Un-Traditional Targeting

How seemingly unrelated
digital queues can be used to
increase sales.

Tried and true strategies born from traditional media have proven results demonstrated over decades. Golf club ads placed next US Open or the Masters Tournament articles make sense, as do auto ads around car content. It’s a tactic that works well in digital advertising too. Just look up some golf or car content online and you’ll see the tactic in action as you are bombarded with related ads. But digital advertising offers deeper insights, and behind the scenes data that help companies find new customers beyond just having relevant ads next to content we assume your customers are reading. There are ways to target audiences by their traits rather than what web page they are on right now.

We recently experienced this phenomenon firsthand with one of our clients. It involved a reverse engineered, highly converting audience – one previously invisible to both our agency and the client – that was revealed to us through non-traditional: App Load Targeting.

For businesses today, digital marketing offers both an opportunity and a paradox. You can target anyone, but due to costs, you can’t target everyone. So how does a company take advantage of a digital campaign to reach the most relevant audiences that are your best customers? To do that, you need to be able to know something about who your customers are and where they are on the internet.

App Load Targeting is just as it sounds; it detects the apps that exist on a user’s mobile device and uses other metrics like location, demographics, usage and search history to determine if your ad should be sent to this user. So, when people look at content related to your business, you could try to reach everyone (which could have prohibitive costs) or you could target users who have relevant apps on their mobile devices that indicate they are more likely to buy your product. Drawing a line between a list of programs on a customer’s mobile and the checkout cart on your ecommerce page takes research and data. App Load Targeting helps narrow that audience for you.

Here are some examples to consider:

Daily users Strava, Cycle-Meter and Zwift apps are some of the most serious road bikers around. Prime audiences for businesses that sell bicycle equipment and electronics.

Have a physio practice that treats performance athletes? Beyond the Whiteboard, WOD Roulette or Chronic Timer users will give you a pool of CrossFit fanatics in your area. Prime audiences for your practice to be in front of.

These are straightforward connections, and you can easily see why they would be effective. But the discovery we made was not as obvious a connection as the samples above and yet it delivered one of the largest audience segments for our client.

We represent a High-End Pet Food company, they use human grade seafood to make premium products for pets that are environmentally conscious, sustainable and support Canadian fishers throughout the North. They occupy the upper end of the pricing range, costing more than triple the grocery store brands and delivery is not included in their e-commerce price. So, what apps did we match up with them to boost their sales?

Chewy, Puppr and Dog Scanner are the most popular apps for dog owners.

Crazy Cat, Pet First Aid and Snap-Cat cover those with feline fur babies.

But none of those apps were associated with large groups of high-end pet food buyers.

After deep research, we were able to find the group that would deliver the spike in sales we were looking for, a group that didn’t exist just 6 years ago. We matched high end sustainable pet food buyers and… electric car owners.

Digital advertising is a 2-way information platform. We can apply data, like the first two examples, based on previous results and marketing experience, but we can also look at the audiences that are buying right now and examine them for traits we can duplicate. In this case we learned that those who owned an electric vehicle were almost 3 times as likely to buy this line of pet food than other groups.

By establishing our audience of pet owners, then narrowing them down by past purchase history and likelihood to buy a premium product, those with apps such as ChargePoint, FLO, Sun Country, Tesla etc., were buying this product much more than those who still fit the profile but did not have an electric car.

Our brand of pet food sells on its premium product positioning, its sustainability, and the fact that it is human grade seafood that can be traced back to the individual fisher that caught it. In hindsight, we can see how there is a relationship between the product we want to sell (pet food) and the group that this audience belongs (higher than average income, green conscious, pet lovers). Electric cars tend to be much more expensive than similar internal combustion engine cars, appeal to those with environmental concerns, and if through other means we can discover they have a pet, then we have found our prime audience.

What was the result? Online sales more than doubled and the average order size also increased significantly, ecommerce went from being a footnote to the company, to being one of their most important profit centres all in the space of a year. We exclusively ran a digital campaign for this client, with no print or traditional media support making the jump in revenue closely tied to the digital campaign and the data we were using.

There are several factors at play here: The environmental messaging of the campaign; the implied health benefits for pets justifying a premium price point; and the matching of a sustainability feature central to the product. All factors that fell in line with this apparent match with electric vehicle ownership. Simple as that. We kept our base targeting and applied filters to focus on those with these tell-tale apps:

In digital advertising, we can fish where the fish are by placing ads around content we “think” your best customers will be consuming. With new technology, we can now identify your best customers, find a common trait among them and use it catch them wherever they are on the internet. It’s all made possible, through non-traditional targeting. Focusing on device app loads is just one of the tools available, if you’d like to see what else non-traditional targeting can offer you and your business, we are happy to help.