Jacek Palęcki

Targeting - what is it and what are the types?

Publication date
3 min reading
Table of contents

    Finding the right customers is never easy. It is clear that our product will not always reach everyone. That's why your target group selection plays such a crucial role, it allows you to better manage your advertising budget, increase conversion and faster reach your target.

    What is targeting?

    When considering what targeting involves, we should start with what targeting means in general. It is nothing more than selecting the right customers for our product, e.g those who show, or are likely to show, the greatest interest in what we offer. Targeting and market segmentation are practically twin concepts, the former refers to the microscale (our company, product, service) and the latter to the entire market. This is a very important process that every company should be constantly doing. Customer targeting does not always have to be the same. Depending on our product or campaign, we can set a different target each time.

    Targeting in marketing

    We already know what targeting means, now let's consider how to apply it in marketing. When creating an advertising campaign we need to effectively select our customer target so that our offer is as effective as possible. A good example of such action is retargeting. If we want to attract a client again to our website, we must determine which group may be susceptible to it and what message to give them. Marketing in targeting can also be understood as selecting groups of recipients depending on their response to marketing actions. If the users read newsletters sent to them, this type of action can be considered the same. This is what similar audience targeting is all about. We should remember that this is not only a marketing issue. The sales department in everyday contact with a client also uses targeting.

    Types of targeting

    Customer targeting is not complicated. The crucial factor is to find the common parts between your customers and successively create the right type of targeting. Even though there can be many different kinds, we will present the 3 main and most used types of targeting.

    Behavioural targeting

    Also known as audience targeting. This activity focuses on the segmentation of customers taking into account their behaviour resulting from the websites they visit, queries entered into the Google search engine, links clicked, and also products previously purchased. Customers who exhibit similar behaviours are grouped into a larger audience segment. This allows marketing to target them with personalised advertising content. Behavioural targeting includes everything related to user behaviour in the broadest sense. Behavioural targeting allows you to target very effective ads as they are based on specific actions. The downside is that the message is directed to different people who exhibit similar behaviour. This leads to the conclusion that they will be reached by similar advertising content, and this is not always true. Often when using social selling behavioural targeting will be the best method, as we have a very large amount of data about our users.


    In this type of targeting, we focus on very specific elements. We don't take into account previous generalisations, but rather focus on single behaviours. It can be compared to the fact that a given customer has purchased in our store 10 times and bought 90 products in total. In microtargeting, we will focus on one purchase and analyse its behaviour, e.g. the order of navigating the site or how the products were added to the cart. Microtargeting can also be understood as separating small groups of recipients. If we want to target effectively on the micro-scale, we should have a lot of different information and behaviours about the user. We can take into account the length of sessions on the site, the last products bought, interests, etc. This way we target a message that is 100% tailored. Remember that microtargeting does not have to be used only in marketing. Also, sales departments can, and even should use it. Good knowledge of a single individual means that we do not talk about generalities, but immediately select a specific message.

    Contextual targeting

    This is a variation of targeting that focuses on grouping material by specific subject matter. Web portals that present several areas often give the possibility of such adjustment of advertising. If the news portal has a tab related to sports, it is possible to mainly display sports ads. Thanks to this we are sure that the user is initially interested in our topic, which significantly brings us closer to effective advertising.

    It is also worth mentioning the classic type which is demographic targeting, i.e. based on basic data such as gender or age. As you can see targeting is not a complicated concept, but choosing the factors that will translate into effective advertising and final purchase is not that simple. It is important to try different types of targeting and find out for yourself what works best for your customers.