Ad Tactics to Ensure You’re Speaking the Same Language as Your Target Audience

Struggling in the lead-gen department? Having to hunt down prospective customers? We’ve got the solution: the ultimate guide to target marketing, so your ad strategy can do the work for you.

Picture this—you’ve just touched down in Paris, France; la ville de l'amour, or the city of love. 

You’re surrounded by a rich culture and only a metro ride away from Renaissance art, architecture, and music. You’re more than eager to begin exploring all the city has to offer.

Your hopeful heart leads you through the timeless boutiques, restaurants, and museums of one of the most iconic metropolitan cities in the world. Out of the corner of your eye, you spot a small coffee shop—so modest you almost missed it.

You push open the café’s heavy wooden door, and, with the pure chime of a small bell, warm air hits your face, sending a light fog across the glasses sitting atop your nose. After a few hurried breaths, you work your way up to the counter and start to order, but begin to notice something strange.

Your attempts to request even a simple cup of coffee are met with confused glares and shrugs. After the third barista turns you away, you decide to save yourself a few euros and leave.

But as you aggressively scroll through your apps in search of Google Translate, frustrated that despite your dedicated Duolingo lessons you might need it after all, you come to a startling realization—your course was set to Italian and you have absolutely no clue how to communicate with the bustling world around you. 

And to make matters worse, you’ve just thoroughly annoyed every barista in a quaint French café and probably missed out on the best latte you would have ever had. 

Similar to speaking Italian in France, businesses marketing themselves to prospective customers without understanding their audiences are missing out on rich advertising opportunities. But speaking the same language as your target consumer isn’t always as simple as it sounds (especially if you’re Duolingo-challenged).

Ad targeting is the most straightforward and effective way for businesses to communicate with their customers. It’s sort of like marketing Rosetta Stone. 

So, if you catch yourself in the marketing città dell'amore instead of ville de l'amour, listen up, because Marketwake paid media expert, Leigh Glover, is about to give you a lesson in French (kind of). 

What is Targeting?

Target marketing is a technique used by businesses to break the population into smaller segments of potential customers who might enjoy their product.


Targeting is made possible by distinguishing target audiences (the specific consumers who align with your product) based on different demographic information.

According to one of Marketwake’s paid media managers, Leigh Glover, the first thing to ask yourself when it comes to effective targeting is, “who is the person that’s buying your product?” 

Once you have an idea of who your customer is based on research and insights, you have to think outside the box on how to capture audiences inside, and sometimes even outside, that target.

Your target audience should be made up of individuals who seek the solution or product you offer, whether they’re aware of it or not. These are the customers for whom your product is made, and defining that audience allows you to advertise to them as effectively as possible. 

Once you identify who these individuals are, how exactly can you tailor your advertising strategy to reach your target market?

Dig into Demographics

Demographics are statistical data that separate the population into groups based on descriptive factors. Demographic information is the best way to gain a basic understanding of the customers who might align with your brand or even those who have already purchased from you.

Surface-level demographic information can provide insight into your potential customer base, but in order to gain a thorough understanding of your target market, brands should dig even deeper—which is where psychographics come into play. 

Psychographics studies individuals’ personalities, including interests, values, opinions, and behaviors, and combines that information with demographic data to build more complete consumer profiles for businesses. 

It’s a no-brainer; through comprehensive customer profiling, businesses can build more intentional connections between their brand and their target market.

Get Into The Data

“The best form of targeting in my opinion is first-party data,” says Leigh.

Privacy policy updates by companies like Facebook, Google, and Apple, are limiting the amount of website data available to advertising agencies, making it harder to successfully target broad audiences online successfully.

To combat these policy changes, Leigh emphasizes the need for a backup plan, “First-party email… is definitely something that we’ve leaned into a lot, and we’ll continue to lean into it as these privacy policies become stricter.” 

“If people have signed up for a newsletter, ebook, or resource, or get access to a webinar or video, utilizing emails obtained from that is really helpful to build up a base of customer data.”

Collecting first-party data, like email, early on in the advertising process provides businesses with a selection of qualified leads they can use to further define their target audiences, create look-alike customers, and develop their ad strategies.

“After collection, we focus on refining that list to make sure our core list for our look-alikes [other potential customers who look and act like your target audience] is still high quality,” says Leigh.

Interact With Your Audience 

Let’s pivot from paid to organic advertising options for just a moment. 

In the age of social media, it's more important than ever to build connections with your brand’s followers, and organic audience interaction can be a great way to drive prospective customers deeper into your brand. “Organic is more like, ‘who are we?’” says Leigh, “Whereas ads are focused more on ‘why do you need us?’”

