I'm working in online advertising since 1998 and finally decided to start my own blog.

Traffic Targeting – The Best Friend Of Anyone Running Paid Traffic.

Whoever want’s to start buying traffic has to understand targeting. It’s one of the most important skills you need to master, but also one of the easiest to understand. Let’s not waste time here and move on with the topic, so what exactly does targeting mean? Simply put : it’s a way of picking just the traffic that we need. So instead of serving our ads to every single visitor of a site, we decide who we want to show them to.

But why would you want to do that in the first place? Let’s say you have a product that is only deliverable in the US, advertising it to Germans it’s pointless. Or the other way around : how about a sales page written in the German language, how much sense would it make to send English speaking visitors to it? Or let’s dive even deeper, let’s say you are selling a smartphone game for Android, you don’t really want to show your ads to iPhone users, right?

Targeting makes this possible, instead of buying mixed traffic, you can choose exactly what you need. Now, there is one problem with this, not all traffic networks allow deep levels of targeting. But there are always at least some options – like picking the country, device, operating system … Let me list the most common targeting options and explain all of them in a bit more detail.

GEO – this is the most basic targeting option that let’s you choose what country you want to buy traffic from. I would say every single traffic network offers this. Some take this further and offer region targeting too.

Device – the times of desktops are gone from a large part, more and more users browse the internet on their tablets or smartphones. Device targeting allows you to specify what device the visitors should be using, at the time of seeing your ads. This is also an option that every network has by now, some allow to choose desktop or mobile, while some also distinguish between smartphones and tablets.

Sites/Placements/Apps – Another targeting option that is everywhere – Choose particular sites or placements that you want to place your ads on. You can either choose them, which is called a “whitelist” or block some and put them on a “blacklist”.

Categories – This is an extension of the previous option, some networks group sites/placements/apps into categories based on interests for example. You can then choose what categories to target. A good example would be adult sites that use various fetishes – Milfs, blondes, stockings … whatever makes your day … 🙂 In some cases, you will see “keyword” targeting, which is actually a variation of the category/interest approach.

These were the basic ones that are available pretty much everywhere, but there are many more targeting options available on some networks. Here they are :

Operation System – Usually we target the large 3 : Windows, Android and iOs. But there are more obviously : Linux, Symbian, OSX … some networks even let you choose the version of the operation system.

Connection Type – This one didn’t exist at all couple years ago, but it is very popular now because of the ever growing mobile device popularity. Networks that support this targeting option will let you buy traffic based on the internet connection of their users : wifi, 3G, 4G or a particular mobile carrier… this is very useful when promoting carrier billing products.

Device Brand/Model – Do you have a product targeted at Samsung users? No problem, but just this type of traffic. Som networks even let you choose a particular model, so Samsung Galaxy 7 for example.

Internet Browser – Sometimes, you will see users on a certain browser convert better than the rest. So you want just Chrome users? No problem 🙂

Day-Parting – Is your product selling better from Monday to Friday compared to weekends? Or is your target audience only active at night? No problem again, day-parting will let you set exactly the hours you want your ads to run.

IP Ranges – This is an extension of the “Connection type” option. Targeting particular mobile carriers can be hard with some networks, because their IP databases simply suck and don’t reflect the reality. So even tho you select Vodafone Germany, they still send you a ton of wifi traffic. Targeting by IP ranges can solve this problem, in case you happen to have the proper IP ranges for Vodafone Germany 🙂

Language – You can also target by the browser language, this is an option I’m not using at all tho. Tons of people install their operation system with the default language settings that don’t necessarily have to match the language they are speaking.

You should always use as many targeting options as possible. By doing so and closely analyzing the data, you can often uncover the so called “pockets of profit” – these are isolated segments of traffic that produce insane ROI.

A pocket of profit can look like this :

GEO: Germany
Operation system : Android 4.0
Device Type/Brand : Samsung Smart-phones
Browser : Chrome Mobile Browser
Connection : 3G Vodafone
Placement : 1 particular placement on a popular mobile APP

It’s not unusual for profit pockets like these, to produce 200% or higher ROI. To be fair, these are usually smaller $X-$XX per day campaigns, so nothing to write home about. But find 20 like this and you got the ball rolling. On top of that, campaigns like these can usually last longer and don’t require a lot of maintenance.

Whether you are looking for large scale campaigns or small pockets of profit, traffic targeting is an important part of any strategy. Make sure you use it to your advantage.

Thanks for reading!


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3 comments

    1. There are several ways of doing this.

      First of all, try to use google 🙂 Search for stuff like “carrier name IP ranges”.
      In some cases, the affiliate networks can give you the IP ranges to target.
      Good relationship with fellow marketers can help too, some have the ranges 🙂

      There are also some paid services like geoedge.com, they have the ranges too but it’s expensive …

      Search around, you will surely find more too … 🙂

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