Targeted Advertising: Demographic Questions You Should Be Asking

/ January 19, 2021

According to Forbes, every day, we get bombarded with an average of 4,000 to 10,000 ads online or otherwise. Consumers have become good at ignoring and avoiding them, thanks to ad blockers. LinkedIn tells us that around 86 million users use software to block $20 billion worth of ads each year in the U.S. alone.

So if your ads aren’t getting the right results, this may be the culprit. How do you go about this problem? Through targeted advertising. We’ll get an in-depth look at what targeted advertising is and how you can leverage it for business growth.

We’ll also show you how working with Penji can help you with your advertising efforts, targeted or not.

What is Targeted Advertising?

penji illustration

Advertisers have gotten wind of these clever ways to avoid seeing their ads. Thus, they came up with the idea of learning about and adapting to our digital behaviors and habits. Once they pick up what we read and buy online, they use this data to show us what they think we like to see. 

Targeted advertising is the form of online advertising that focuses on your target audience’s demographics. This means that you create and place ads based on your prospects’ online behavior, preferences, and buying history. You do this by tracking consumers’ activity on the Internet.

How Does It Work?

penji illustration

Advertisers will determine who might be interested in a company’s products or services. To do this, they will gather data from websites or social media platforms. This data may include demographics, interests, preferences, or behaviors. 

Let’s say you visited a website about hammer drills. The browser you’re using will send this info to third-party advertising networks. This data is stored as a browser cookie that shows the sites you visited. 

You then view a different website within the same advertising network. Hammer drill ads for the first site you viewed are now likely to show up. The same thing happens when you log in to your social media accounts.

The Importance of Targeted Advertising

penji illustration

The primary goal of targeted advertising is to show you ads that will pique your interest. The aim is to have you revisit the advertiser’s site and make you take action. Many business owners and marketers consider it a must for marketing strategies. Here are the main reasons:

Minimize Wasted Advertising

Advertising can be expensive. Targeted advertising allows small businesses and startups the chance to make the most of their ad budget. Targeted ads go straight to their preferred audience and avoid wasting money on hit or miss processes.

Direct Communication with Your Audience

With targeted advertising, you can speak directly to a defined audience. It allows you to show your hammer drill ads to DIYers and home improvement enthusiasts. You won’t waste your ads showing teenagers the benefits of having a cordless drill.

Creation of More Effective Advertisements

Targeted advertising lets you create ads that your audience will surely appreciate. You can craft better marketing messages and get better results from them. 

Better Lead Generation and Conversions

Finding high-quality leads and converting them to sales can be easier with targeted advertising. This is because your ads are specific to a particular demographic. These are the right people you want to be in front of. They are the people that will stand the best to benefit from your unique selling propositions.

Gaining Customer Loyalty

Targeted advertising allows customers to identify with your brand better. You can reach them at a more personal level that helps build trust and gain loyalty. 

Are Targeted Ads a Cause for Privacy Concern?

penji illustration

Whether outside our homes or online, we see advertisements at every turn. Some people may see targeted ads as something of a privacy concern. And it’s not without basis as targeted ads go even further than traditional advertising.

But as we all know, everything we do in cyberspace leaves a track. Our social media updates, browsing history, or search engines queries leave footprints. And these come back to us in the form of targeted advertising. 

What Can You Do?

Create ads that don’t overstep anybody’s boundaries. There’s a fine line between an inviting ad and one that creeps out your viewers. Here are a few tips on how to do it:

Gather Data the Traditional Way

Before you embark on your targeted advertising journey, try collecting data through traditional methods first. There are plenty of ways to do this as data collection isn’t a new thing. Surveys, recommendations, and feedback can be good sources. 

Avoid Using Sensitive Information

Stay away from the following attributes that may constitute privacy invasion:

  • Sexual orientation
  • Health conditions
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Age

Offer Transparency

Advertisers should show their willingness to disclose data-use practices. The use of the AdChoices icon would be helpful. Check out this tutorial from Google.

Use Restraint in Data Usage

Use the data you collected wisely and sparingly to avoid scaring off your customers. Avoid creating ads that give a feeling of being intrusive or inappropriate.

Targeted advertising requires not only skills in creating eye-catching ads but also tact and sensitivity. It’s always better to tread with caution rather than alienate potential customers.

Different Types of Targeted Advertising

penji illustration

Targeted advertising comes in a variety of forms. Here are the most popular:

Social Media Advertising

Using Facebook as an example, social media targeted ads are those you see on the side of the page. When you “Like” a particular ad, this ad will appear on some of your friends’ news feeds. Social media ads sometimes rely on what you put in your profile. Don’t be surprised to see an advertisement for a wedding ring when you place “Engaged” as a status.

Behavioral Targeting

Looking at power drill websites or searching for the best hammer drills will result in ads about drills everywhere you look. Behavioral ads are based on your browsing and purchasing habits. Even the news sites you visit will reflect the ads for products you previously searched for.

Search Engine Advertising

You can also use targeted advertising on search engines. These are the ads you see based on your browsing history. Ads for power drills will be on top of the search results when you type “power drills” into the search box.

Demographic Questions to Help Define Your Audience

penji illustration

Before you can create successful and effective targeted advertising, you have to know your demographics. This will paint a basic picture of who your target market really is. This will also help give you an idea of how to go about your marketing and advertising endeavors.