Although organic and paid media differ in method, they work well as a joint effort to complement one another.

“Organic is going to be interacting with people who already follow your brand and liked your page, but it’s also a really good play for when we are driving ads.”

That interaction can take the shape of things like commenting on community posts and even sharing relevant, user-generated content on your brand’s social media. In fact, 51% of consumers stated that they would continue to follow a brand if it shared their customer-created content in their marketing.

The benefits of a well-established online community can trickle over into paid media relatively easily. Imagine, a potential customer sees a paid YouTube ad for your brand, fine china for ants. Instead of turning directly to your brand’s website, that customer might be compelled to explore your social media pages to learn more. 

In that case, “[Your brand] would want [your] Facebook page or Instagram page to be fleshed out with relevant posts, because people would want to see,” says Leigh. Also, who doesn’t want an IG feed full of teeny tiny ant plates?

Tapping into existing online communities can also be incredibly beneficial to fleshing out a brand’s identity. Platforms like Facebook and Reddit have groups of potential target audience members that brands can easily access, monitor, and interact with. R/marketing, anyone?

Consumers enjoy seeing brands interacting with their audience in personable and unique formats—I mean, just look at Wendy's Twitter account. Insanity! 

In fact, 78% of consumers want brands to use social media to help foster connections, and when brands commit to creating those relationships, loyalty follows. 

When they felt connected to a brand, 56% of consumers stated they would increase spending, and 76% of those consumers would choose the brand with whom they have a relationship over a competitor creating the perfect segway into paid advertising.

“We have the ability in ads to target people who follow pages or target people who like the posts on pages, so we can use any kind of organic methods and put them in paid.” says Leigh.

So try dipping your (metaphorical) toes into social media. It might just be the push your brand needs.

Integrate Visual Storytelling

In 2019, video content was the number one way that audiences discovered a brand they ended up making a purchase from later. And this statistic comes from a time before the explosion of TikTok and short-form video marketing in 2020.

Today, TikTok boasts an incredible one billion users, and video content has become one of the most effective ways to reach audiences and quickly grow a brand.

For Leigh, the distinction between video and other content is its ability to engage audiences. “Video is really good just because it’s something that stands out in a mainly static feed.” 

Keeping audiences entertained is a great place to start, but video content also offers tons of options for basic lead generation.

“[Leads] can be thrown into our funnel after watching even a small percentage of a video [and]...  remarketed to based on [that interaction],” says Leigh. “Engagement on a video is called a microtransaction. [Video content] requires the smallest amount of attention from the person watching in order to be put into our funnel.”

Video advertising effortlessly tells a story in a way that attracts a wider audience.

“Video is a really good kind of upper, middle, and lower funnel tactic just because of what you’re able to do with it and how you can even reutilize it… it’s probably overall the most optimal ad format.” says Leigh.

Evolve Alongside Your Growing Audience

It is essential to ensure that your ad targeting strategy is dynamic. 

Viewing your business ad strategy and target market as ever-evolving allows your brand to match the pace of the marketing world at large, which enables you to easily optimize your strategy often and ensure that you are focusing on the right audience.

For Leigh, that dynamic mindset looks like targeting multiple audiences with ads to really understand what’s working and for whom. 

“You want to obviously have cohesive targeting, but you [also] want to try and think of ways to split [your target audience] up and exclude them from each other,” says Leigh. “Then you can allow the data to give you insight on what’s working, what audience group is qualifying, and what audience group isn’t qualifying.”

 “As you get feedback on the quality of leads, or who’s converting, you can start to [refine] that interest group more,” says Leigh. 

By remaining flexible and targeting multiple audiences at once, you can allow data from platforms like Facebook to do the hard work for you, so your business can focus on what it does best.


When it comes to advertising strategies, brands have an endless number of options with which to approach consumers. But to reach their target market, companies should prioritize careful audience research.

Because when you’re speaking the same language as your audience, generating leads becomes as simple as ordering a cup of coffee.

And if you’re headed to Paris anytime, be sure your Duolingo account is set to French.

Ciao, or au revoir, or whatever. 🤯

Ty Goode

Copywriting Intern

Struggling in the lead-gen department? Having to hunt down prospective customers? We’ve got the solution: the ultimate guide to target marketing, so your ad strategy can do the work for you.

Struggling in the lead-gen department? Having to hunt down prospective customers? We’ve got the solution: the ultimate guide to target marketing, so your ad strategy can do the work for you.

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