Ad Targeting and Maximizing ROI: Building Successful Targeted Marketing Campaigns

7 min read
15-Nov-2023 8:00:00 AM

The struggle is real – how do you effectively reach your target audience without spending bucketloads of money? The key to any successful advertising strategy is getting the right message to the right audience at the right time to maximize ROI (return on investment). 

But how do you get there?

The Power of Ad Targeting

Target marketing campaigns serve up ads to your potential customers that mirror specific traits, interests, and shopping habits. It requires using data to segment audiences by the key factors influencing purchasing decisions, such as demographics, past behavior, and other information. This results in ads that are strategically placed to reach a specific audience segment.

The Rise of Data-Driven Marketing

Data has always played a part in advertising. Before computers, with their processing power, information was gathered via surveys, interviews, and focus groups. It involved talking with people. Yesterday’s marketing world was analog, and ad buys included magazines, newspapers, radio, direct mail, and TV advertising. Narrow personalization was impossible, and most marketing campaigns operated with a large dose of hope.

Today’s digital tools mean that more data and more accurate data can be collected and analyzed. Data-driven insights power modern marketing as large amounts of information are analyzed, often using artificial intelligence, to pinpoint patterns and trends and offer insights for informed decision-making. It also offers the means for the hyper-personalization B2B buyers want.

The Masters of Targeted Marketing Campaigns

Successful marketing campaigns have some characteristics in common – they are well-planned, targeted, and delivered using the right channels at the right time. They involve:

  • Clear goals and objectives
  • Precise targeting
  • A clear message
  • A value proposition
  • A multi-channel approach
  • A liberal dose of creativity

Let’s look at some well-known brands that do it right. While these are consumer campaigns, the same rules apply to B2B online targeting.


A 2021 campaign, “Made Possible by Hosts,” used user-generated content and a sentimental soundtrack to capitalize on the emotions of renters, inviting them to make memories by booking “remember that weekend?” stays. The campaign targeted renters and hosts, creating an initiative for Airbnb to boost both property listings and bookings. This company knows its audience and targets them so well that its omnichannel campaign yielded 17 million views.


Research has shown that 70% of women don’t feel represented – don’t see themselves – in most advertising. Dove tapped into that data and targeted women in 2019 with an image collection campaign titled #ShowUS that created the globe’s largest stock photo library, with more than 10,000 photos available on Getty images, curated by women. It’s part of a larger purpose – to raise the self-esteem of young people. The result? A 100% positive brand sentiment.

Target marketing campaigns work, but you must use the right targeting method and channels. 

Targeting Methods

A lot goes into targeting. After developing your buyer personas, it’s important to tailor your marketing mix to the needs of each segment, combining product, promotion, place, and price. Any assumptions (actually throw out assumptions and be objective) must be backed up by data. You can target

  • An audience or industry by serving specific ads to specific leaders.
  • Behavioural targeting means you can select prospects based on their online activity on your site and elsewhere.
  • Retargeting is quite popular and is characterized by ads that follow you online after you’ve viewed a particular product.
  • Cross-device targeting delivers targeted ads across different devices, meaning you can retarget the prospect on their desktop computer after they have visited your site on their mobile device.
  • Contextual targeting means identifying the content your prospect will likely consume and then serving up ads related to those topics. 

Of course, successful targeted marketing campaigns must combine what with where and when. Let’s look at some of the best places, no matter the targeting method, for B2B marketing campaigns.

Where to Focus Your Online Targeting

Choices. You have them. But here are the places we’ve found most effective for targeting marketing campaigns.

Leveraging Meta (aka Facebook) for Ad Targeting

Meta is the largest social networking site, with almost three billion monthly users. Those are a lot of potential eyes on your ads, but you only want those that match your target audience. Fortunately, Meta offers a range of campaign objectives and tools to do just that.

  • By bidding on specific keywords, you can rest assured your ads are only shown to Meta users who are interested in your product or service. 
  • You can target specifically by providing strict parameters.
  • You can broaden your strict targeting by allowing Meta’s system to expand your audience where it is seeing better performance.

When it comes to cost, if managed properly, you can realize a cheaper cost per click (CPC). Because Meta’s model charges advertisers based on the number of impressions per thousand, advertising there can be much less expensive than other channels. The key is to create the right ads, manage how often your audience sees them, do A/B testing, and ensure your landing pages are optimized.

