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How Social Media Enhances Online Target Marketing

August 6th, 2012
Social networks offer brands more than just an avenue to increased consumer engagement, they augment online target marketing through hyper-targeting features. That is, social media is giving brands the ability to focus on highly specific customer groups via more advanced segmentation options. Through enhanced online tracking and new options available from social networks like Facebook, social media is helping brands create perfectly tailored advertising messages and promotions. Here are some of the ways social networks are doing so:

Facebook. While Facebook previously allowed brands to target online users based on location and language, it recently launched a new feature enabling brands to target users by gender, education, workplace, interests and even relationship status. According to Matt Wurst of the interactive agency 360i, this 'enhanced post targeting' gives brands "the ability to boost social engagement by crafting more detailed and sophisticated content calendars that are tailored to the nuances of their brand’s audience."

Foursquare. Last month, Foursquare introduced its 'Local Updates' tool as a new way for brands to personalize and hyper-target their customers. While the location-based app already helps brands reward customers for check-ins, the new feature allows companies to message specific users and reach those who frequently check in, thereby allowing for a more personalized and targeted marketing strategy, since these are the users who are most likely to be interested in the brand's promotions and messages.

Google. Along with targeting by location and language, brands using Google AdWords can also target consumers based on their interests, which is done by looking at a person's online browsing activity and behavior. Rolled out in 2011, this feature analyzes the types of sites and pages online users visit and how frequently they visit them to associate the users with certain interest categories.

Twitter. Twitter's Promoted Tweets were previously based on sponsored search results, providing brands with the ability to target users with ads that were contextually relevant to their searches. However, the social media site has just launched an enhancement to Promoted Tweets that allows brands to send promotional tweets to specific Twitter users, rather than the brand's entire following. Called 'targeted tweets,' the enhancement allows marketers to segment these groups based on their location, search and the devices and platforms they are using to access Twitter.

Niche Networks. Most brands only think of the major social networks when it comes to devising their social media strategy, but online target marketing can be effectively enhanced through the use of niche networking sites that allow you to hone your message. Sites like Everloop, a social network for kids 13 years old and under, Microsoft's Socl, a social network for students, or the runner's social network, provide opportunities for marketers hoping to capture the attention of a targeted audience.

Unless you brand is trying to be all things to all people, online target marketing can be greatly improved through the use of social media, especially through some of the latest add-ons social networks have created for brands. Find out more about the changing world of online marketing and social media strategy by downloading Trend Hunter's Social Media Trend Report.