We made a compilation of the essential questions you need to ask to help define your target audience. We’ve broken them down into several subheadings. They are as follows:

Personal Demographics

penji illustration
  • What is their age range?

You don’t have to know their ages if you’re concerned about being too explicitly specific. Just the age range (20 to 30) would suffice. Someone in their early 20s would think differently from someone in their late 30s.

  • Male or Female?

It’s a given that you know what gender to target if you have gender-specific products or services. But if not, gender is still an essential factor in understanding your demographics. It helps to know the approaches to take when executing your advertising efforts as men behave and think differently from women. 

  • Where do they live?

This is especially useful when creating location-based advertising campaigns.

  • Are they married or single? Do they have children?
  • What are their levels of education?
  • How much do they make in a year?
  • What are their hobbies, sports, or do for recreation?

Career Demographics

penji illustration
  • What industry are they in?

Although this information may be more relevant to certain businesses than others, it’s still an important question. If you’re offering SaaS, it helps to know what industry your target audience is in. 

  • What skills do they have?

This is especially helpful when creating content for your targeted ads. Knowing that someone manages a website is an excellent opportunity for you to educate them about the benefits of SEO. 

  • What tools do they use?

Whether it’s photo-editing or word-processing software, it pays to know what tools your target market uses. If you can’t directly offer them your services, you can partner with companies that provide those tools. 

Motivation Demographics

penji illustration
  • What are their values?

Understanding what your target audience values the most is crucial. Their motivation, goals, challenges, and problems influence how they think, behave, and ultimately, buy.

  • What are their pain points?

This question will help you determine how you can solve their problems.

  • What are their objectives?
  • What are their needs?
  • And what emotions motivate them the most?

Are their purchasing decisions motivated by fear? Then build your brand and targeted advertising to address that emotion. Is it the need for protection, status, or reassurance?

Content Demographics

penji illustration
  • What type of content do they like?

This is to avoid creating content that nobody watches or reads. Is it videos, tutorials, or infographics that they’re into?

  • Which platform do they use the most?
  • What search engine do they use?

Media Demographics

penji illustration

Determining which media platforms your target audience stays in is vital. Being on every platform is a waste of time, so you need to go only on where your audience is.

  • What social media channels do they use?
  • What blogs do they follow?
  • Do they go on news sites, if so, which ones?
  • Who do they follow on social media?
  • Where do they get their news from?
  • What brands do they follow?
  • Do they watch TV?
  • What shows do they watch?

Product-Specific Questions

penji illustration
  • What current brand are they using?

Knowing this is helpful in such a way that if it’s a competitor, you can learn from it and improve on it. If their answer is you, then you can ask them how you can better your products or services to make them stay with you.

  • How can your product or service solve their problems better? 
  • Why are they using your competitor?

It could be that there’s a considerable price difference or that the competition’s ads look better. A Quick Sprout statistics have proven that visually appealing content does matter in advertising. Penji can help you with that. Watch our demo video today to learn more.

Other Additional Questions

penji illustration
  • How do they get information?

Are they getting their info from social media such as Facebook, or traditional media such as TV and magazines? Have they seen ads on billboards or transit advertising?

  • How do they communicate?
  • What traits can make them turn away from a brand?
  • How much are they willing to spend?
  • Which do they prefer, value or price?
  • What do they know about your brand?
  • What do they think of targeted advertising?

Where and How to Find Information

Here are some places you can get answers to these demographic questions:

  • Testimonials
  • Reviews
  • Actual customer conversations 

This could be from sales members who have direct conversations with customers. Or you can check the messages sent to you via social media or email.

  • Research tools such as Ahrefs or SEMRush
  • Blogs, forums (Quora, Yahoo Answers)
  • Surveying tools such as Google Surveys
  • Other members of your team who have interacted with customers

Getting Targeted Advertising Designs from Penji

Getting your brand message across through targeted advertising requires not only strategy but good designs as well. Great graphic design gives you:

  • An established brand identity
  • Increased brand awareness
  • Differentiation from competitors
  • An increase in perceived and actual brand value

To do this effectively, you need a design service such as Penji. Penji gives you unlimited graphic design at affordable prices. Here are a few of our previous work:

penji portfolio

Final Thoughts

Targeted advertising isn’t as simple as some may think. There is so much involved that you need to think and plan your campaigns carefully. Make it easier on you and your team by getting Penji to create your ads for you. Sign up now to any of Penji’s plans to start designing targeted advertising that works.

Updated January 19, 2021

About the author

Cel is a traditional animator for over than 15 years. She is also a Fine Arts Graduate who majored in Advertising and is now a Content Writer.

The all-in-one design team for your business

Get logos to websites and everything in between, Penji gives teams the designs they need to scale their business.

Learn more!

Related articles

20 Inspirational Thanksgiving Social Media Ideas 

Thanksgiving is an excellent opportunity for individual users, nonprofit organizations, or any community to take a shot at expanding their social media...

Read article

5 Clever Thanksgiving Marketing Campaigns You Can Try This Year

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and marketers are rolling their sleeves to create the best and most compelling marketing campaigns for...

Read article

How To Make The Best Thanksgiving Email Blast For Your Clients

Thanksgiving is the best time to show your gratitude to your customers and win over some new ones. Whip up a Thanksgiving...

Read article

Try Penji today 100% risk-free

Thousands of marketers and agencies rely on Penji. See if we’re right for you.
15 days money-back guaranteed. Cancel anytime.

See pricing