It’s the frosty time of year when hot takes start flying. What new goodies will 2019 will bring for marketers? On this end, I am resolved to ditch high cost leads on Search (to the best of my ability) and discontinue spending budgets on “good enough” social ad audiences. Personally, I have already declared 2019 the year Account Based Marketing (ABM) by way of crafting several ambitious new client plans. This pairs well with more audience options than ever before, now offered across multiple ad channels. So, as you ready yourself to seal the deal on your 2019 planning season, here is a laundry list of audience targeting to check off on your next campaign testing plans or “we must try this new test” wish lists:
Fresh-Picked Social Audiences on Bing and Facebook
LinkedIn profile targeting is now available as a beta in Bing Ads, which opens up whole new worlds of targeting not just by keyword but by 26 job functions, 80,000 companies, and 145 industries self-identified by LinkedIn profiles.
Facebook also has a new B2B focused beta, allowing advertisers to target by the business size in which their employees work. We are currently running some limited tests under this new targeting layer. One thing to consider when testing is that the company size layer will decrease your audience size considerably, which makes it a poor option for Lookalike audiences that rely on a rich amount of data to feed the Facebook algorithm. But it may be another sign that Facebook is trying to win back B2B advertisers who were burned by the removal of third-party data earlier this year.
New Formats for Visual Audiences on Facebook Ads
If you aren’t yet testing Instagram or Story ads, 2019 is the year to start. Audiences are getting more visual and even the slightest movement catches the eye far more effectively compared to static image ads. Check out the inspiration section of the Facebook Creative Hub and then dive in and start creating videos from your static images. Facebook offers several key ways to animate assets you already have into video, including:
- The Video Creation Kit uses images, text and logo overlays for mobile friendly ads no matter where you put them (Instagram, Messenger, and the Facebook Audience Network.) You can create slideshows of existing marketing images and more for quick, eye-catching creative that doesn’t break the bank.
- The Video Effects Tool, which includes an “Animate this Post” option for smaller advertisers who want to get in on the more visual ad game.
Search Audience Layering on Google Ads
I’ve been working with Google Ads since 2012 and historically is has been super uncool (and frankly seen as a waste of money) to target with Google’s In-Market of Affinity Audiences. But dudes, it’s almost 2019. We need to get over this phobia of Google audience targeting and break out audiences beyond timid demographic bid adjustments.
As a matter of fact, when was the last time you delved deep into Google’s audience targeting options? The segmentation has become ultra specific. With Affinity Audiences (meant to be used for reach goals) you can target not just travelers, but certain types of travelers, those users who are visiting specific locations with specific needs:
And if you aren’t satisfied with the limited Affinity Audience options, you can build your own Affinity Audiences with custom keywords and URLs. My personal favorite is creating audiences using competitor keywords and URLs, which tend to produce higher quality leads with a much lighter price tag compared to regular competitive search keyword targeting. Google Display Network is a worthy option with lower CPLs and less CPC sticker shock compared to search. In testing this option, be aware of your performance on placements, keep your negative placement lists honed in, and continuously identify negative keyword additions.
And with In-Market Audiences (meant to be used for ROI goals) you can target not just general business technology, but are given a growing smorgasbord of juicy SaaS options. Marketing pros are extolling the virtue of this audience type, and In-Market audiences are now available for search targeting, so start building those tests!
For B2B marketers: Quora is a perfect medium if you’re looking for highly engaged, search-driven forum users seeking the answers to technical questions. It’s a more advertiser friendly (and less drama-filled) platform compared to the alternative of Reddit, and has proven to be a good investment for marketers who are looking for a brand friendly advertising option. User intent is high and Quora now provides CPM bidding as well as a new attribution partnership so you can track your ad effectiveness with more clarity than ever before.
For Ecommerce marketers: Pinterest is the perfect platform for highly visual shoppers with specific interests. And 2019 has gotten better with the rollout of promoted carousel ads on Pinterest as of November 1. Also, in October Pinterest rolled out even more improved tools including those that can define audience sizes even better for your forecasting needs and a streamlined ad creation process.
For Video: In October, YouTube revealed new extensions for ads to spark engagement beyond a view, as well as brand lift metrics for those advertisers struggling to prove the worth of brand awareness efforts. YouTube continues to improve the click-through experience from the in-stream ads to your landing page (a disconnect that may have steered conversion-focused advertisers away from the platform in the past.)
Be sure to look beyond your current strategies to reach new audiences in 2019. In marketing, it’s so easy to color within the lines and keep testing what’s working now, but all brands can benefit from keeping up with the times and testing out fresh approaches to targeting by specific audiences.