In the competitive world of online audience targeting, setting your online targeting strategy apart from the competition with even the slightest data advantage can make all the difference.
Traditional database marketing invented the audience targeting approach by using multiple data sources to deliver on the promise of reaching the right audience, informing the right message and
ensuring right-time delivery. In the online world, most rely on an audience targeting approach that involves the clustering of cookies into "cookie pools" based on like online browsing
behavior. These profiles are based on tracking audiences across the web sites they visit.
A rich, but arguably untapped data source for online audience targeting is geographic data, which can be used to develop geo-profiles. Geo-profiling is the ability to use third-party data (i.e. demographics, etc.) to append to your cookie-pools by geography.
Though there are data providers who offer cookie-level third-party data, I would argue that the match rates are low (~15%) and PII issues are a sure road-block. Geo-profiling relies often on offline datasets (e.g. census, registration, subscription, DMV, credit bureau, etc.) and sometimes online sources as well to pool audiences and develop unique profile clusters by a geographic layer.
It is true that some "cookie-pools" have a geo-indentifier attached. There are multiple layers of geo-indentifiers (i.e. region, city, zip code, etc.), the more granular you can go, the richer the profiles you can create. Adding a geo-identifier to your cookie-pool provides a unique opportunity to enhance your audience profile. If you are able to geo-profile by zipcode (or even MSA) data you stand to benefit in two ways:
1. Profile enrichment. Augment your existing audience profiles through the use of third-party/offline providers to append demographic, lifestage, and other valuable information about your audience, by geo-identifier.
Geo-relevance. Better understand your audience in the context of their physical life (demographic profiling, e.g. cars in home, kids in home, etc).
You will get the best results by combining both the cookie-pool and geo-profiling approaches. Enrich your audience profiles with complementary data and develop better targeting plans by knowing the surrounding demographics of your audience. You can maintain your specific nuggets within your tracked cookie-pool, yet be validated that your audience is who you think they are.
Follow this simple process to ensure your geo-profile append is a smooth one:
Executing a Geo-Profiling Campaign
Geo-targeted ads work to make regional or national brands look local, helping to attract more targeted traffic to your site or store and improve performance of your key metrics. There are several ways to incorporate a location into ads, but these can be very labor-intensive. Usually, for each area that you want to target, you have to create a new mini-campaign. You could have hundreds of campaigns then, which would quickly become unmanageable. Leverage tools and platforms to help mitigate these headaches. Finally, make sure you distinguish between targeting people who are currently in a location vs. people searching for a location (physical location vs intent).