportunity is obvious with the possiblity of targeting people based on income, job, postcode etc. You can also overlay any age, gender or interest targeting as needed. For advertisers with less media experience – I would recommend using simply an ad network such as the GDN and the to test Facebook advertising as well. Using third party data requires a DSP (Demand Side Platform) which will be more time consuming to set up and manage.

Using audiences in paid search

Over recent years – Google has focused on creating search more consumer centric. Demographics for search was rolled out allowing advertisers to adjust bidding and strategy based on a user’s age and gender. Ad customisers allow advertisers to dynamically change ad copy based on a range of external factors. This may include, the time of day, where the user is based or which device they are using. GA audiences were also integrated with AdWords, allowing advertisers to create lists based on a user’s interaction with the site. We work with a sports retailer and we are working on building out custom lists for users who buy jerseys for a specific team. We can then tailor our ad copy to these customers in future.

All advertisers should now have an audience approach to their search activity – even if you are simply adjusting bids based on a user’s location. Google plan to roll out In-Market segments. This will allow you to even more audience based data on your search activity.

One tactic here could be to target broader keywords when users match your target audience. For luxury brands – you can target the top 10% of household incomes in the UK. If you are a luxury bathroom retailer you may not wish to bid on ‘bathrooms’ as the term is too broad. Keyword lists would be much more specific such as ‘luxury marble bathrooms’, cast iron baths’. However, these have much less volume. Overlaying audience data for example household income or location – you can bid on broader terms such as ‘bathrooms’ however ensure you are only appearing to a relevant audience.



Hopefully this guide provides a top level introduction to paid media. We have a lot of experience running paid media campaigns and work mostly with luxury brands. The above strategies reflect those used by the largest advertisers and are an effective way to reduce any wastage within your media spend. We definitely recommend all readers create a Facebook account to simply add the pixel onto your site and then begin collecting data within Facebook.

You can then look at the characteristics of your customers and then begin planning media activity from there. This post has focused predominantly on Facebook, Paid Search and the GDN – simply as these can be set up at no cost and with minimal effort. The GDN for example, will build image ads from your site and you use these for your marketing. However, there are much more channels and advertising platforms that you should test and use.

Selecting your media platforms should be dependant on your objectives and audience. For example, younger users are engaged across Snapchat and this would be a good environment to share content. On YouTube, you can cost effectively share a video message to a targeted audience. However, your adverts here may not necessarily drive sales. Your ads and activity should be defined based on your objectives. Most advertisers will often want to drive sales and therefore Paid Search and Facebook Link ads are cost effective ways to achieve this.

Advertisers looking to share a message and build a brand will use the more engaging formats such as video and understand that they should measure other KPIs for example, engagement rates or bounce rate on site.

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