Is your marketing agency renting your audience?

Is your marketing agency renting your target audience

Are you renting your audience online?  The thought process is that you keep having to feed the ad platforms, search engines, and social media platforms time and money in order to get in front of your audience.  What we will discuss today is do you need to do that and if there are alternative ways.

So do we need to rent your audience? We will get right to the point, You are almost always renting your audience whether through paid or organic means.  There is work involved all around and these platforms will certainly have you jump through hoops to get in front of your audience.

The moment you stop talking about your product or service you stop being talked about.

When it comes to online whether you are doing paid ads or organic means, you do not own the audience, the platforms do.  The only place you own the traffic is your own website but you have to get them there first. Even offline, you need to get your audience’s attention, so you are always renting them until they find rent somewhere else that is more appealing, cheaper, or better quality.  While there are many subcategories online to your audience the main ways online to build an audience is through paid and organic media.

How do renting ads get you in front of your audience?

We view ads as the opportunity to get in front of a highly targeted audience.  Quite frankly in our opinion, it is the quickest and most accurate way to do so.Renting your marketing audience When you pay for ads you are paying for ad platforms’ ability to identify interests, behaviors, demographics, job titles, life events, and so forth.  These powerful platforms have already identified who you want to be in front of.  Are they perfect, no, but close. 

Outside of the platform themselves, there are lots of tools to identify who your target audience is.

These platforms are also able to reach your target audience at different parts of the funnel based on the nature of the platforms.  Although we really know that today consumer doesn’t follow a perfect triangle from top to bottom, rather they fluidly move up and down in your funnel.  

How do ads reach different parts of the funnel?

There are many different types of ads such as search, social, display, native, connected TV, and radio/podcast ads all touching the funnel. 

Audience targeting with Search ads

Search ads always seem like the first place to start because they are directly searching for what you offer. But this is the most expensive place to play. Search ads are when someone goes to Google or Bing and directly enters keywords.  So they are at the very end of the funnel.  But it really isn’t that simple anymore. 

This space has changed so much and has become looser and looser. Keywords matter less and less. Buying keywords alone has gotten too expensive and it’s not really how consumers make buying decisions online.  They go to multiple sources. 

Google has introduced new types of ads called performance max campaigns that take advantage of all of their types of placements such as YouTube, Gmail, Display, Discover, and Search.

Google has also recognized what we recognize, that the funnel is all over.  When placing ads further up the funnel the ads at the bottom because less expensive because they are more likely to convert. 

Audience targeting with Social ads

Social ads which encompass many platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Linkedin, and more tend to be higher up in the funnel.  

When you go to social media, you are usually there to be entertained not be sold.  Now while certain types of industries such as retail will do better at being at the end of the funnel on social ads, most won’t.

Does that mean you shouldn’t do it, of course not! Social media still has unique ways of the ability to target your audience with interests, behaviors, demographics, and more.  Social ads get them interested and to your website.  Then it’s up to your website and remarketing efforts to keep them coming back until they are ready to buy.

What about renting my audience with organic media?

What can you get with organic reach? First, let’s describe the types, there is organic social media and SEO.  Organic social media is placing your content on organic social media that is targeted to speak directly to your target audience.  

With recent updates in organic social media, your content with short-form videos is being placed in front of people who are not necessarily following you but enjoy similar content.  This can expand your audience in ways that were previously done by growing followers and likes. 

The other way is with SEO, which is for the most part still creating content on your website that resonates with your audiences. There are technical aspects as well associated with SEO.

In our opinion though it is largely content-related. As the same with organic social media, you are attempting to draw your audience in but with a twist, they are searching for the answers in a search engine.  This makes them closer to actually being who you want to attract.

Who owns your target audienceBuilding audiences in organic social media and SEO are excellent places to be but take a lot of content and time.  You do not earn credibility overnight with search engines and social media platforms. More importantly, they own your own audience. You are still renting.

The Search engines and social media platforms are always changing the rules in order to get people engaged and using their platforms.  Why do they do this? To sell ads.  So while it might be free to be there, creating the content is certainly not free.

We still highly recommend it, but patience is key.  You might even be able to reduce ad spend, depending on your growth goals with organic only. 

The long-term approach vs. the short-term approach of your target audience

In the dynamic realm of audience building, the choice between a long-term organic approach and the allure of short-term paid ads warrants thoughtful consideration. The immediate impact of paid ads cannot be denied – they swiftly place your message before a targeted audience. However, the true power of organic reach lies in its capacity to cultivate lasting relationships.

Establishing a robust organic presence takes time, but the dividends it pays are invaluable. Through consistent engagement and the creation of valuable content, organic efforts foster credibility, trust, and a genuine connection with your audience. It’s a journey that nurtures sustainable growth and brand loyalty. Striking a harmonious balance between paid and organic strategies can offer a synergy that maximizes both quick wins and enduring success, recognizing the value of immediate visibility while sowing the seeds for an audience that remains engaged and loyal in the long run.

The multi-channel approach to being in front of your audience

In the landscape of audience cultivation, the principle of diversifying platforms stands crucial. Entrusting the fate of your marketing endeavors solely to one platform, whether it be through paid campaigns or organic content, is placing all your eggs in one basket. The digital realm is characterized by sudden algorithm shifts and evolving user preferences.

Embracing a multi-channel approach safeguards against undue risk by spreading your influence across various platforms. Each channel offers a unique avenue for engagement, tapping into diverse audience segments and catering to distinct user behaviors. By embracing this diversity, you not only mitigate the impact of potential setbacks but also foster a resilient, adaptable strategy that thrives amidst the evolving currents of the digital landscape.

Quality vs. Quantity in Your Content for Your Audience

Creating quality and creative content takes time but it is well worth the extra effort.  If you just created what everyone else has, then you are just everyone else.  We like to say here that creativity is not something you just turn on or clock into, you need to think about it.  If your audience sees the same content that is everywhere else then that lack of effort breathes into your brand of not giving the extra effort.  The reach of your content is directly affected by the creative side of your content.  We know we live in this throwaway world of shortness so we don’t disagree that quantity is needed, but slow it down.  Take the extra couple of steps to make it unique. also, don’t be disappointed if every piece of content that your marketing agency makes doesn’t go viral.

How do you get away from renting your audience?

Online you are never really going to get away from it but you can lessen it.  When you build a brand, that takes time and effort eventually you will have a whole level of word of mouth where people come to you because you are recommended.  You can get there, slowly albeit offline, but today’s world lives online. Building your credibility online is well worth the effort, after all, do we think the internet is going anywhere? 

About the Author

Jennifer Denney

Jennifer Denney has been in digital marketing since 2006 and has seen a wealth of changing landscape in digital marketing. She has seen the rise and fall of many marketing tactics.  She is deeply rooted in understanding the metrics that showcase the value of certain types of digital marketing. She produces weekly live shows with Lorraine Ball, solocast with Elevated Marketing Chats, and conducts a weekly podcast called Elevated Marketing Dot Podcast.