What is Microtargeting?
Search engines such as Google, social media networks, over the top video services, and web news outlets have created a digital media ecosystem.
It has dramatically changed the way people around the globe consume information.
All the companies and websites within the digital ecosystem are competing for your attention at the same time.
They also influence every aspect of our society, ranging from how we raise our children to which products we buy.
Scott Oldfod teaches how you can master Facebook targeting.
Microtargeting is the most important component of the information overload you are a constant target of. Both individuals and companies use microtargeting commercially and non-commercially.
It has already had a great impact on our society in addition to totally transforming our lives.
Thanks to microtargeting, companies and political parties know you better than you know yourself.
Some of the microtargeting campaigns have been so powerful that people often see them in their sleep.
WHAT IS MICROTARGETING?
Microtargeting is one of the latest marketing techniques you can employ to promote your business. It helps organizations identify consumers’ behaviors and tastes. It has already seen many different uses outside the marketing world.
It is a practice of collecting user’s data, including what they buy, their demographics, what they like and what they are most connected to.
Subsequently, companies use this data to segment them into different groups for the sake of content or product marketing.
The basic purpose of microtargeting is to create a marketing strategy which delivers advertisements to a specific faction of society.
It predicts your interests, influences, opinions, and purchasing habits based on your behavioral, geographic, psychographic and demographic data.
One of the companies that successfully use microtargeting is Google?
For example, if you search for the latest Lenovo laptops, Google will start serving you advertisements about the different types of laptops.
Facebook employs the same technique to determine which ads you may be most interested in. In general, it helps organizations or individuals deliver helpful and relevant content to you.
However, it does provide you with wrong or biased information, the sole purpose of which is to influence your decision.
People and organization use different methods to collect your data.
But, it is basically an unregulated territory in most countries, including the United States of America.
It is, therefore, the responsibility of the citizens and consumers alike to understand what a particular organization is up to.
It will further help you protect yourself from the dark and negative features of this particular marketing technique.
OBJECTIVES OF MICROTARGETING
Different people have different motivational triggers, opinions, and interests. Microtargeting aims at creating a more comprehensive advertisement strategy.
The strategy is based on predictive analyses along with the consumer data collected through different sources.
It is a proven fact that the campaigns that target a certain section of society are much more effective than unrelated advertisements.
They result in a better return on investment because they are more interesting, more convincing, and more relevant. More importantly, they increase consumer engagement as well.
For example, people who love football will definitely take a keen interest in a campaign related to football.
On the other hand, you will quickly lose interest in the advertisements related to cricket simply because you do not like it as a sport.
Companies can easily tap most of your interests, opinions, preferences, and habits from your online browsing history or habits.
They try to create the most exciting and convincing marketing strategy using this data in the hope that you will eventually buy their products.
DOES MICROTARGETING WORK?
Does microtargeting really work? In fact, it can create political and marketing shock waves despite being apparently inconsequential and subtle.
Whether or not microtargeting works depends upon the commercial activities occurring in the company’s background.
The three most important digital platforms that are Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have a similar business model.
It is also interesting to learn that all these companies testified before the United States’ Congress for malicious Russian activities on their platforms during the 2016 presidential elections.
Back to their business model, it actually has three main components or branches.
If you want to learn more about microtargeting, watch this video.
The first component or practice is to hold the user’s attention for a long time period by creating an extremely addictive and enormously compelling world of products and services.
In the case of Facebook and Twitter, the ever-updating news feeds and messenger apps serve this very purpose.
The second step is to use all the digital services, especially Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to collect as much data as possible about the user. It even goes to the extent of creating holistic behavioral tracking profiles for each and every user.
Lastly, major digital companies create dedicated algorithms to perform two different functions. The first one is to predict the type of content which keep you hooked to their network.
The second function is to intersperse only those ads in the content which we are most likely to click for optimal revenue.
This particular business model enables both the politicians and marketers to optimally use microtargeting for their respective purposes. Digital giants continually curate the experience you have on their networks.
They only attempt to show you the content you are most passionate about to keep you engaged to their platform. All these things help them create interest filters which various organizations can use to achieve their marketing objectives.
Both commercial and political entities make equal use of microtargeting.
The thing to remember here is that organizations derive data from your personal information that is easily available on all the social and digital media platforms.
They use this data to divide users into politically opposed factions. Based on their findings, they make predictions regarding which kind of content you would like to see.
They present the content, which resonates with your thoughts and entices you to take action and practically and financially support their cause.
It is, in fact, blatant harvesting of your beliefs, behaviors, preferences, interests, and likes and dislikes.
MICROTARGETING IN POLITICS
It is believed that microtargeting played a crucial role in Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016’s presidential elections.
Head Digital Strategist of Trump’s campaign has said on a number of occasions that they use this technique to communicate with people and portray Trump as a next president.
