How Social Targeting Can Lead to Discovery


ADOTAS – Every brand has a defined target audience. And, especially with the social web, you might think you know where that audience is congregating.

But, as every fisherman knows, your targets are constantly moving. They were in one place yesterday, another today, and they’ll be in yet another tomorrow. And when you find them, you want to be the only fisherman reeling them in.

What if you had special radar that would tell you where your prize fish – or, for our purposes, your target audience — is right now, at this very moment?

You do. It’s called social targeting. Let’s say your target audience consists of young adult males who like rap music. You could place your ads – along with all your competitors – to reach young adults who engaged with or liked Facebook fan pages for rap music. Or you can discover that the current ebb of the social conversation has moved your target audience into active discussions about the NBA.

Why? Perhaps an NBA star is recording a rap track. What’s most important, though, is that right now, in real time, you can outmaneuver the competition by reacting immediately and being the first to advertise on basketball-oriented pages.

Social targeting refers to the use of social signals and trends that allow you to identify and purchase highly relevant ad inventory. It utilizes the implicit signals shared by users (if you talk about rap music with your friends, you must like rap music) and then uses the ebbs and flows of social conversation to target fast-emerging groups of highly engaged users.

Let’s compare social targeting with the alternative, static targeting, which is most often used by brands today. With static targeting, you use pre-defined audience assumptions to purchase social ad inventory. You rely on a limited set of explicitly defined assumptions (perhaps your Facebook profile says you like rap, but you also listen to rock). And you never change it. Your audience changes interest, and you stay static.

Unlike with social targeting, static targeting fails to take into account current moods and discussions – which, of course, is exactly what social media is all about. And it fails to account for undiscovered interests of your target audience.

Social targeting is all about discovery, as things happen – of both audiences and engagement. Brands can discover untapped pockets of untapped audiences, and they can discover and connect with users when they are most engaged around a specific topic – and most apt to be open to your brand’s message.

That’s a great discovery.


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