By Charles Njoku, Product Designer
Using digital content to reach a target audience can become tricky for several reasons, but one way I have used and has proven over time to be effective is to fall back on analyzing the audience with both behavioural, perceptive, and psychographic analysis.
In 2018, I and a team of 5 applied to the United Nations Millennium Ocean’s Prize for a grant of $5,000 to carry out campaigns and sustainable projects to help in achieving the SDG14. Our campaign was targeted at creating awareness on the harm in disposing of plastics in water bodies and how this affects marine life and also, in turn, affects their health. As the lead strategist on communications, I advised on starting the planning process by considering how key audiences receive information (format, language, and context) concerning the environment and with whom they discuss or seek advice and guidance with regards to usage or misuse.
Also, our campaign follows a specific sequence that moves the target audience from awareness of an issue towards a behaviour resulting in a specific outcome. To have an effective campaign, I advised based on evidence and also experience that the campaign must also adapt to, and consider the context of, the community it serves.
Several findings led us to deliver our proposed campaign via illustrations using comical characters common to the community and also telling stories in their cultural context. At first, it was all laughs and exciting experience for kids and teens, as the message kept spreading it became a conscious decision and just as we predicted and hoped, kids would sing on top of their voices while doing environmental sanitation just to mimic the stories we shared with them and what was formerly a chore became an exciting collaborative activity.
In reaching an audience via digital channels, I think it is important to understand the target audience’s behaviour across several digital channels concerning the kind of campaign being created. Here are a few questions that provide context into these;
- What channels do audiences have access to the most?
- What channels do audiences prefer for receiving information in relation to the desired campaign?
For example; while Twitter is fast becoming both a networking platform and also one for sharing of opinions, people still prefer sharing professional insights and connections via Linkedin. Also while people share pictures also on twitter, Instagram still holds the best channel for sharing audio-visual content.
Also, other important inquiries that help provide adequate insight are;
- What channels encourage two-way engagement with audiences, enabling interaction?
- Which set of digital channels best supports the communication objectives identified for the campaign?
- If building awareness is the objective, what channels offer the greatest opportunities for exposure and for ensuring sufficient message frequency (repetition); or
- If behaviour change is the objective, what channels provide opportunities for the audience to see others who have adopted the recommended behaviour and can serve as role models?
- What resources are required to develop the products needed for specific channels? For example, television public service announcements (PSAs) may provide the greatest reach within a local community as they are not entirely exposed to social media, but the costs to develop them must be considered.
All of these answer the question of what channel to use and how to also track key results.
The best way to ensure that campaigns are accessible to a range of audiences is to share digital content across several channels that have shown great insights in reach and engagement. Here are a few;
1. Social Media: Stories are increasingly popular among Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and YouTube platforms as people continue to consume digital video content faster. Currently, over 970 million accounts are posting to their stories and 50% of businesses are taking advantage of the feature.
2. Retelling a campaign story using a trend: Incorporating video content of a campaign into a trend on or off social media continues to be important and shows no signs of being an effective channel to share digital content. For example, during Valentine’s digital campaign last year in Nigeria, a video campaign on domestic violence was incorporated with the ‘I got flowers’ theme and shed light on how “for love’s sake” victims have lost their lives. Very insightful campaign!
3. While working remotely with Funded Today, USA in 2017 via Upwork, lead generation was an important part of our personalized marketing process. Personalization is the key to every email marketing strategy because it shows customers that you care about their problems. In fact, 79% of consumers are more likely to buy a product or service if they receive promotions specific to them. Essentially, generic emails sent to a long contact list is not going to cut it. By setting up email triggers, you can automate emails to respond when users engage with your website or content. For example, if a customer browses a certain product, send a follow-up email with a promotion code for that specific good.
To track, and monitor campaigns across a range of audiences, here are a few tools that I have used and have proven to be effective;
1. Google’s in-market audiences
This feature lets you target consumers who are researching unique products or services. This report feature from Google Analytics reports finding the highest performing Affinity Categories and In-Market Segments. With unique product insights, you can build different ad groups around each of the audiences and create messaging that resonates with them. This works because you are making decisions that are backed by data by finding out who the best customers are and then going out to try and find more of them.
2. Using Google’s Ad Editor for Remarketing
In Google Ads Editor, you can download, view, and assign existing audiences different ads at different points in time. Depending on a campaign type, we can target remarketing lists, custom combination lists, life events, and interest categories. Google Ads allows a marketer to do lots of A/B testing and set up ‘ad clusters’ to compare which campaigns are most effective.
3. Prioritize SEO
Organic SEO is the best audience targeting there is because there is nothing better than simply being in front of the customer when they search for exactly what you can offer. If a brand ranks high for relevant terms, it is targeting everyone actively searching for a product and service.
I am a planner and more than often, I almost plan for all scenarios, this includes handling of emerging issues. Developing a strategy has helped me handle issues immediately they arise and also prevent them from distracting me from the big picture. The first step in developing a successful strategy is to create a process to identify emerging issues, the specifics of that process should include reaching out to appropriate quarters for resolution.
While running a campaign with a team of 5 people on the SDG14, a series of issues emerged as the campaign progressed. Engaging community leadership; while the community was friendly, it also took orders from a leader and his say was final. It was almost impossible getting him to approve the usage of his community as a case study citing that the campaign will put the community in a bad light.
I and my team anticipated this challenge and beforehand prepared an engagement process that is dynamic to several responses on different issues. It guided us in what to say and what to do when we encountered different challenges.