how microtargeting can be a slam dunk

by Ovative Group
August 2, 2017

This summer, we asked our talented group of college interns to contribute to the Ovative/group blog. We asked them to choose a topic that interests them, do a deep dive into the subject, then develop a post to share what they learned. Enjoy this post and stay tuned for the rest of the Intern Series throughout this summer! 

WRITTEN BY: Andrew O’Neil and Connor Allen

If you go out on the street and ask ten people what they think microtargeting is, you will probably get ten different answers. This new and exciting form of digital marketing is relatively unknown to the general public. Before working at Ovative/group, we fell into this category and thought microtargeting resembled something like this:


It turns out we were way off, and we were looking at it through the wrong lens…pun intended. Microtargeting involves optimizing ad placement to reach a desired demographic group. After determining the desired audience for an ad, marketers identify domains that have a disproportionate number of viewers from the target group. By targeting a tailored audience, companies can reduce the amount of marketing capital required to reach the desired number of relevant customers.

As an example, a Nielsen study shared how a hot dog manufacturer realized their top customers were not barbecue enthusiasts, but rather teenage boys. After unlocking this insight about their customers, they began placing ads on a gaming website that was mostly visited by teenagers. This ad campaign proved extremely successful as the small ads returned more value than a more generalized campaign.

Microtargeting may seem like an obvious strategy for food vendors, retailers, and even politicians, but the implications for microtargeting go even further. College athletic departments, for instance, still use traditional recruiting methods to entice rising stars to their school. However, by utilizing microtargeting, the recruitment process could start even younger. Once the university has identified a potential recruit pool, it can then launch an ad campaign targeting these younger athletes. For example, websites visited by many aspiring basketball players provide a good platform to target future stars.

Ball is life

By purchasing banner ads on such websites, a university could build a much more successful program by obtaining leads on top prospects. On top of that, the cost of the advertisement is far less than a more general approach. Furthermore, the ad clicks will generate more positive leads as a higher percentage of clicks will be from the target audience.

Collegiate athletics play an important role in how a university markets itself. A successful sports team may be the factor that persuades prospective students to attend their college over another rival. In addition, a sports team’s success plays a key role in advertising the university itself. A big football or basketball game allows the college to be seen by millions of fans and creates an excellent opportunity for brand growth.

As marketers obtain more customer data, microtargeting will become even more effective. Our basketball example is just one way microtargeting can improve ROAS and drive more revenue. More companies need to recognize the potential microtargeting has in offering a competitive edge in the marketplace.

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