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An effective marketer knows how to set up proper ad targeting for their digital campaigns. When it comes to ad targeting, the problem is not a shortage of digital advertising platforms or opportunities; it’s knowing how to effectively use the tools available to create a strategy that works. Clearly defining your strategy not only provides you with the results you’re looking for but also saves you time and money. So, how do you get started? First, you need to understand what exactly ad targeting is — and why it’s a crucial part of brands’ success. 

What Is Ad Targeting, and Why Is It Important?

Also known as targeted advertising, ad targeting is when marketers place advertisements in specific areas on specific platforms to increase visibility and engagement with their target audience. What the ads look like, say, and where they’re placed are determined by audience behaviors and interests. Rather than placing a general ad anywhere on the web, a targeted advertisement is strategically placed to reach a clearly defined audience based on past customer behavior and other data. 

For more information on how to create a behaviorial targeting and retargeting strategy:

How to Create a Behavioral Targeting and Retargeting Strategy

Ad targeting provides many benefits to marketers and consumers. More and more, consumers are looking for personalized messages, products, and services relevant to their wants and needs. Therefore, when a consumer sees an ad that is relevant to them on a site or platform they frequently visit or use, they become more interested in what you have to offer. The personalized content is beneficial to them. This is also beneficial to you because the more your target audience engages with your ad, the more likely you are to increase leads, conversions, and sales — whatever your marketing goal is. 

How to Set Up a Proper Digital Ad Targeting Campaign 

When it comes to setting up an effective ad targeting campaign, the specifics will vary based on which route you choose. For example, Facebook offers different functions and requires different information than Google Ads or display targeting. However, there are six general steps you can take today to develop an effective ad targeting campaign from start to finish. 

Step 1: Set your goal 

Marketers use ad targeting for a variety of reasons. An ecommerce company might use it via display ads to target shoppers across multiple websites. A small business owner hoping to increase brand awareness might use it on social media to further reach and engagement. The first step in setting up proper ad targeting is to define your goal for the campaign. Who are you, and what do you want to accomplish? Knowing this will help you set up all other aspects of your campaign to reach and exceed your goals effectively. 

Step 2: Define your approach 

There are a variety of ways to target your ideal audience on digital platforms. Once you know your goal, the next step in setting up proper ad targeting for your campaign is to determine your approach. This includes your campaign delivery method. Will you create the ads yourself or use a digital advertising platform with automation tools to take the guesswork out of the equation? Do you want to target your audience on social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram? Are you interested in targeting “lookalike” consumers via display ads? Or do you want to use keywords with Google Ads to connect with highly engaged audiences? There are a variety of approaches. The choice is up to you.

Step 3: Define your audience 

Once you know your goal and approach, it’s time to define the audience for your ad targeting campaign clearly. For digital advertising to be most effective, segment your audiences and create personalized content that speaks to their interests, wants, and needs. 

Step 4: Get creative 

Once you know who you are targeting, you will develop your creatives. This includes any imagery, video content, and copy you will use to pique their interest. Digital video ads are increasing in popularity due to their effectiveness in capturing audiences’ attention and driving them to action. Speaking of which, remember to include a strong call-to-action (CTA) in your ad targeting copy to increase engagement. Whether that is to “Learn More,” “Shop Now,” or “Join Today,” be sure to let your audience know what you want them to do. Your CTA should align with your ad targeting campaign goal. 

Step 5: Put money behind it

Once you design your creatives, know your platform, segment your audience, and have a clearly defined approach and campaign goal, it’s time to put money behind your digital ad targeting campaign. How much you invest in ad targeting depends on your needs, goals, and budget. 

For a comparison between Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads:

Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: A Full Comparison

Step 6: Analyze results

One of the most critical steps in developing proper ad targeting for digital campaigns is what you do when the campaign is over. You must analyze your results and determine the success of your campaign. During this step, it is also essential to decide on areas where your campaign fell short. This will help you do better next time and continue creating stronger campaigns that result in a high return on investment. 

Set Up Effective Ad Targeting Campaigns With AdRoll

AdRoll’s marketing platform offers various ad targeting tools and strategies to help you reach and engage your target audience. From display ads to video advertising to mobile ads and social media advertising, the possibilities are endless. Not only does AdRoll help you define and execute an effective ad targeting strategy, but it can also help you find and reach audiences you didn’t even know were out there with audience targeting. Do more with your digital ad campaigns with AdRoll. Learn more about how you can get started for free today

For more information on how AdRoll can help you find the best customers:

How AdRoll Attract Can Help Find the Best Customers


Wilson is the Sr. SEO Marketing Manager at AdRoll.