Target Audience in Advertising: What It Is, How to Define It, and Strategies That Work

Target Audience in Advertising: How to Define It and Strategies

Defining the target audience in advertising is highly critical. Make sure your business truly understands it and how to do it well with this useful article.

Keyword(s): target audience in advertising

Over 90% of entrepreneurs fail when they set out on a business venture.

While this is sometimes due to factors outside of anyone’s control (such as the 2008 Housing Crisis), there is a handful that are entirely preventable.

These can include failure to research the market, selling a product or service that doesn’t solve a problem for the customer, and not properly defining your target audience.

This last point is especially crucial and has the potential to make or break the entire marketing strategy.

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about your target audience in advertising. 

So… What Is It?

Put simply, your target audience consists of the people who would likely be interested in the product or service that you offer.

How broad or narrow your demographic is depends on what your business offers.

For example, let’s say your company sells athletic shoes with extra padding for obese people who are attempting to lose weight. These shoes are specifically meant for those who cannot comfortably walk or jog in regular athletic shoes.

Since your product is so specific, your audience will be specific, too. In this case, it’s likely people in their 30s and 40s with a decent income ($50,000+) who have an interest in trying to lose weight.

If you offer something more general, however, then your audience will reflect that.

A company that provides affordable daycare services, for example, would target parents of all ages and incomes.

How Do You Consistently Define It?

While it may be tempting to go with your gut when determining who you’ll be targeting, you should spend some time researching instead. Qualitative evidence is far more likely to give you the results that you want.

When it comes to conducting this research, there are a few key points you’ll need to keep an eye out for. These include:

  • Geographic Location– Where are these people located? Are they local to your business or far away? What time zone(s) are they in?
  • Age– How old are your potential customers? Their actual age isn’t crucial to know. A range of five years or so (such as 33-38) will provide you with enough info.
  • Income– How much money do they make annually? Do they have enough to spend on your product or service?
  • Hobbies/Interests– What do they like to do in their free time? What shows, podcasts, or movies do they enjoy? What social media platforms do they use?
  • Current Stage in Life– Where are your customers in their lives? Are they newlyweds? Retired? Or new parents?

What If My Company is B2B?

If your company sells B2B products or services, you won’t have the same list as a B2C company. But, your list will more or less follow the same plan:

  • Size of The Company– How large is the company you’re marketing to? Is the company of a similar size to yours? What department are you trying to reach?
  • Location– Where is the company located? What is its time zone(s)? What geographical regions do they serve?
  • The Market– What market are they in and how well do you understand it? How can your product or service help them reach their goals?

As you can see, this target demographic information is not identical to that of a B2C company. But, many of the same concepts apply here.

Once I Know My Audience, What Do I Do?

After you understand your audience, you’ll need to figure out how to get them to resonate with your company’s message.

People love to spend money. The country’s economy thrives off of the desire to purchase new things.

But, nobody likes to feel like they’re being sold something. So, you’re going to need to take extra care in how you present your brand.

Build Trust

This is especially crucial if your business is relatively unknown or new to the industry. 

A key way to build trust among your audience is to speak to them like people, not numbers. Transparency and authenticity go a long, long way here.

For example, your company could post content that offers a behind-the-scenes look at what a day in your office is like. You could even take things a step further and create a long-term vlog about what goes on at your company.

Encourage Engagement

If there isn’t a call-to-action in your content, your audience won’t always be sure what to do after they’ve seen it.

Encourage them to visit your site, social media pages, or book a consultation. A nudge in the right direction is sometimes all people need to make a decision.

Use The Right Platform

Remember the “hobbies/interests” section of your target audience list?

That’s where this comes into play.

If the majority of your demographic is young, tech-savvy college graduates, you’ll more than likely find them on Twitter over Facebook or LinkedIn.

While it’s common that many people use every major social platform, research which ones they use most so you know how to reach them.


After you get things going, take a step back and check your analytics. How have you performed? Did you reach (or surpass) the goals you had laid out?

If you’re doing well, don’t change anything you’re doing (but keep checking periodically).

If you aren’t doing so hot, it’s time to go back to researching your target audience and finding out where you missed the mark.

Defining Your Target Audience in Advertising Can Seem Difficult

But it doesn’t have to be.

With the above information about your target audience in advertising in mind, you’ll be well on your way to making sure your content gets in front of the right people.

Want to learn more about different types of marketing? This article has plenty of useful info.