Many advertisers have a hard time reaching their true audiences online.  Often, advertisers spend considerable time and effort refining their audience definitions only to find that they cannot effectively reach that audience online and are forced to dumb down these definitions when running online ad campaigns.

We talk to advertisers about this all the time.  Recently we were working on a campaign for a product with an anti-obesity benefit targeting “time crunched families”.

Initially we defined that audience as families with at least one employed head of household who primarily rely on convenience when making purchasing decisions but we quickly found three segments within their audience that have very different motivations.  These segments fell across a “health engagement” continuum which incorporates people’s attitudes on healthy eating, childhood obesity and participation in physical activities: Gym, running, playing team sports, etc.

Here’s a snapshot of what we found:

Low Health Engagement Segment:

  • Their purchasing decisions are driven by personal finance and family considerations
  • Advertisers can connect with them by making health an issue of personal importance, even though they are the least engaged.

Moderate Health Engagement Segment:

  • They make decisions based both on family values (e.g. protect my family, reward my family) and social connections
  • A viral component to communication satisfies this target’s desire for increased connections. Good to know when developing a campaign.

High Health Engagement Segment:

  • These consumers link their personal success and beliefs with helping society
  • The advertiser should empower these consumers to be ambassadors of their message and persuade them to make a difference. Thus high engagement in health translates to high engagement in media, again pointing to a way to reach and energize this segment.

We can’t give away what we did for the campaign, but this example should also provide food for thought for your next campaign. Do you have the insights you need to get results?

Now with consumers spending even more time online, you need to make sure your audience is who you think it is.