Why Advertising Shouldn’t be Too Targeted

Thanks to the low-costs associated with running marketing and advertising campaigns online, the general belief around running ad campaigns is that each ad should be as targeted as possible. However, even though it costs a lot less than many other media to run an advertising campaign online, it gets a bit costly when you try to target a specific type of potential buyer a bit too much.

Look at traditional marketing methods; when different companies advertised their product releases through Direct Mail Postcards, pamphlets, and other traditional channels, they were able to communicate to a fairly large audience. This often worked in their favour because they were able to spark interest in a wide variety of consumers, who would then spread the word through word-of-mouth marketing.

This goes on to suggest that there should be a limit to the lengths you go to isolate your targeted prospect, for a number of reasons.

Greater perceived value

Although it costs nothing more than the power to operate the server to run an advertising campaign such as blasting an offer to a mailing list of “hot leads,” chances are you’re not the one who owns the mailing list to which you’d be blasting the ad. You likely have to pay someone else to do it, which immediately negates the low-cost factor. The hotter the leads, the higher the cost to send an offer to each lead. This is perceived value and it’s a simple matter of thinking about it from the point of view of a specific market you’re targeting with your offer, in your specific niche.

If, for example, targeting the individuals who attend a football match, live at the stadium can be a beneficial way of generating leads. Thousands of people buy tickets to watch league matches with their friends and family. (If this interests you, you can see page selling tickets online to get info. about prices, discounts, etc.) You could ask such people in the stadium to fill out their names and email addresses on the back of their ticket stubs and drop them into a box. That is a very targeted lead you’d be pursuing with an offer such as replica football jerseys. As a result, the person in possession of those leads will inevitably charge you higher rates to gain access to those email addresses because of the perceived value, which you generally arrive at, between the two of you.

So, the more targeted the leads, the higher the perceived value, which may differ from the actual value. Instead, if you opt for paid advertising methods like PPC (Pay-Per-Click) with the help of a ppc agency, your audience would be dependent on user searches, thereby reaching a broader audience than the one you would accumulate through targeted marketing. Another benefit is that this method would be the cost-effectiveness of the process since you would only be needed to pay in case a user clicks on your ad.

Buyer search-data is generally deceptive

Search-data such as that which is provided by the likes of Google can be deceiving, because users don’t necessarily laser-target the specific niche they’re seeking to buy a product or service in. I might have already reserved a booking for a catamaran in Croatia for instance, for a date which falls outside the sailing season in that area (from May to September), so in that case then when I jump online to run some searches around accommodation in that region, I might just be looking to see if the lower off-peak prices of the catamaran cruise fall in line with the off-peak prices of the accommodation. It doesn’t necessarily mean I want to book accommodation and that brings into focus the complex nature of the search-data which is often used in ad campaign targeting.

Buyer behaviour differs from what’s suggested by marketing channel managers, with the targeted advertising packages they offer you pretty much inflating the perceived value disproportionately. So as much as you shouldn’t be too targeted in the ads you run, don’t cast your net too wide either.

It’s merely a matter of subtly advertising a specific offer you have as part of a broader lifestyle aspect. For example, someone who is interested in fishing might also be interested in renting a catamaran for a holiday escape to Croatia, but that fisherman isn’t necessarily only interested in fishing and boats.