Published in ExchangeWire, 17th March 2016.
The way in which audiences are profiled and defined across advertising channels stems back from a legacy of stereotypes within traditional media; which allowed advertisers to easily translate their marketing objectives to relevant ad delivery. Stephen Upstone (pictured below), CEO and founder, LoopMe, speaks to ExchangeWire about how these audience definitions are no longer relevant in today’s marketing world, and why opening your mind will make your advertising better.
When agencies send us a brief for a mobile video campaign, it usually outlines the target audience. This can be as vague as ABC1 males or as specific as AB females with children between the age of two months and three years living in the North London area.
These audience profiles are created by brands and media agencies in an attempt to ensure ad tech providers are delivering ads to relevant users, but are these pre-defined audience definitions actually going to help brands reach the people who buy their products; or are they simply an outdated method of targeting? Should we be perpetuating what is, essentially, just a form of stereotyping?
The first issue is the definition of ‘audience’. In digital terms, this will typically be the person who receives the ad, and will be outlined by the brand in terms of age, demographic, gender, area of the country, behaviour, etc. But in reality, a brand’s audience is anyone who buys the product. The problem with the digital definition of audience is that it depends on generalisations and assumptions – and, as we know, people very rarely conform to expectations.
Take, for example, a broadcaster, like Sky or BT Sport, running an advertising campaign to encourage users to subscribe to their latest football package. The audience for the digital campaign would probably be men, 18-55 who have visited football or sports sites. Of course, there will be a huge number of users who fit this profile and will be interested in subscribing. But what about the people who don’t fit, who would still be interested in the product? In the UK, 20% of football match attendees are women, that’s around two million people who wouldn’t be reached by this campaign, because they don’t fit the football fan stereotype, yet would certainly be relevant.
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