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What advertising channels are best for your campaigns?

The world of digital advertising is full of audience targeting and channel decisions. And as the net is pulled ever-tighter on privacy controls, advertising performance can seem like witchcraft at times.

We’ve pulled together the questions that we’re often asked by Herdify customers, looking at digital advertising through the lens of word-of-mouth targeting.

Targeting ads can make your campaigns more efficient, meaning people who see them are more likely to respond to the call to action. By targeting people who are also getting word-of-mouth messages, you can make them even more efficient.

But first, what is word-of-mouth targeting?

It’s based on the behavioural science theory that humans are not logical decision makers. We look to those we trust for cues when we are making a decision as a consumer. Put simply, we copy those around us, and listen to recommendations from people we trust.

Word-of-mouth targeting helps marketers to put your product in front of people who are likely to have already been recommended your product. They are then likely to be much further along the marketing funnel when they are served your ad, targeted to the location where there is strong word-of-mouth buzz.

What are lookalike audiences?

Lookalike audiences can be used in paid social advertising to target prospective customers.

In theory, those customers are likely to be interested in your products or services, because they are like your existing customer base. Marketers can create lookalike audiences from your customer database, website visitors or people who have engaged with your brand on social media.

How does this differ to word-of-mouth targeting?

Word-of-mouth targeting is based on finding where your product has word-of-mouth buzz, and targeting those areas through your advertising channels.

Lookalike audiences can mean that you deliberately restrict your audience to people who you already sell to, and so you are not finding new types of customers. As a marketer, you are relying on your audience being the same, but word-of-mouth doesn’t work in that way. Here is an example our CEO Tom always uses:

“I’m a huge Foo Fighters fan. When Dave Grohl released his last book, my mother and mother-in-law both sent me a WhatsApp message to tell me about it, having seen a Facebook ad. Neither of those would be found in a lookalike audience for that product – they are both white, middle-aged women. However, the message travelled to me through the power of word-of-mouth.”

What is behavioural ad targeting?

Behavioural targeting aims to tailor adverts to people based on their behaviours, to make them more likely to interact with them.

This involves gathering data from a variety of sources (predominantly third-party cookies) about the customer’s online browsing and shopping behaviours.

In turn, this helps marketers to create ads for a target audience that are relevant to the person’s behaviours and interests. These ads are contextually published by a variety of platforms as the user moves around the internet.

How is word-of-mouth targeting different?

In word-of-mouth marketing, messages are filtered through the audience’s friends and family. Those people passing the message on can mould it to resonate with the person they are talking to.

Behavioural targeting often means that as a marketer you are targeting the same pool of customers as your competitors. In comparison, with word-of-mouth targeting you can target the customers who are ready to buy your product, not your competitors’.

What will happen when third-party cookies disappear and this data is not available?

We will move to real-time behavioural targeting, otherwise known as “moment marketing”.

This is essentially targeting the live micro-behaviours of online users, using Machine Learning and AI. It will allow marketers to optimise moment-by-moment browsing journeys and react in real-time, so that the audience is served relevant ads at the exact time that they are consuming the contextual content.

What is Instagram ads location targeting?

With Instagram advertising, marketers can get very granular about their target demographic. Location is one of those considerations, with the ability to target from a country down to a single postcode. You can also exclude locations from your ad radius.

How can Instagram ads work with word-of-mouth?

Instagram connections represent a snapshot of who we know. While someone could have connections across the globe, they are disproportionately likely to have connections who live or work close to them. Location targeting on Instagram means that marketers are more likely to find communities that will talk about ads through word-of-mouth and increase their impact.

What is detailed ad targeting on Facebook?

Marketers can publish ads on Facebook using the detailed targeting feature. This enables you to create a super-specific audience, mixing demographics, interests and behaviours. The functionality includes AND, OR and EXCLUDE, which can be used individually or together.

How can detailed ad targeting work with word-of-mouth?

Detailed targeting can support word-of-mouth by targeting people who are likely to know each other offline. However, it’s worth noting that if too focused, it can lead to an audience that is too disparate, reducing the chance of word-of-mouth occurring.

What is geo targeting for Google ads?

Google Ads location targeting allows marketers to choose specific geographic locations. You can opt for audience targeting to countries, areas within a country, or a radius around a location or location groups, which can include places of interest, your business locations or tiered demographics.

How can Google geo targeting work with word-of-mouth?

Targeting by geography can increase the efficiency of your ads by increasing the amount they are spoken about and shared. It takes a long time to be a brand known by everyone around the world; but it’s much easier to be a brand known by everyone on the street.

This works hand-in-hand with word-of-mouth targeting. When you target geographically to the locations where your brand has strong word-of-mouth, you are likely to encourage faster conversion, but also to encourage your product message to spread.

Can you target Facebook ads to groups?

Facebook doesn’t allow marketers to select members of a group as an audience, though there are ways to get around this to some degree.

Is there a way to use word-of-mouth targeting instead?

It’s worth thinking about why you want to target a particular group in the first place. Usually this is because of a shared characteristic represented by the group’s theme. People will naturally share content via word-of-mouth with those who they think will be interested. By producing sharable content, marketers can encourage word-of-mouth to reach group members and share a particular message.

How do you advertise on Reddit and are the ads targeted?

Reddit users are notoriously “anti-marketing”, however advertising on this channel can still be productive. Marketers are encouraged to target subreddits (conversation groups), having spent time researching which subreddit is most suited to your audience.

Ads on Reddit can be targeted by a wide variety of behavioral categories and also by location and time of day.

How can Reddit advertising work with word-of-mouth?

Reddit users are super-engaged. By geo-targeting areas with strong word-of-mouth influence, marketers can encourage Redditers to take conversations into the offline world.

Friends in conversation | Herdify

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Ignite your brand power: Why your offline community is the real influencer

“Social communities grow more powerfully offline, yet most marketing tactics tap into the online element. 92% of word-of-mouth – the single biggest influence on consumer buying behaviour – happens offline."

~ Ed Barter, Lead data scientist at Herdify

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