What is prospecting?

Prospecting (or display prospecting) helps attract new audiences who are likely to convert and become customers.

By targeting digital profiles similar to those of your existing customers, prospecting automates new customer acquisition. Also called look-alike audiences, similar audiences, or audience modeling, prospecting is the first step in a full-funnel marketing strategy.

How does prospecting work?

Prospecting campaigns are powered by large, robust data sets of customer intent. Gathered from online publishers, social media networks, or advertiser sites, these data sets are analyzed by your display advertising company to identify potential customers who are likely to engage with your brand.

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Prospecting works as a customer-acquisition solution because it eliminates guesswork. Instead of relying on the advertiser to manually set demographic, contextual, or placement targeting, most prospecting solutions use machine learning algorithms to serve ads to probable customers.

Prospecting campaigns can also use behavioral targeting (i.e., targeting based on browsing and shopping actions) to automatically pinpoint the audiences most likely to convert.

Prospecting best practices

Use prospecting along with retargeting for the best results. Together, prospecting and retargeting make up full-funnel marketing, which nurtures the entire customer lifecycle from brand awareness to conversion.

Design eye-catching creatives that feature discounts and strong calls to action in order to engage brand-new prospects.

Ensure that your retargeting campaign captures prospecting visitors. Think of it as a relay race: prospecting passes the baton (i.e., high-quality visitors) to retargeting, which closes the deal by bringing those visitors across the finish line to conversion.