Hypertargeting 101: What it is and What it Can do for Your Brand

In recent news, the popular music streaming service, Spotify, began delivering personalized ads to its listeners. This isn’t a new thing. We’ve seen it from the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Pandora and others. But, why would Spotify make such a move and how will it ensure that its content is reaching the right audience? Ah yes, the perfect excuse to dive into one of our favorite topics around the office – not just targeting – hypertargeting.

Hypertargeting is exactly what it sounds like: the process advertisers use to target highly specific consumer profiles in crowded media channels. In other words ensuring that if you’re a person who likes flashy new technology, you’ll see advertisements for flashy tech products that are relevant to you. If you’re a coffee lover looking for a new favorite shop in town, you’ll find it.

Advertisers are able to create audience segments for their advertisements, because consumers provide data about themselves—anything from age and location to favorite bands and shopping habits. If they’re doing it right, brands develop creative strategies to address specific segments using this information, reducing the number of irrelevant ads consumers see.

In Spotify’s case, curated playlists give advertisers options for reaching specific groups such as college students, country music fans and people on their workouts. Users listening to an “Intense Studying” playlist, for instance, might receive ads for a textbook vendor. Start your day with the “Acoustic Morning” playlist, and you may hear a Starbucks spot. The ads you can deliver to an individual will depend on what information is available about consumers.

As you might imagine, hypertargeting offers a lot of benefits to brands—especially smaller brands with fewer marketing resources. This is because a highly targeted advertising reaches a smaller group of people. This doesn’t mean, however, that the advertisements are any less valuable. Reaching a small group of the right people is often better than mass marketing campaigns. More and more platforms are offering hypertargeting options, which is why, on Facebook, you can see an ad for a local retailer alongside an ad for Amazon, or why Twitter mysteriously knows you’ve been considering taking guitar lessons.

The beauty of hypertargeting is that you can combine the obvious facts (region, age, gender, financial status) with the more intangible aspects of a person’s lifestyle (hobbies, relationships, religious beliefs, time spent looking at a phone). Think of the possible audiences you can segment in this way:

  • Wine lovers;
  • Small business owners in major cities;
  • Night owls;
  • Dog owners;
  • Retirees;
  • Retirees who like hiking;
  • People aged 20–35 who live in Portland;
  • People aged 20–35 who live in Portland and have written more than three Yelp reviews in the past month.

All of these groups may see the same billboard, but hypertargeted ads can speak to each one’s particular profile.

The benefits of hypertargeting go beyond delivering advertisements to the right audience and saving on budget. Often times, hypertargeting can help with audience research. Looking into one consumer data point often leads to correlations, serving as something of a brainstorm. Imagine segmenting one audience only to discover four new ones – potential buyers – you never knew existed. Once unearthed, you can use this information outside of digital platforms in media such as radio and outdoor advertising, or in mobile campaigns. Efficient audience research? Yes, please!

Perhaps best of all, hypertargeting can lead to partnerships, sponsorships, and other co-branding opportunities, as you’ll find out later in this series when we break down a real-world, Grady Britton-developed campaign in which hypertargeting played a central role.

We’ll be circling back soon for part 2, where we’ll look at hypertargeting in action, and offer considerations for advertising on that other hugely popular music streaming service: Pandora!

Post Date
December 15, 2014
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