The strategy was a success because it pushed their popularity to the top, especially on Facebook and Twitter. In one of his recent tweets, he stated that their campaign was “100x to 200x” more efficient than that of Clinton’s.
This YouTube video does a brilliant job of explaining how microtargeting works in politics.
Mrs. Clinton relied only on disseminating her message on social media which contributed heavily to her downfall.
On the other hand, Donald Trump spent a whopping $150 million on highly targeted advertisements on Instagram and Facebook.
The final result was the testimony to the fact that microtargeting is a real thing and it can greatly help you attain your goals, whatever they may be.
The 2016 presidential elections were not the first occasion someone used microtargeting for political purposes. Republicans also used advanced microtargeting in 2004 elections as well.
Karl Rove and Blaise Hazelwood targeted potential voters in 18 states which resulted in their victory against the Democrats’ candidate, John Kerry.
1n 2008, Barrack Obama gave Republicans the taste of their own medicine. His team spent millions of dollars on digital communication. Database engineers, data scientists, and technical support staff worked day and night to re-engineer the database of democratic voters.
The database included all the information about these voters based on their general interest, online and offline behaviors and social media profiles.
The team further used this data to devise a comprehensive marketing strategy to target people in the best manner possible.
Watch the video to learn more about Obama’s secret microtargeting operation.
They designed everything from the website to social media contests (Dinner with Obama) and ads while keeping the target audience in view.
Obama’s “marketing campaign” was so successful that people not only voted for him, but also convinced their friends, family, and everyone in their circle to support him.
The same report also forecasts that the total spending on online microtargeted campaigns during the 2020 presidential cycle would be approximately $3.3 billion.
MICROTARGETING IN ADVERTISEMENT
Just like politics, commercial marketers have been using this marketing technique for some time now and with good effect.
The basic principle is the same that is engineering your customers’ data, such as things like their interests, likes and dislikes and their purchasing habits.
Subsequently, you divide customers into different groups and devise marketing strategies to target them according to their habits and behaviors.
As a matter of fact, microtargeting is the sub-branch of data insights and predictive analysis, which have become very common in the marketing world.
The following infographic shows the five stages of microtargeted inbound marketing.
Let us assume that your ultimate goal is to improve your conversion rate. You can start by identifying the actions and attributes of your previous customers.
The next step is to collect all the data about them such as their age, location, purchasing power, education, and income, etc.
Then, you can further improve your strategy by adding extra attributes such as travel enthusiasts, gamers, pet owners, and TV show lovers.
In fact, you can attach any attribute you want to segment your customers.
It is also important to identify as many attributes as possible in addition to overlapping them if you want to create accurate subgroups of your larger audience.
You can also use these subgroups to identify other customers with similar traits, interests, and habits.
As a result, you will be able to build another large audience of prospective customers. These are the customers who share purchasing habits and traits with people who have already bought your products.
This method of the advertisement does not focus on quantity, but rather brings real and quality customers to your business. It also enables you to predict which of the customers are most likely to convert.
Now that you already have a micro-targeted audience, you can set apart some money from your marketing budget and spend on it as well.
It further helps you penetrate into a niche market only if you can deliver relevant messages to the audience.
Keep in mind that microtargeting is totally different from spray and pray mode of marketing.
It is a consumer first approach, exactly what you need to customize your message and develop personal connections with an ad-weary audience.
You can also get your hand on the big data by targeting a certain group of people. You can use this data to create a personalized and comprehensive campaign, which delivers relevant messages to your most loyal customers.
To make things even better, you can send messages to their preferred devices as well.
This is especially important if you are also devising campaigns for cross-device marketing.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MICROTARGETING
Microtargeting has garnered immense popularity in recent years. It is perhaps the most effective marketing medium in the digital world where it has become increasingly difficult to craft a message which not only cuts through the clutter but also resonates with your audience and compels them to make a purchase.
Some of the smartest companies in the world have realized that the only way to increase ROI is to enhance campaign relevance.
With budgets stretched to limit, companies cannot afford to spend money lavishly on useless, unrelated marketing strategies and this is where microtargeting comes to your rescue.
Gone are the days when it was enough to simply send personalized messages to your target audience. On the other hand, microtargeting enables you to send messages to a certain group of people having similar needs, habits, and traits.
It can enhance your brand awareness, customer engagement and thus, sales by almost 5%, which is more than enough in the industry with only 1% growth average.
Microtargeting is particularly beneficial for direct marketers who focus on acquiring qualified leads to drive sales.
They can use the technique to send highly customized and relevant emails to a small group of people who are living in the same city and have similar habits, interests, and needs.
They may also belong to the same age bracket or work in the same industry. The possibilities are endless.
You can add any trait you like to divide and subdivide people into small groups to create a holistic but relevant marketing campaign for each of them.
So, how you can start once you have decided to go ahead with microtargeting? Here are seven essential factors to consider.
