Whether in Romance or ROAS, Matchmaking Is Key to Success

Want to make the most of your ad spend? Stop targeting and start matching with your audience

Romance has been influenced quite a bit by marketing over the past few decades. From jewelry campaign jingles you can recall from memory to greeting card brands expanding into full-blown Hollywood romcoms, advertising has had a major impact on how people show up for their significant others. But would you believe that advertising has just as much to learn from romance?

You can’t make a match with targeting alone

In both marketing and relationships, you need a solid connection. Be it a prospect or a potential partner, mutual values and shared interests are key. But this is more than just a metaphor. Lessons usually reserved for love can help marketers take that huge first step: meeting the right person.

In marketing, “meeting the right person” traditionally means getting your audience targeting right. But audience targeting isn’t enough. These days, it’s table stakes. Every marketer out there is doing it, therefore so must you. But what others may not be doing—and where you can stand out—is putting in the work to make the most of that moment when the ad is served. 

That’s why it’s better to think about targeting as matching with your audience. In the same way, you can’t simply swipe right on every dating app profile that matches your criteria and expect meaningful results, you need a deeper understanding of the consumer you’re trying to reach, so that when the moment comes, you can make the most of it. You’re building a connection and identifying what exactly is valuable to both you and your audience.

This is important to get right because a vast majority of consumers put a heavy emphasis on this point—a 2022 Harris Poll commissioned by Google Cloud found that 82% of shoppers want a brand’s values to align with their own, and that important connection will influence whether they spend money with that brand or not.

To understand who your audience is so you can make a solid match, you need to put in the work to get it right. From nailing your creative messaging to identifying trends in your data and finding consumers who will want to engage with your brand, you can ensure that you not only reach them, but also make the most of that moment by communicating your values (and value) to potential customers.

Build a match profile

Let’s be frank: Consumers don’t want to be “targeted.” Who would? The word itself feels aggressive and one-sided. But there is a world where ads don’t make consumers feel chased or harassed—where ads are useful, even attractive. Here are a few must-haves to make that world a reality:

  • A data-rich performance feedback loop that verifies your message is landing across search, social and connected TV. This knowledge helps you understand what actually brings consumers to your site or stores, so you can double down or iterate on it in future campaigns.
  • Strong A/B creative testing capabilities give you actionable insights that deepen your understanding of your audience and shorten the path to better performance. Test different elements in your CTV and digital ad creative; swap out a CTA or try a different voiceover to see if one resonates more with your audience (and yes, you can A/B test on CTV).
  • A matching-first audience approach that will put those findings to work and test opportunities to not only maximize your relationship with your existing core audience, but also identify more consumers who fit your ideal profile to generate more revenue.

That last item is crucial. Case in point: one of MNTN’s customers, the direct-to-consumer brand Rumpl, had seen success promoting its outdoor-oriented blankets to an outdoorsy audience on CTV—a natural match. But chemistry isn’t always predictable.

Rumpl’s CTV campaign’s robust performance data proved that the company’s message was landing with its core audience, and this offered an opportunity to iterate and develop its strategy further.

So, Rumpl decided to apply a similar approach to a new audience that could also be receptive to the offering. With some modifications to its creative to better align with the vibe of this new audience—those with aspirations to be outdoorsy but who were more likely to bundle up with a blanket at home—Rumpl tested whether they would be a match. It paid off: The aspirational outdoorsy campaign generated 35% more conversions than Rumpl’s core outdoor audience, and this discovery helped fuel the company’s marketing strategy moving forward.

Even Hallmark knows relationships are never as magical as their happily-ever-after stories suggest—they take work. But putting that work into understanding your most valuable relationships can lead to amazing things. For marketers, it can lead to bringing on a loyal, lifelong customer. In romance, it can lead to a different kind of lifelong commitment, one that’s certainly no less special. Either way, it’s definitely worth it.

Eric oversees MNTN’s performance marketing team inclusive of paid media, SEO and email marketing. Previously, Eric worked for multiple advertising agencies overseeing paid media efforts for clients ranging from SMB to Fortune 500 organizations and spanning numerous industries from B2B to CPG.