A Guide to Defining Your Target Audience for Ads

Is your digital advertising budget big enough to target every person on the planet?


If it were, you wouldn’t be reading this right now!


Your products or services are likely intended for a specific group of customers. But have you ever gone through the process of defining just who your ideal customers are? Beyond being an essential part of creating a smart marketing strategy, defining your target audience (i.e., the specific group(s) of people you want to reach with your marketing message) makes your digital advertising much more affordable, efficient, and effective.

Here’s how to define your target audience for ads:

  1. Scrutinize your existing customer base. Why do they buy from you? What do they have in common? Look for patterns in demographics, interests, and other common characteristics (for B2B customers, consider company size, industry, type of decision-maker, business challenges, etc.). It’s likely that similar people could also benefit from your products or services.
  2. Review your website and social media analytics. Data from your website and social traffic can help you understand who’s interacting with your brand (even if they aren’t converting) to fill in the gaps in your customer analysis.
  3. Know your competition. Who are they marketing to? What is their customer base like? If the competition is stiff in your market, you may want to find a niche to target instead of going after the same customers.
  4. Examine your products or services. Conduct a feature/benefit/value analysis for each of your offerings. Once you’ve defined your benefits and the value you deliver, create a list of the types of people who need that value. Working backward through the process will help you create a broad base of potential customers to target.
  5. Define target demographics. Examine the lists you’ve created in steps 1 through 3 to develop a list of common characteristics. Consider not only who has a need for your product or service, as well as who is most likely to buy it. Demographic factors may include age/stage of life, geography, gender, income, education level, marital status, occupation, ethnicity, and more. For B2B audiences, define characteristics like the ones listed in step 1.
  6. Define target psychographics. Personal characteristics like attitudes, values, personality, lifestyles, interests/hobbies, and more influence how people think and make purchase decisions. Consider which of these characteristics may be important when defining your ideal audience.
  7. Evaluate your results. Once you’ve defined your audience, ensure it’s viable. Take a step back to make sure your audience:
    1. Is large enough: Do you have enough potential customers who fit your criteria?
    2. Have a need you can fill: Do your products/services provide a real benefit your audience understands?
    3. Can you afford your products/services: Will your pricing work for you and your audience?
    4. Can be reached via advertising: Are they easily accessible?
  8. Create a target market statement. Distill the most important demographic and behavioral characteristics you’ve identified to craft a simple statement that defines your target audience. For example: ” Our target market is [gender] aged [age range], who live in [place or type of place], and like to [activity].”


Once you’ve defined your target audience, you can use your statement to determine how and where to advertise to them, as well as what message will resonate best with them. Ultimately, sending the right marketing message to a well-defined audience will increase your advertising ROI – and help you build a stronger bottom line.

Need help with online advertising?

BARQAR’s performance marketing experts make it easy (and cost-effective) to reach, engage, and convert your target audience. Contact us today for more information on our digital marketing solutions


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