Audience targeting is one of the most critical components of a digital marketing campaign. However, fewer marketers bother to define, segment, and target a specific audience based on pre-determined criteria and instead try to market to a more generalized group of people. That can result in unsuccessful marketing outcomes that fail to generate a return on investment. Learn more about audience targeting in digital marketing and how it works below!

What is the target audience in digital marketing?

So what is target audience in digital marketing? Well, a target audience is a specific group defined by shared characteristics that you want to reach with your digital marketing campaign. For example, a group of 18-24-year-olds residing in North America.
Targeting a specific audience lets you be more precise when determining the people who view your marketing material. It reaches clearly-defined prospects on the internet according to their shared behavior, demographics, psychographics, and other factors. That can maximize profits from your marketing spend.
Say you launch a new sneaker catering to long-distance runners visiting national parks in the United States. Targeting other prospects with your marketing would likely be fruitless because they would not be interested in your sneaker. That’s why you’d invest in audience targeting. It lets you reach your preferred prospects across the internet with materials such as blogs, videos, emails, social media posts, and other content types.

Digital advertising targeting methods

There are three ways to target an audience:


Targeting an audience based on shared demographics means focusing your marketing efforts on a group of people with a similar age, income, job type, education level, geographic location, and other factors. For example, targeting lawyers aged 30-40 with a Master’s degree in New York City who make $100,000 annually.
Your digital marketing target audience might be based on less specific demographics than this but you will still need to divide a generalized audience into clearly-defined segments.


Targeting an audience based on psychographics involves focusing your marketing efforts on a group of people who share similar interests, attitudes, opinions, lifestyles, goals, values, political views, and personality types. For example, targeting people likely to vote Democrat in the next Presidential election.


If psychographic targeting involves targeting an audience based on how they feel, behavioral targeting involves fixing on an audience based on how they act. Here you segment a generalized audience into portions who share similar behavioral patterns. For example, targeting an audience likely to purchase products from companies shortly after hearing about them.
Each approach above depends on your customer goals and specific audience. You might use a combination of demographic, psychographic, and behavioral elements in a campaign. For example, targeting lawyers in New York City who are likely to vote Democrat in the next Presidential election and purchase products shortly after hearing about them.

How to find your digital marketing target audience?

So where do you find a specific audience to target with your marketing material?


Use search engine optimization (SEO) to view basic demographic information, such as the locations people are searching from and the average age of these potential customers.

First-party data

First-party data (or 1P data), such as survey results and information in a customer relationship management (CRM) system, helps you segment an audience into clearly-defined chunks. This pre-existing internal data is more accurate than second and third-party data — data you did not collect yourself.
Now you know how to target audience in digital marketing!

Programmatic audience targeting: How it works

Programmatic audience targeting in digital marketing (or programmatic, for short) involves targeting an audience based on their online behavior. It includes buying and showing ads to a specific audience with similar behavioral characteristics, such as making purchasing decisions, choosing a company, and responding to advertising campaigns.
The benefits of programmatic include increased ad efficiency, creating cross-device campaigns, and the opportunity to target an audience in real time. You can also reduce advertising costs because you will no longer waste money targeting an audience that doesn’t respond to your advertising and is not interested in your products and services.
Programmatic can be a complex process that involves bidding on ad space during an ad auction, using third-party advertising platforms and networks, and managing first, second, and third-party data sets. Working with an experienced full-service targeted digital advertising agency like Symphonic Digital, therefore, makes sense. You can leave this marketing method to the professionals and focus on other areas of your business.

Final Word About Audience Targeting in Digital Marketing

Without audience targeting, you’ll be marketing your offerings to a generalized audience of people who don’t care about your offerings and won’t invest in your brand. You’ll squander your marketing budget and waste time chasing leads that never convert. So spend time targeting an audience based on shared demographics, psychographics, and behaviors and use programmatic to move potential customers through your marketing pipelines. A targeted digital advertising agency like Symphonic helps you achieve these goals.