3 Ways Marketers Can Use Content Data to Attract Their Target Audience

It's where you'll often find consumers who have an interest in your product or brand

Consumers choose the content they want to engage with, avoiding that which doesn't connect with their interests.
Getty Images

Marketers are scrambling right now. They’re rushing to find new data points for targeting to increase return on ad spend. GDPR has played a significant role in why, but it’s more than likely just the beginning of the data privacy challenges, which includes the recently passed California Consumer Privacy Act, ahead. We as an industry must overcome the data challenges by focusing on the opportunities that exist today.

There are two characteristics that make data sets useful and effective: scale and accuracy. Without either one of these, it’s impossible for the data to be effective in generating positive business results or a positive ROI.

So, what are the opportunities? To begin with, marketers and their agencies have been using demographic- and interest-based data for years. Those data points are the most established, most widely available and most commonly used.

At the same time, marketers have spent a significant amount of time and resources identifying and establishing databases of first-, second- and third-party audience segments for targeting. They leverage this audience data through their CRM systems, email and direct-mail marketing and retargeting efforts. It’s taken years to scale and refine these databases to get them to a point where they’re current, accurate and relevant.

In addition to audience data, which typically includes demographic and interest-based data points, there’s also content data. This is where I see a big opportunity for digital marketers. Content is often found through a search engine, where consumers are purposefully choosing to read, watch or interact with a specific topic. In that case, the consumers are often showing intent: intent to purchase, intent to take an action, intent to learn, intent to travel.

Content is often found through a search engine, where consumers are purposefully choosing to read, watch or interact with a specific topic.

A marketer can capitalize on that intent by aligning their product message with that demonstrated interest. Studies have shown that when a marketer’s product or service message is relevant to the content that it precedes, the ad gets a significantly higher completion rate, a higher engagement rate and a higher rate of recall. That’s why auto manufacturers advertise on auto sites, pharmaceuticals on health sites and CPG products on food and recipe sites. The other advantage is that the advertiser mitigates the risk that their message will run adjacent to unsuitable or inappropriate content. That peace-of-mind is what many marketers struggle to achieve, especially within social media and sites that allow user-generated content.

Here are a few tips for marrying your audience data with content data.

Determine the keywords

Marketers often know the demographics and psychographics of their primary target audience. But what percentage of their customer base meets that exact profile? Maybe 80–90 percent. Wouldn’t it be beneficial for a marketer to grow their customer base by stumbling onto new customers through the content that the consumer is showing interest in? Even though some of those consumers fall outside of their typical profile, it doesn’t mean they aren’t good potential customers. Developing a broad yet relevant list of keywords is the key to reaching consumers who are most likely to have an interest in your product. These keywords can be used to cultivate the content that you align your message to.

Leverage relevance and recency

When a consumer chooses to watch a video about a specific topic and your product or message is relevant to that topic, regardless of the demographic and psychographic make-up of that consumer, the message is going to resonate. Higher relevance will lead to higher engagement and higher recall. In addition, when your message is in front of consumers at the moment they’re thinking about a topic or showing intent to purchase that type of product, it’ll receive higher recall and higher consideration for purchase.

Some publishers offer the ability to leverage data that’s based on their content. This can be used in combination with audience data to drive campaign efficiency and effectiveness. The challenge for most publishers is that they don’t have enough content data at scale, especially when it comes to video content that pertains to a specific product, brand or message.

Be creative with video

The fastest growing type of video watched today is video-on-demand. Consumers want to watch what they want when and where they want to watch it and on the device they want to watch it on. By strategically placing your product message in front of content that is being watched on purpose when the consumer is leaning forward and most engaged, the message will receive higher engagement and higher brand recall. Using interactive video in conjunction with a standard video ad gives the consumer a way and reason to engage with your brand and message. This not only leads to a higher engagement rate, it will also give you a more accurate read on the effectiveness of your campaign. Video completion rates can be a false indication of effectiveness. In addition to interactive video, be sensitive to the length of your message. Don’t put a 30-second ad in front of 30 seconds of content. That’s not a fair trade off in the eye of the typical consumer. Try a six-second ad and save your 30 seconds for videos that are five minutes or longer.

Your audience data and content data are a match made in heaven. Good luck with the upcoming nuptials.