How Social Listening Helps Agencies Better Target Ad Buys

Kimberly Surico |
 05/14/16 |
3 min read


Social listening isn’t just for crafting digital marketing campaigns or monitoring what your audience is saying about you. Social listening platforms can also be used by agencies to inform paid media strategies, keep your budget on track, and ensure your brands get the ROI they deserve.

Social listening tells you who your audience is

With paid media, potential impressions matter. You can’t spend ad dollars any old place you want – you have to spend where it makes sense.

But you can’t know where your audience is until you know who your audience is – and the more specific, the better. Social listening gives you insight into what your brand’s audience is feeling, what they need, and where their next digital step lies. It’s not magic – it’s simply a matter of sifting through the data surfaced by social monitoring and consumer sentiment analysis to uncover what your audience wants.

It’s possible you have whole audience segments you haven’t yet considered, which means you’ve been ignoring them. Or you may have segments of more passionate fans you can engage as influencers. Think about knowing large portions of your audience are obsessed with a certain contestant on The Bachelor, instead of simply the show overall. That knowledge opens up the door to talk to them as individuals versus a generic entity.

This psychographic-based approach allows you to both narrowly refine and expand your brand’s audience by identifying what we call “feel alikes” – consumers who demographically don’t seem to match up, but like and feel the same way about certain brands, products, and activities.

If you’re operating under the assumption that your audience is limited to the over-40 set, or Millennials, for example, social listening will most certainly prove you wrong. The audience segment that makes the most sense to engage might be people who enjoy a particular sport, or television show, or type of food – no matter their age or gender.

Spending in the right places

When you apply this strategy to pinpointing where these feel-alike consumers spend their time online, you know where to focus your ad spend.

Instead of working with assumptions, or demographic generalities, you can discover the top five domains your audience frequents – like news sites, for instance. But you can refine further to reveal they are tech or science-related sites, as the case may be.

Now you know where to place your ads and content recommendations for maximum reach. Monitoring those platforms for traffic to see if you’re providing the best return on your client’s investment is all well and good, but it’s much better to strategically target the sites with the best potential in advance – especially when that intel is coming directly from the audiences you want to reach.

Harnessing earned and owned media

And there’s another reason to use social monitoring in this way – to discern whether your earned media is working for you in certain spaces. Keeping tabs on those spaces and interacting like a native may reveal you don’t need to spend in that particular area – freeing up resources for other markets where you still need to break in.

Likewise, you can learn what consumers want from your owned media, and adjust as necessary. And the best part is, all of this information is available in real-time, so you never need to “wait and see” what’s working. You’ll know right away, and be able to create the perfect synergy for your clients’ owned and paid media to impact their earned media in the best way. That will keep them happy enough to keep you around for a long time.

Want to know about about how NetBase can help your agency? Ask us for a demo!

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