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Digital Display Tactics

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Targeting and retargeting

So, once you've defined your campaign idea, your audience persona, and your creative brief, you'll now need to set up a campaign in such a way to reach your ideal audience. This is called targeting. There are two main types of targeting within display campaigns and video campaigns. They are audience and content targeting. The difference is audience targeting serves ads to people while content targeting serves ads on specific websites or types of content.

Audience targeting

A number of targeting options available to us for audience targeting:

  • Interests: We can target people based on what they're interested in.
  • Demographics: We can target people based on their age, their gender, their marital status, their income, different things like that.
  • Location: We can target people based on where they're actually physically located.
  • Remarketing: We can target people who have been on our website before. They're in our email database, they've viewed the content on our YouTube channel, or maybe they've engaged with our app. So, they're highly engaged users and we can get back to those people and target those people.

We also have similar audiences where we're able to target people who haven't been on our website before which are similar traits to people who are on our remarketing list. So, they look like people who have been on our site before, people who have looked at our YouTube channel, people who have used our app before, people who are in our database. ‘Similar audiences’ are what Google called them, and ‘look-alike audiences’ are what Facebook called them. They're a great way to acquire new customers who are similar to past customers. So, it's like acquisition with all of the information from your pre-existing customers. Very powerful tool.

Content targeting

Within content targeting, we have a number of options:

  • Topic targeting: Essentially, the websites declare themselves to be a certain type of website, like a travel site or an education site, so we can just target all of those sites within a certain category.
  • Keyword targeting: We can target specific web pages that contain keywords related to our campaign. For example, if you're a travel company and you have the keyword "holiday in Spain", your ad will appear on any news sites or beside articles or blogs that contain the keyword "holiday in Spain”. The idea is that anyone who reads this article might be interested in your travel ad.
  • URL targeting: So, if we think that a certain website would be a good place to show our ad, we can do this and target that specific website because we want to target their visitors and their audience.

Most campaigns now will have a mix of audience and content targeting where digital marketers can compare and determine which drives better performance. Is it my content targeting or is it my audience targeting?

However, for extra specificity, it's also possible to double up. We can actually add content targeting to audience targeting so we can target audiences, people who are on specific types of content. It's really specific.

But the downside of this is it really reduces the reach, because we have to target those people that follow those two criteria. That makes it a little bit less impactful if you have a mass awareness-driving campaign.

Advanced features

Let's deep dive into remarketing here, specifically for e-commerce. So, when we have an e-commerce site, we can serve ads to people who have just viewed a particular product on your website and dynamically insert that product into the ad that they've just viewed. So they're able to see what they've just viewed on your website in an ad to encourage them to purchase. Products are inserted dynamically into ads using what's called an XML product feed and this is delivered from your website from your e-commerce store. It's a URL feed that your website developer can set up in your e-commerce store to link your product and inventory to search engines and different engines like Google to AdRoll to Cratio. And this type of display advertising was once known as liquid advertising, but more commonly these days it's known as dynamic remarketing.

So, there are many channels to choose from as part of your digital strategy, each with its own specialty relating to the funnel, from awareness to consideration to conversion and retention.

As a digital strategist, it's our job to begin our channel choice with our objective in mind. It's always with our objective in mind. From there, we can choose a selection of the most effective digital channels which work together to deliver on our goals within our timeframe, our budget, and our resource limits.

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Cathal Melinn

Cathal Melinn is a well-known digital marketing director, commercial analyst, and ecommerce specialist with over 15 years’ experience.

Cathal is a respected international conference speaker, course lecturer, and digital trainer. He specialises in driving complete understanding from students across a number of digital marketing disciplines including: paid and organic search (PPC and SEO), analytics, strategy and planning, social media, reporting, and optimisition.  Cathal works with digital professionals in over 80 countries and teaches at all levels of experience from beginner to advanced.

Alongside his training and course work, Cathal runs his own digital marketing agency and is considered an analytics and revenue generating guru - at enterprise level. He has extensive local and international experience working with top B2B and B2C brands across multiple industries.

Over his career, Cathal has worked client-Side, in digital marketing agencies and media owners with brands including HSBC, Amazon, Apple, Red Bull, Dell, Vodafone, Compare the Market, Aer Lingus, and Expedia.

He can be reached on LinkedIn here.

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

You will not be assessed on this content in your final exam.


    Digital Channels
    Cathal Melinn
    Skills Expert

    This module opens with a comprehensive overview of channel planning including the challenges this presents to marketers. It covers inbound and outbound strategies, cross media planning, the digital channel mix, and mobile marketing. Next, the module dives deeper into key topics related to each of the channels, covering social media marketing and content marketing strategy, search engine marketing, SEO, conversion rate optimization, and paid search, email and affiliate marketing, and display and video advertising, including ad formats and creative.