Focus on Relevance
In fact, microtargeting is another name for relevancy. We cannot emphasize it enough.
You need to classify each of present or potential customers into a relevant category for this marketing technique to work.
Similarly, paying equal attention to every category, even if some of them have only one or two customers is the way to go.
You can base these categories on different factors such as people’s behavior on your website, level of responsiveness, brand segments, purchasing interests and habits, age and demographics, etc.
Hiring a data provider to filter leads based on the categories you have created is also important.
This will have a positive impact on your company as you will only target customers and people which really matter for your business. You must also make sure that communication is highly relevant.
The best way to do so is to tailor the messages according to the behaviors and interests of your audience.
Focus on the Audience
It is quite tempting and sometimes irresistible to send your message to millions of people at the same time. After all, it is your right to deliver your message to as many people as you like.
You may consider addressing only a thousand or so people if you want to run a highly targeted campaign. It is actually an unhealthy practice to send your message to millions of disconnected people.
It will not only cost you a lot of money, but you will alienate your prospective customers by bombarding them with irrelevant messages and marketing campaigns.
Therefore, keep a close look at the people who visit your website. It will help you craft customized and highly relevant campaigns for them based on their viewing activity.
Resultantly, you will be able to deliver a message they actually want to receive and read.
Leverage Multichannel Campaigns
It is important for you to use almost all the market channels at your disposal to enhance your campaign’s effectiveness.
Ensure that you gather information from all these channels and devise marketing campaigns and offer incentives, as per the data you receive.
You can even offer deeper incentives down the road to attract more customers to your business. A dedicated data provider also plays a crucial role in successful multichannel marketing.
Know Your Targets
It is imperative for you to avoid all kinds of spamming and concentrate on strategic marketing. Try to make people agree with you are trying to explain.
Be sure that you have the legitimate right to market the products.
Always acquire data from reputable providers if you want to start an email marketing campaign.
Obtaining data from sources which employ shadowy techniques like website scraping to collect data can tarnish your own reputation.
Similarly, it is your moral duty to seek permission before contacting someone. Remove any person who does not want to be contacted from your list. Always use ethical techniques to reach your audience.
Never Compromise Quality
The prerequisite for successful targeted campaigns is high quality, but fresh data.
The data you collect normally decays at the rate of 2% to 3% percent per month. It loses its authenticity by 25% after six months and it will be totally outdated within a year.
You may even end up spending $10 on each outdated record you have in your data library. It will not only make you lose a considerable amount of money, but it will also seriously dent your marketing efforts. To ensure freshness, you need to continually update your data.
Focus on the people who are most likely to click, read and take action on your email or ad. Obviously, this is the only way to dramatically improve your campaign’s results.
The best method to attract high quality and relevant leads through microtargeting is to send messages that promise to solve the readers’ problems or meet their needs.
Think Beyond Sales
Microtargeting also helps you attract more satisfied and happy customers, ultimately leading you to develop long-lasting business relationships with them.
Any contact information in your database may also indicate that the person is interested in starting a conversation which is not all about sales.
If you manage to properly target such contacts, you can build preferences and loyalty for your business in the long run.
For example, if someone has attended a conference organized by your business in the past, never forget to inform them about the similar events in the future by sending them personalized and targeted messages.
Get Your Timing Right
Developing relevant contact and sending personalized messages are not enough to drive loyalty, engagement, and sales. It is also about getting your timing right.
You can show your customers that you care about them and want to solve their problems with the help of post-service or post-sales messages, sowing the seeds for a long and profitable partnership.
THE MAJOR DRAWBACK OF MICROTARGETING
Nothing in this world is perfect and same is the case with microtargeting.
Politicians, in particular, have mastered the art of spreading false information through microtargeting.
The following video explains how microtargeting harms the public sphere.
Politicians can say and upload whatever they want on social media. As they already have a huge database of information, they encourage their followers to “organically” share and reshare their ideas.
Some people also share the content published on social media by their favorite politicians without bothering to verify whether or not it is authentic.
Political campaigns take the maximum advantage of this “organic information” freely circulating on different social media platforms.
This is the very concept behind the massive success of misinformation campaigns. Politicians upload unpaid or organic content on social media, according to the demographics and other factors related to their followers.
If the information is interesting enough, it will get viral within minutes and then there will be no one to question its authenticity.
There is also a basic difference between misinformation and disinformation.
The earlier is the false content which people promote either knowingly or unknowingly. Disinformation is the false information which people knowingly upload with the malicious intent.
Things become quite dangerous when false information is about a country’s policies and future. For example, there is no proof that Pop endorsed Donald Trump.
However, a vast majority of Americans believed he did.
This particular fake news had real effects on the election results because a sizable portion of Trump’s supporters is deeply religious.
The worst part is that false news gets viral and travels faster than the true one, making it even more convenient for politicians to influence your decisions.