Connected Retargeting: Defining, Refining, and Aligning Your Social Audience

Connected Retargeting: Defining, Refining, and Aligning Your Social Audience

While the conventional method of using interests and behaviors to segment an audience still exists in large scale, the more recent tactic of connection-based targeting is quickly picking up traction because of its versatility and effectiveness. This intersection is where connected retargeting flourishes, and the robust options available to use this approach in marketing efforts are always increasing.

The traditional notion of retargeting is straightforward: define a group of people who have shown an affinity toward your brand, product, or service and leverage them to maximize campaign efforts. Affinity can be classified in many ways, but it is most commonly associated with a specific web action taken by the user. That action--a website visit, an e-commerce purchase, or even a newsletter signup--is often tracked by a small snippet of code (called a pixel or tag) that is placed on the website. Although these tactics have helped marketers qualify their audiences for more than a decade, they only begin to tap into the potential that connected retargeting can have for a business.

The next step is to think about sustaining a retargeting audience over time, and that is where connected retargeting comes in. What happens when we exhaust our retargeting audience, or are not finding success with it? Do we wait until more people visit our website to replenish or refine our retargeting pool? The answer, at least when using social platforms, is that it doesn't just stop there.

The great thing about social media is that it provides its own ecosystem that remains active both before and after an ad is served. Users can see an ad and come back to it later, or even share it with their friends and followers. This dynamic interaction is what makes social media such a unique medium--and brings in two very important factors of social strategy: audience sourcing and audience expanding.

Sourcing a connected retargeting audience on social media is actually pretty exciting. While the options vary between each platform, the general concept (largely pioneered by Facebook) is fairly consistent because, frankly, it works.

The easiest (and arguably the most important) audience to source is our followers--the people who have already made a commitment to a brand and are likely to support it. The problem, though, is that this is usually the smallest audience available to us, which makes other follower sources favorable too. Platforms like Twitter allow you to target followers of other pages, which is a great option for competitor conquesting. For brands looking to target influencers and advocates, it's possible to set a threshold so that only users who have larger followings are targeted. While these are effective methods for maximizing follower support, there are ways to source an audience that do not rely on followers.

Imagine being able to create a historical index of all users who have seen a brand; to be able to control what they see, when they see it, and how often that interaction occurs. Page retargeting, which enables us to target any user who has interacted with a page within the past year, brings that concept closer to a reality. We can even take it a step further, with methods that allow us to target users who have not just seen a brand but also have engaged with it. Using engager retargeting, we can target users who have liked, commented, shared, or watched--basically any action that required someone to click.

Expanding a connected retargeting audience may not be as exciting as sourcing, but it is equally worthwhile. With so many sources, it's crucial to deploy strategies that will empower you to maximize the potential of each audience segment. One of these strategies involves the ability to target users who are similar to an existing list of users. This similarity can be tiered from 99 percent similarity down to 90 percent, which enables marketers to significantly expand their initial audience source. Another technique allows you to leverage connections between users and target the friends of people who follow a page. For brands that operate in tight-knit communities or genres, these connection-based insights can be invaluable.

Connected retargeting tactics are revolutionizing how we define, refine, and align our audiences on social media. By capitalizing on connections, rather than website actions, we are taking a necessary step toward fortifying our target audience and the approaches we use to reach them. Once those retargeting audiences are sourced, we must continue to implement methods that expand and magnify them so that we can sustain our social marketing efforts each quarter.

Social media is an ever-changing digital landscape, and the way we reach our target audience on social platforms continues to evolve. Franchisors and franchisees need to stay on course with the changes or face playing catch-up at a cost.

Todd Juneau is managing director at Mindstream Interactive in San Diego. To learn more, call 858-777-5007 or email tjuneau@mindstreaminteractive.com.

Published: April 6th, 2017

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