Which Targeting Option Is Best for Achieving Brand Awareness?

Discover which targeting option is best for achieving brand awareness. Learn about interest targeting, lookalike audiences, and geographic targeting.


May 20, 2024

Which targeting option is best for achieving brand awareness

Market competition is intense. Have you seen the bids on Google ads lately? While ad conversion rates decline, the cost per click increases. More market entrants are driving the costs of advertising higher, something that is unlikely to change.

In a perfect world, people who are at least familiar with your brand would click on your ads or website. After all, 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.

Table of Contents

    What marketers know about successful brand awareness campaigns

    Unfortunately, the price of achieving brand awareness is rising. This is unsettling, considering that awareness does not always translate 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.

    In this post, we'll explore which targeting options are best for achieving brand awareness.

    What is brand awareness?

    Brand awareness refers to how familiar a potential customer is with a brand. Awareness gauges 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 are familiar with. This is an example of how brand recognition works to establish trust.

    Brand awareness process (Click to expand)

    Brand awareness targeting options

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

    Affinity audience targeting in Google advertisements

    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 include 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. 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 spending efficient because they come with less risk. You are targeting buyers who are already interested in topics related to your product or service. Companies can also use affinity audiences to create buyer personas for each target market segment.

    Identifying the ideal topics that align with a particular product or service is called affinity targeting. To illustrate, consider a fashion brand aiming to increase its sales through online advertising. Right out of the gate, the brand faces stiff competition. 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 and add a description. Enter at least five interests and URLs that define the target audience.

    Optimize CAAs by following these strategies:

    1. Top Performing Placements: Identify the placements where the ads perform well and 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 will pay for attendance.

    4. User Behavior: Narrow audience segments by behavior. This allows you to target potential buyers deeper into the sales funnel, which increases the probability of converting prospects into customers. 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 web pages that apply to your product or service. As a result, you will have a better chance of reaching specific audiences who may engage with your business.

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

    To illustrate, let’s presume you are promoting eco-friendly cleaning products. 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, marketers can use topics to target audiences. By selecting a topic that aligns with the brand, businesses can reach a wider audience. These topics do not always contain specific keywords. But they are 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 have a direct correlation with home improvement projects. However, the topic is relevant, which makes it 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.

    Brand awareness vs. Brand recognition
    Brand awareness vs. Brand recognition

    Social media ads for brand awareness

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

    Facebook ads

    When creating Facebook ad campaigns, choosing the right goal is crucial. For those looking to increase 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 using attention-grabbing visuals and messaging. 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

    Awareness ads on LinkedIn can help businesses reach a professional audience. Like Facebook, LinkedIn offers an awareness-targeting option.

    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.

    Which targeting option is best for achieving brand awareness on LinkedIn?

    The company size targeting option is the best targeting option for achieving awareness on LinkedIn. This allows you to reach professionals working in companies of a specific size, ensuring that your offers are seen by the right audience.

    Custom audiences

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

    Custom audiences are based on audience personas. These are profiles of the ideal customer, including demographics, behaviors, and buying habits. You can also add customers’ preferences and similar companies 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 companies reach new people beyond their current customer list and fanbase.

    Achieve brand awareness with an audit

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

    An Awareness Audit is an analysis of your current awareness tactics. This will reveal what is working and what isn’t so you can improve results. To learn more, click the button below and schedule a free consultation with a strategist.

    Chris Fulmer PCM-Brand Auditors

    Chris Fulmer, PCM®

    Brand Strategist | Managing Director

    Chris has over 15 years of experience in brand development and marketing. He has designed strategies across various industries, such as technology, B2B services, and healthcare. His expertise includes brand positioning, competitive analysis, content marketing, and web development.

    Click to learn more about Chris

    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 optimize performance.

    • 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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