And while you might think Facebook is just for exchanging social pleasantries, Meta can work as an engine for growth for B2B companies. 

Take Buffer, for example. They ran a campaign from 2016 to 2018, experimenting with different formats as they went, from static posts to videos. By 2018, the company had tripled its weekly reach and doubled its daily engagements. They did this by scheduling interesting posts that spoke directly to their customers. 

Using LinkedIn, the Business Social Network

You might already use LinkedIn for professional networking, and if you don’t, you should. Networking builds your professional reputation and reveals new business opportunities as well as valuable resources. It’s also a great place to run a successful B2B ad campaign

LinkedIn offers various targeting options that include company targeting, contact targeting, and retargeting. Their precise targeting is based on job title, company name, industry, and professional and personal interests. You also can target people you know by website, contact, or account. 

The platform also offers the LinkedIn Audience Network to reach professionals who are active within the network and get a better ROI by spreading your message on the feed and within the network. 

A good example of a successful LinkedIn ad is from HubSpot, which, by running simple text ads, got a 60% boost in click-through rate.

And, of course, there’s Google

Google ads are ubiquitous and the leader in search engine marketing. Google ads is a PPC (pay-per-click) solution. You bid on keywords to get a chance to have your ad show in search results. You pay when someone clicks on your ad and visits your website or gives you a call. 

Set up properly, Google ads are great for lead generation because they focus on those who are searching for something your business offers. 

The importance of keyword targeting

Keyword targeting means using keywords that are relevant to your product or service offerings. When a user types in that keyword, your ad could be shown. You must choose high-quality keywords to help you reach the customers you want and when. It’s important to select keywords that directly relate to the theme of your ad.

Choosing specific keywords means your ad only appears when a potential customer uses one of those keywords as a search term. However, keywords that are too specific may limit your reach. For example, if you sell productivity software, you’ll want to use those words as keywords. If you target a specific industry, include that as a keyword as well. 

To optimize your ROI for Google ads:

  • Optimize your bids via target-focused strategies, including cost-per-acquisition and return-on-ad-spend, automated bidding that changes your bids as necessary. 
  • Make sure your website is optimized. There’s no sense in sending people to a website that’s out-of-date, not mobile responsive, or difficult to navigate. You’ll pay for clicks even if a visitor immediately leaves. 
  • Use quality scoring. You can use the Google Keyword Planner Tool or another research tool to find the best quality keywords.
  • Automate high-performing ads.
  • Incorporate targeted seasonal advertising and control bids manually.

Targeting Marketing is Impossible Without Data Analytics

A complete view of your target audience is essential to any marketing effort, enabling marketers to understand preferences and behaviour, leverage predictive modeling, and exploit real-time opportunities. It strengthens current relationships and provides the basis for solid new ones. It helps efficiently allocate resources. It’s about identifying strategies that work and those that do not.

Leveraging data-driven insights to identify target audiences and develop marketing campaigns powers the personalized experiences that drive leads and increase conversions. Data provides a clear understanding of customer behaviour and preferences that mark a successful online marketing campaign. 

Measuring ROI

You’ve done your research, you have great keywords, and your ads are on point. So, how do you know if your targeted marketing campaign is successful from a financial POV? It’s time to calculate ROI, by taking the value of your investment, subtracting its cost, and then dividing by the cost of the investment.

Simply put, you take the change in revenue after your marketing campaign is deployed, subtract how much you’ve spent, and then divide it by that cost. Three tactics that can be used to measure ROI include

  • Using a link with a question mark at the end. This is an Urchin Tracking Module link and helps track your online target marketing campaigns in Google Analytics.
  • Digital tracking pixels can be set up to track where your traffic is coming from so you can target those users later as part of your retargeting strategy. 
  • Use CRM software, such as HubSpot, to track leads generated by your campaign.

targeted marketing campaigns

Understanding Your Target Market Makes All the Difference

Untargeted advertising has a lousy ROI. A stellar ROI comes from deeply knowing your target audience through the use of data to focus your marketing efforts toward the right people with the right message at the right time. You’ll save time, money, and resources, and acquire new customers and revenue in the process.

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