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ProfitLayer


Jun 12, 2019

“We talk so much about targeting what you want. But you need to go a little further and add a layer of  what you don’t want or doesn’t make sense.”

Timothy Dick (11:51-12:10)

Exclusion and negative targeting are strategies that business owners often overlook when trying to grow and scale. But they can influence the results you achieve on any online ad platform you’re using to get the highest return on your ad spending.

It takes time to figure out who you want to target with their messages with any advertising network or campaign. Targeting lets you determine who will see your ad and where you want them to appear. Common strategies include the use of customer lists and lookalike audiences.


“You don’t want video ads showing up in gaming apps. You’re interrupting someone, and the odds of them looking at your offer is very low.” - Timothy Dick (3:23-3:51)

Traditional targeting strategies can give businesses the results they need. But marketers may find that the costs of their ad campaigns are still too high. Exclusions and negative targeting can help trim the fat off your ad spending. Best of all, these features exist on almost all of the major ad networks available today.

Facebook lookalike campaigns let you create groups that are similar to an existing group you’ve marketed to in the past. But you can use this same feature to create a group of non-buyers that you negatively target. This essentially tells Facebook, “Don’t show my ads to this group.”

Being more specific in your targeting can allow you to exclude certain users based on factors such as:

  • Apps
  • Category
  • Age group
  • Genres
  • Desktop vs. Mobile Devices
  • Wi-Fi vs. Cellular Connection

Ads that appear in gaming apps interrupt players, making it less likely that they’ll stop to look at your offer. For brick and mortar businesses, displaying ads in locations that aren’t relative to their target audience results in advertising to a larger audience than they can serve.

Combine Targeting With Negative Targeting and Exclusion

The best approach to combining both targeting and negative targeting is to target people in your area while also adding a negative targeting function that excludes users in other locations. Negative targeting prevents a user who lives in your target area from seeing your ad if they’re somewhere else. It doesn’t make sense for them to see your ad when they’re not in the location where they can take action.  


Excluding the opposite of the audience you want enhances your targeting results.” - Timothy Dick (8:17-8:24)

Most of the ad networks can display your ad in as many places that meet the criteria you’ve given them. But many default to including your ad in campaigns that reach people outside of those you want to target. It’s up to marketers to understand when those defaults are in place so they can disable them.

Context Matters in Online Advertising and Targeting

Online users are in different states of mind depending on the platform they’re on. Instagram and Facebook users may be standing in line somewhere scrolling through their feeds. Someone searching on Google may be actively looking for a product or service like yours, so they’re more likely to learn about your offer.

Exclusion and negative targeting work best when you understand the context of the ad networks you choose and identify who you want to see your ads and who you should leave out.

When you optimize your advertising and exclude specific targets, you prevent unnecessary wasting of limited advertising dollars. Negative targeting and exclusion strategies trim the fat off your marketing campaigns. Your marketing becomes more efficient, cost-effective, and reliable, leading to consistent results that grow your business.  


How to get involved
If you would like more information about Timothy Dick, and the success businesses have gained through work with him, please visit his website.

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