Ask any marketer about the effectiveness of a campaign -- be it through traditional channels such as print or television or next generation digital channels such as Web advertising or social networks -- and they will tell you that the principles guiding demographic targeting have gone virtually unchanged.
Even with the advent of new channels like Facebook and Twitter, where targeting has evolved from analyzing pure demographic categories (i.e., gender and age) to more nuanced categories such as habits of soccer moms or tweens that may span several of the more "traditional demographic" categories, marketers have been able to apply a fairly definitive set of targeting principles to reach customers and prospects effectively.
All of these "rules," however, are dramatically altered with mobile marketing and advertising. According to Strategy Analytics, global expenditure on mobile advertising will grow to $38 billion by 2015. And recent studies have found 53% of mobile users would share their location to receive more relevant ads, indicating a new breed of consumer who not only passively accepts mobile marketing but one that is willing to opt-into it to engage with brands directly. Given this climate, marketers have had to adapt their strategies; one way is turning to a type of demographic targeting -- device demographics -- as a way not only to identify target customers but to determine how they will deliver content to them.
Device Demographics Defined
Device demographics is defined as target marketing based not on any pre-determined group a consumer fits into (i.e. race or gender), but rather what mobile device they use and how they interact with content on that device. We've already seen the beginnings of device demographics in advertising with targeting through location-based apps, opt-in mobile messaging marketing and mobile advertisements on mobile sites and applications.
Now, marketers and advertisers are taking device demographics to new levels by directly targeting advertising based on the type of handheld a consumer uses. Knowing device type enables advertisers to target the type of content they send and helps them determine what format that content should be delivered in for the best viewing experience.
For example, let's say a major video gaming company is launching a new fantasy sports game, geared to single males ages 18-35. Using traditional demographic targeting, the company can develop a relatively accurate picture of the stores and online merchants where the new game will sell successfully. As a part of the rollout, however, the fantasy sports game will also be offered as a mobile app; therefore, marketing to consumers directly on their handsets is a critical component. Using device demographics, marketers can target specific subset audiences within the mobile channel (i.e., Android device users or iPhone users).
In this case, the fantasy app requires high-resolution, digital video to view and therefore the gaming company will want to focus in large part on Android, iPhone and iPad users who are able to access the app on larger, high-resolution screens. Device demographics can help marketing teams develop a mobile strategy geared not just to a broad, undefined mobile user base, but for a specific set of users on a particular set of devices.
An End to Predictive Targeting?
Device demographics is completely based on categorizing consumers in groups that they choose rather than categories out of a consumer's control. Traditional targeting, while intended to deliver more relevant advertising, was always built on assumptions. For example, a consumer in the 18-24 demo should respond to a particular ad because of their age, but that analysis is solely based on predictive marketing. Using device demographics, marketers are able to take predictive targeting to a new level.
Understanding the consumer profile of an iPad user versus a BlackBerry user gives a brand an even deeper level of insight and the ability to deliver pre-formatted content, helping to ensure an optimal viewing experience.
In order for brands to truly capitalize on device demographics, the key is to being open to reevaluating their mobile content delivery strategy. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work and undoubtedly marketers will have to make technology changes that redefine how they create campaigns, as well as how those campaigns are disseminated to consumers.