Many businesses wish to move their advertising efforts digitally but may not know how to find their target audiences online or which outlets will be more effective. No matter the size of the business, many are already sitting on all the data they need to effectively launch a digital advertising component. ‘

A business typically has at least one of the following; website, social media page, customer database, or newsletter/blog subscriber database.  All of these digital outlets can serve as the hub of data to develop targeting parameters to run a digital campaign on any digital outlet.

Use Your Audience Database

A customer database should supply the most effective data a business has. If a business is able to gather their customer’s email addresses upon checkout or sign-up for services, they can leverage this data to run an effective display campaign. Facebook, Google and self-serve DSPs allow advertisers to upload their audience email list to remarket to those members. Some outlets go a step further to take existing customer databases and mine for new customers using a Lookalike targeting component. Lookalike targeting is where the platform matches characteristics of the uploaded database to those audience members who show the same characteristics. When using Lookalike modeling, it is best practice to upload only the top 10-15% of an audience database’s members (most purchases, highest engagement rate, etc.) to target against. This will enable the campaign to target those with the highest propensity to convert. Note that if your database is smaller, you may have to use a greater proportion of it for matching purposes.

Once this campaign is launched, brands can then move to run campaigns where platforms optimize against final conversions. One example is Facebook, which offers an oCPM bidding (for higher-volume accounts) where the platform will optimize ad delivery to specific audience members whose characteristics match those that are converting. In an ongoing effort, the platform will automatically optimize delivery as more data is gathered. To run an effective oCPM campaign, a brand should be attracting 20 conversions a day to gather an effective data sample to enable the platform to make proper optimizations.

Leverage Google Analytics

Establishing Google Analytics on a brand’s website will enable them to gather multiple layers of data to effectively update their website based on UX data; they can also leverage the data to launch campaigns. Google Analytics (GA) shows how visitors engage with the site and gathers data on users coming to the website. GA data also shows which products or services visitors are most interested in by showing the pages visited most. This data should be incorporated in brands’ advertising messaging and bidding strategy.


Using GA data, a business can extract demographic data and psychographic data to build audience targeting parameters to target members who show the same characteristics as those who have already shown an interest in the brand or offering. Both social media and display campaigns enable brands to use multiple targeting parameters to fine-tune their target audience and effectively deliver to a highly targeted audience member who has a high propensity to convert. The demographic and psychographic data collected in the GA data should be used here to build out these audiences. Brands should use multiple ad groups to track performance of each targeting parameter to effectively monitor performance, which can be done using GA UTM tracking tags.

GA also provides data on the top search queries that bring visitors to a website. This data can be used as a great starting point to build out a search campaign. Additional data mining can be done using Google’s Keyword Planner, found within AdWords, to find the top search queries with monthly impression data and also project traffic delivery. SpyFu is also another great source to track competitor data to see which key terms are working best for them and to gather an estimated monthly budget for all competitors.

Track Social Media Audiences

Earned Audience Data

Social media outlets give brands access to insights about their existing audience members. This data often expands beyond data captured using Google Analytics, as many of these platforms gather more data from members. Taking Facebook for example, each user inputs their own information into their profile. Social outlets then gather data on the brands a user engages with and data on what those users are talking about themselves. These two data sets, along with interests already inputted at the user profile stage, are leveraged to understand a user’s interests and behaviors. These interests, behaviors, and demographic data are then displayed back to brand’s on their audience insights page.


Similar to how GA data would be leveraged, brands can use this data to build out segmented audiences for their advertising campaigns. Brands can also use Facebook’s Audience Insights to understand how specific audience groups of specific interests, behaviors, and demos index on the outlet.

Data from Social Media Messaging Strategy


Brands on social outlets (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are posting with a specific messaging strategy. Simply by posting on the outlet, brands can gather insights onto the messages, products, and different imagery used that is engaged with most by their audience. With this data, brands can migrate the most effective message used on the social outlet and incorporate it into their tailored messages for each segmented audience.

Social Media Testing Platform

Social outlets can, and should be, used as a testing platform for brands. Prior to building out a 30-second video spot, brands can gather data on the messages that resonate most with their audience to incorporate into the video. Once multiple videos are developed, brands can launch the spots across social outlets for a cost-effective test and migrate the most effective spot onto more expensive outlets such as TV.

Do More with More Data Collected

Once this data is leveraged and campaigns are up and running, more data is being collected. There may be an audience group unbeknownst to the brand prior to launching these campaigns that is converting at a high volume. Once this data is tracked, monitored, and digested, brands should optimize their campaigns and budgets accordingly. To effectively track data on audiences and ad performance, brands should structure campaigns to isolate each targeting parameter as much as possible. Each ad should be tracked in Google Analytics or a 3rd-party platform to monitor conversion rates and should be optimized accordingly. Once those audiences are realized within the isolated structure, budget should naturally be allocated accordingly to optimize for conversions.


Every brand and audience member is built differently. Building a campaign from scratch using this approach is a great way to start and, in most cases, should not be the end-all. Brands and small businesses know their audience and product/service best and should utilize information collected beyond the data supplied from these digital components as they build out their campaigns. Consider this blog as an unfinished blueprint to leverage your data to begin running a digital campaign to grow your brand.

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Carlton Sanders
Carlton studied Marketing at UNLV and immediately began his career working for a Las Vegas strip headliner handling all digital marketing and communications efforts. He soon transitioned to the agency side where he was responsible for executing all digital marketing campaigns for many years prior to joining 3Q Accelerate in November of 2015. He now calls San Diego home and spends his free time at the beach, on the trails, or watching his Cincy sports teams try to break the Bo Jackson Curse.