PSA: Knowing Your Audience Matters
Catering to your audience isn’t only a marketing fundamental, but it’s the most important thing your brand can do. I know we hear that all the time, but I’m of the mindset that “consumer-focused” should be less of a philosophy and more of an actionable strategy. Think of it this way: Any type of content—ads, articles, you name it—has to be relevant and provide value to your customer base, or you might as well not even create it. You should be looking at your advertising channels with the same level of audience-focus you apply to your content, aiming to reach those customers on channels they frequent daily. In this digital age, we’re talking about mobile devices and social platforms.
Whether you’re a consumer product brand, a financial institution, an insurance company, or a retailer, understanding how your target audience gets information and where they spend their time is your key to success. Or at least your key to successful advertising campaigns.
(Want to really dive into the discussion of knowing your audience, especially from a generational perspective? Trust me, it’s worth your time. Read: Digital Transformation for B2B Marketers and the Generational Path to Purchase.
What The Mobile Consumer Means to You
Consumers do a lot of shopping on mobile, but the process has become bigger than a quick click to buy. Today’s consumers research products and services, look up reviews, and compare prices before they commit to a purchase. While it’s still a little early for definitive 2016 data, Nielsen released a telling report as recently as Q4 of last year. By examining those figures, we can identify trends you can use as you approach your mobile and social advertising strategies today. For example, Nielsen reported that 37 percent of those who make purchases online start the process on mobile more than one-quarter to half the time. See Figure 1 below for a breakdown of their specific digital shopping activities.
Figure 1. Source: Nielsen: Getting to Know the Mobile Shopper
That covers the activities of mobile shoppers. Now, what are their preferences, and how can you use that information to stay ahead of the competition? Not surprisingly, data has shown us that consumers who research and/or purchase from mobile devices expect great online customer experiences. That means they like mobile-optimized sites, accessible descriptions, and the ability to read reviews. Consumers report that the most important thing to them is that they’re able to see product images. See Figure 2 below for more data on that front. Think about the customer experience you are serving up—how does your digital presence stack up to customer expectations?
Figure 2. Source: Nielsen: Getting to Know the Mobile Shopper
As I mentioned earlier, the proliferation of mobile devices and savvy consumers means that more and more activity—and purchasing—is taking place online. The pressure for your brand to maximize those opportunities is high. As marketers, it’s imperative to understand the best ways to position your products and services to deliver the best value for customers and prospects, and also to serve up the very best customer experience possible.
Why it Pays to Get Social
If you’re wondering about the significance of social when it comes to advertising, consider this: One out of every five minutes the average consumer is on mobile is spent on either Facebook or Instagram. In fact, Facebook was the #1 mobile app for 2015 and has continued to dominate the smartphone download market in 2016, with 1.57 billion mobile active users, an increase of 20 percent year-over-year, and some 1.03 billion mobile daily active users, an increase of 22 percent year-over-year. (As a side note, Facebook’s Messenger was the third most used app, so you might want to read up on how Facebook’s chatbots can help your brand.)
Take a look at Figure 3 to see how the other platforms, like YouTube and even Google Maps, fared.
Figure 3. Source: Nielsen Tops of 2015: Digital
If you’re looking to expand your brand’s reach across platforms and want to do it as cost-effectively as possible, social is your best bet. For example, you can cater messaging to your specific audience using Facebook targeting (and retargeting, too—I’m looking at you, SMBs) or optimize campaigns to run a single ad set across multiple platforms. Besides more reach, you’re also apt to get more engagement from your ad campaigns if you’re getting in front of the right people where they prefer to be reached.
That’s the secret sauce here—you’re building your brand’s presence and ultimately boosting sales, but you’re doing it in a way rooted in relevance and convenience for your audience. You’re not just running an ad campaign—you’re running an ad campaign that delivers value, and you’re connecting to customers at the same time. That’s the power of mobile and social together.
How well do you know your target audience? Where do they spend their time, and how do they prefer to engage with your brand? If you approach your next ad campaign with this question in mind, do you think your strategy will change? I’d love to hear your thoughts.