Which Targeting Option Is Best for Achieving Brand Awareness?

Want to increase brand awareness? Learn more about targeting options, including interest targeting, lookalike audiences, and geographic targeting.

September 25, 2023

Which targeting option is best for achieving brand awareness


There’s a lot of competition out there. Have you seen the bids on Google ads lately? Ad conversion rates are going down, but the cost for each click is going up. More market entrants are driving the costs of advertising higher, something that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

Most companies can’t afford to waste advertising dollars on shoppers who are just looking, who might—maybe—buy something one day. No time for that. You’ve got to make every dollar count.

In a perfect world, only people who are at least familiar with your brand would click on your ads or website. People with some brand recognition are much more likely to buy what you sell.

But it isn’t a perfect world. Thus, brand awareness is becoming more valuable.

Unfortunately, the price of achieving brand awareness is rising, too. This is unsettling, considering that awareness doesn’t always turn into revenue overnight. To keep costs down, companies that plan to invest in awareness should consider the strategy they’re using to reach customers.

A successful brand awareness strategy starts with targeting.

There are several targeting options available for brand awareness campaigns. Demographic targeting, behavioral targeting, and interest targeting are examples. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the best one for your business depends on several factors.

In this post, we’ll explore the different targeting options for brand awareness campaigns. When you’ve finished reading, you’ll know which ones to use and how to apply them to reach new audiences.

What Is Brand Awareness?

Brand awareness refers to how familiar a potential customer is with a brand. It’s how recognizable a business is by its name, logo, slogan, or other visual elements.

Awareness sets the foundation for a successful marketing strategy.

According to Forbes, 75 percent of shoppers are more likely to buy from a brand they’ve heard of or seen before. This is an example of how brand recognition works to establish trust.

A brand awareness strategy consists of various marketing tactics. Social media marketing, SEO, and digital advertising are popular examples.

An efficient awareness strategy begins with targeting.

Brand awareness process
Brand awareness process

Brand Awareness Targeting Options

In this section, we’ll review the most effective targeting options to raise brand awareness.

Affinity Audience Targeting

Affinity Audiences and Custom Affinity Audiences are two powerful targeting options for Google Ads. These options help you reach your audience with ads that align with customers’ interests.

These audience groups consist of potential customers who are already interested in topics related to your brand.

For that reason:

Affinity audiences are usually the best option for achieving brand awareness.

Affinity Audiences

Affinity audiences are a powerful tool provided by the Google Display Network. These audiences are for advertisers who want to get their ad campaigns in front of interested buyers. In essence, an affinity audience is a segmented group of potential customers who share similar interests and qualities. Marketers can deliver these ads across a wide range of online locations. This lets you leverage Google’s vast network that reaches over 90 percent of Internet users worldwide.

Affinity audiences keep ad spends efficient because they come with less risk. You’re targeting buyers with who are already interested in topics related to your product or service. Affinity audiences can also be used to create buyer personas for each target market segment.

Affinity targeting is the process of identifying the ideal topics that align with a particular product or service. To illustrate, consider a fashion brand aiming to increase its sales through online advertising. Right out of the gate, the brand faces stiff competition with numerous other brands selling fashion products. To stand out, the company needs to refine its focus further. So, they could use additional affinity modifiers, such as sustainable manufacturing processes, to appeal to buyers with more nuanced interests.

Custom Affinity Audiences

Custom Affinity Audiences are a narrower version of the Affinity Audience. With Custom Affinity Audiences, you can create an audience using specific keywords that describe your ideal customer. This gives you more control over who sees your advertisements.

You can create custom affinity audiences in the ad group’s audiences tab. Choose a name for each audience. Then, add a description for better organization and clarification. Enter at least five interests and URLs that define the target audience.

To make the most of CAAs, consider these strategies:

1. Top Performing Placements: Identify the placements where the ads perform well. Then, include them in the CAA. Google will analyze these placements and define the audience with the highest engagement.

2. Competitor Targeting: Leverage the CAA to reach the competitor’s audience. Use a competitor’s site as URL targets and include their brand keywords as interests.

3. Event Attendees: Advertise to trade shows, conventions, and conferences. Brand engagement with this group will be higher because they’re willing to pay for attendance.

4. User Behavior: Narrow audience segments by behavior. This allows you to target potential buyers deeper into the sales funnel. As a result, the likelihood of converting prospects into customers increases. This makes all awareness campaigns more cost-effective because you’re targeting qualified segments.

Finally, it’s important to analyze each campaign’s performance. Check the reach and adjust the budget and bids as needed.

Google Display Ads
IMAGE: Google Display Ads (Source: Google)

Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting can be another effective way to reach audiences using brand awareness campaigns. This option lets you display ads on sites, apps, and webpages that apply to your product or service. As a result, you’ll have a better chance of reaching specific audiences who may engage with your brand.

When using contextual targeting, choose keywords or topics related to your brand message. It could also include specific features or benefits you offer.

For example, let’s presume you’re promoting eco-friendly cleaning products. In that case, you could use keywords like sustainable cleaning or natural cleaners. These keywords would help you get featured on websites focused on environmentalism.

