Maximizing Advertising Campaigns through Target Audience Testing

July 18, 2023

Recently, we’ve examined how to best refine your target audiences for your advertising campaigns with location-based Personas. But, before you can refine your target audiences, you first need to determine which target audiences are the best fit for you and your organization. Leveraging location-based audiences from a trusted location data provider can help ensure you’re targeting the right audience due to the real-world insights location-based audiences are built upon. But, no matter how carefully you choose or build your location-based audiences, you should still test your ad campaign before committing to just one audience or vendor. Target audience testing is important because it enhances the likelihood of your ads effectively reaching the intended audiences, while simultaneously minimizing wasteful ad spend on disinterested customers.

The Importance of Target Audience Testing in Advertising

So, while there are plenty of advantages to boosting your ad targeting with location intelligence, testing your audience may help you find opportunities for further optimization of your campaigns. Keep the following things in mind when testing your target audiences to further increase the effectiveness of your campaigns:

1. There Could be Variance in Audience Composition

As you are evaluating target audiences from various location data providers, you’ll need to make sure that you have enough time to test them before shifting your advertising campaign into high gear. So, always kick off your advertising campaign with a short test period (and a small test budget) that can be used to validate the performance of your top audience choices. This allows you to test the composition of your selected audiences without wasting too much ad spend on audiences that aren’t converting.

This is important because even if you’ve carefully vetted the location data used to build your selected audiences, there will be variances in audience composition. These variances between audiences can impact the effectiveness of your ad campaign, so it’s important to identify those variances. For example, a retail wine chain tested three of our location-based audiences in support of a new campaign. The audiences that this company selected were “Wine Lovers,” “Beer Lovers,” and “Happy Hour Adventurers.” While all three audiences sound like a good fit for a retail wine chain, the company was able to ensure the best results by testing these audiences.

During the ad testing period, the “Wine Lovers” and “Beer Lovers” audiences performed strongly, while “Happy Hour Adventurers” proved to be less of a fit. By testing these target audiences, the wine company was able to omit the low-converting audience from their campaign and focus on the two audiences that performed well, reducing wasted resources.

2. The Best Target Audience Isn’t Always Obvious

Without a test plan, there’s no way to tell which audience or audiences will perform well. You might expect the most directly-relevant audience to perform the best, but that’s not always the case.

For the retail wine chain, it might have been assumed that the “Happy Hour Adventurers” audience would perform as strongly as the “Wine Lovers” audience. Furthermore, it might have been assumed that the “Beer Lovers” audience would not be as strong of an audience, given the presumable contrast in characteristics typically associated with those who enjoy beer compared to those who prefer wine or other types of cocktails. However, after testing these audiences, our “Beer Lovers” audience outperformed the “Happy Hour Adventurers” audience in terms of conversions for the retail wine chain. If the advertisers had not tested their target audiences before officially launching their campaigns, they would have likely advertised to an audience that wouldn’t have converted well, missing opportunities to connect with the right people.

The testing results ensured that advertisers were targeting the right audiences rather than audiences that simply seem like a good fit. So, keep in mind that the best location-based audience for your ad campaign is not always the obvious choice. Other off-the-shelf audiences, like “Foodies,” may prove just as effective at reaching wine drinkers. You never know which audiences are truly right for you without testing and examining the results.

3. Testing Target Audiences Confirms Data Quality

Although target audience testing adds a week or two to your campaign timeline, there’s no better way to maximize the return on your marketing investment. Testing allows you to confirm both the quality of the underlying data and the performance of your selected audiences prior to a full campaign rollout. It also allows you to allocate the balance of your campaign budget toward the audience(s) that perform best under real-world conditions.
Furthermore, target audience testing can allow you to build a better understanding of your audiences by understanding what pushes them to convert. Location-based audiences are built using real-world data and behavior insights, offering increased visibility into your audience’s habits, affinities, and commitment levels. After testing audiences and learning which ones convert the best, advertisers can confirm the quality of their real-world data while deepening their ability to connect with their audiences on a new level.

Continue to Test Target Audiences

Target audience testing is not a one-and-done process. Consumers are always evolving, and their interests and needs will likely ebb and flow periodically. World events, economic fluctuations, new trends, and more can influence your audiences over time. So, your advertising campaigns shouldn’t just include one phase of testing because target audience composition isn’t static.

Always keep in mind that your audience composition can change over time, so it may be necessary to repeat your tests in the future to stay up-to-date with your audiences. When you properly test your target audiences, you can launch your advertising campaigns with confidence while maintaining a competitive edge in your market.

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