Living In a Vacuum Sucks: Use All Channels to Influence Display Targeting

living in a vacuum

Yes, living life in a vacuum sucks. Digital advertising is a vast ecosystem with a multitude of traffic sources and channels. Often these disparate channels are managed as stand-alone entities in a proverbial vacuum. GDN over there. Programmatic over there. Facebook Ads here. Oh, and let’s put search on a pedestal all alone up there.

Well… don’t do that. From a performance perspective, we can open the Pandora’s box of attribution and how all of these channels interact to drive traffic and conversions on your website. At the very least, use Google Analytics’ Multi-Channel Funnels to quickly illustrate that your digital advertising channels DO NOT live in a vacuum. What about aspects beyond performance? Take a look at targeting. While the targeting paradigms are unique to each channel, the core concepts are often shared across search, social and display.

The core idea here is that of shared knowledge. We won’t argue which channel comes first or order of application, learning, distribution of knowledge across channels (chicken or egg, ammirigh?). Instead, the takeaway is an understanding of how targeting concepts from other channels can be used to influence display campaigns.

  • Market Research (offline): Ok, so this isn’t a channel. Regardless, the research that you or your clients do around personas, purchase habits and behavior should be used as a guide for all of your advertising channels. Conversely, what you learn from the performance of your campaigns can close the feedback loop by proving/disproving the thesis statement put forth by your research.
  • PPC Keywords Part 1: The most common intersection of PPC and display advertising is with contextual targeting on the Google Display Network (GDN). Outside of contextual, there are also applications of keyword and search query data on search-intent targeting.
  • PPC Keywords Part 2: Use the SERP’s of your top performing keywords and search queries to discover high quality placements that are serving ads on the GDN or other display platforms. You aren’t getting all of the clicks on these keywords, but you can still get in front of this quality traffic!
  • Retargeting Placements: You are filling retargeting audiences with visitors from all of your digital advertising channels. Hopefully you are upping your game by segmenting your audiences based on targeting parameters. The obvious application is to tailor creative to target these audiences with display retargeting. But that’s the just the surface level. Take this a step further and analyze placement performance based on the retargeting audience. Now you can construct a display placement targeting strategy based on audience and conversion data. #winning
  • Custom Audiences Part 1: At a very basic level, custom audiences are a truly shared resource these days. Facebook, Twitter, most programmatic offerings and now AdWords all leverage custom audiences. While Google’s customer match isn’t available for core GDN targeting types, it is available for Gmail Sponsored Promotions and YouTube. While there could be reason to create unique lists per channel, most of your custom audience lists will be applicable across all of them (yay efficiency!).
  • Custom Audiences Part 2: Use custom audiences to cross reference or better understand your targeting for display, social, etc. Upload a custom audience to Facebook Ads and review Audience Insights. Quickly understand key factors – gender, age, location, education, relationship status and other interest/lifestyle data. This is great info for tweaking display targeting.
  • Different, But the Same: There are obvious parallels between display and social advertising. Social has interests and behaviors. Display has topic, interest categories and affinity targets. When you understand that there are obvious parallels between these targeting parameters, your workflow will instantly become more efficient. Naming conventions and the number of options may vary, but the core concepts are transferable in both directions.
  • Entity Targeting: Twitter is unique in that it forces us to think about people and businesses as targets (similar followers, custom @handle audiences). When you hit on a set of business, thought leader or basic user targets that perform well on Twitter Ads, use these as a starting point to research display placement opportunities or to create keywords for contextual targeting. These businesses/individuals share a common audience, so it only makes sense to target them on display, too.

Beyond targeting parameters, there are plenty of other ways your digital advertising channels influence each other. Ad messaging. Creative. Landing page performance. Attribution. In short, if you were managing these channels each in their own vacuum, please stop! Take a step back and realize the similarities in targeting and opportunities to let each of these channels influence the others. Happy optimizing!

Interested in more display goodies? Check out the rest of our #DigIntoDisplay series!