Besides keyword targeting, brands can use topics to target audiences. By selecting a topic that aligns with the brand, businesses can reach a wider audience. These topics don’t always contain specific keywords. But they’re close enough to reach new customers.

For example, a brand that sells lawn products could choose a topic such as home improvement. Lawn products may not be directly related to home improvement projects. But the topic is still relevant enough to get the brand in front of a qualified audience.

Demographic Targeting

Demographic targeting is another popular targeting option for maximum brand awareness.

Demographic targeting provides a direct path to your intended audience. This helps you avoid wasting your marketing efforts on prospects outside of your preferred customer demographics. As a result, you can increase the probability of generating conversions and sales while reducing acquisition costs.

Demographic targeting also helps you gain a holistic picture of your ideal audience. You can use demographics to define your audience’s age, location, and other traits. Then you can tailor your marketing messages to resonate with them. This insight can also show you how to develop your marketing funnel and customer journey.

How to Measure Brand Awareness

Unlock the key to success with this guide on how to measure brand awareness. Build an effective strategy and start tracking impressions, reach and more.

Social Media Ads for Brand Awareness

Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn help brands reach a wide audience.

Facebook Ads

When it comes to creating Facebook ad campaigns, choosing the right goal is crucial. For those looking to increase brand awareness, Facebook offers the brand awareness objective. This option aims to serve ads to those who are more likely to pay attention and recall the ad. To use this targeting option, follow these steps:

1. Choose the right ad format. You can use video, carousel, photo, canvas, and slideshow formats for ads. Choose the one that best suits your advertising needs.

2. Follow the ad specs. Depending on the ad format you choose, there are ad specs that you need to follow. For instance, a Facebook photo ad uses an image size of 1,200 x 628 pixels. The text should not exceed 90 characters. Follow the ad specs to optimize your ad for the platform.

3. Optimize your ad creative. To increase ad recall, it’s important to optimize your ad creative. Use attention-grabbing visuals and messaging that resonate with your audience. The longer an individual spends looking at the ad, the easier it will be for them to remember it.

4. Choose the right ad placements. Facebook will display awareness ads on the mobile and desktop newsfeed, right column, and Instagram. When creating your ad, choose the placements that align with your advertising goals.

If you need help, consider reaching out to an advertising professional for guidance.

Facebook awareness ads
IMAGE: Facebook awareness ads

LinkedIn Ads

Brand awareness ads on LinkedIn can help businesses reach an audience of professionals. Like Facebook, LinkedIn offers a brand awareness targeting objective.

When selecting your audience, use LinkedIn’s targeting options. Company name, member schools, job title, and skills are examples. These ensure your ad is meaningful to the audience. A well-targeted ad will help increase engagement and conversions.

Custom Audiences

Custom audiences for social media ads are like the ones for Google ads. They allow brands to personalize their advertisements to specific groups of people.

Custom audiences are based on audience personas. These are profiles of the ideal customer. They include demographics, behaviors, and buying habits. You can also add customers’ preferences and similar brands they may buy from.

Remarketing and lookalike audiences are other targeting options on social media platforms. These can improve social media advertising performance.

Remarketing audiences use proprietary data from your website, email lists, and customer data. This data makes it easier to narrow reach or exclude people who are unlikely to convert.

Lookalike audiences rely on the data from a custom audience that is performing well. This lets brands reach new people beyond their current customer list and fanbase.

Which Targeting Option Is Best for Your Brand?

It’s crucial to choose the right targeting option for brand awareness ads. The success of your campaign depends on reaching the right audience. So, how do you know which one is best for your business?

Start by considering your audience. Who are they? What are their interests and behaviors? Use demographic targeting to get your ads in front of people who fit your ideal customer profile. You can tailor your ads based on age, gender, location, and more.

Next, use interest targeting to reach qualified audiences. For example, social media channels allow you to target users based on their interests.

Consider using lookalike targeting too. You can use your existing customer list to find users with similar characteristics. This enables you to connect with potential customers who are like the ones you have now.

Retargeting may also be a good targeting option for you. If someone has already engaged with your brand, retargeting can help keep your brand top of mind.

Finally, the targeting options you use (and how many) will depend on your budget. Each platform offers its advantages and disadvantages. And the cost of awareness campaigns will vary from one industry to another.

Achieve Brand Awareness with an Awareness Audit

Do you want to assess your current brand awareness strategy? If so, The Brand Auditors can help.

A Brand Awareness Audit is an analysis of your current awareness tactics. This will reveal what’s working and what isn’t so you can improve results. If you would like to know more, click on the button below and schedule a free consultation with a strategist.

Chris Fulmer

Chris Fulmer

Brand Strategist | Managing Director

Chris Fulmer is a professional brand development manager who provides expert insights on brand strategy, media channels, and other essential information required for marketing success. This includes market research, analytics analysis, and digital design best practices.

Are you ready to find out how a brand audit can transform your business?

Our brand audit process is a comprehensive analysis designed to help companies increase ROI and reduce marketing expenses.

  • Increase ROI on lead generation and sales conversions.
  • Reduce marketing expenses.
  • Strengthen brand positioning to become more competitive.

We guarantee satisfaction or get your money back! Schedule a discovery call with a brand auditor to find out more.

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