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The power of targeting

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Ella Rice, March 2021

Shopper marketing is an effective way to get your brand and messaging in front of a lot of people. As technology has evolved, so has the capabilities of media to talk to targeted group of shoppers.

Targeting a niche shopper base with communication means more effective use of marketing budgets with less media wastage. Below is an overview of some great ways to deliver targeted communication to shoppers.

Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic media can apply to anything from online advertisements to digital out-of-home, but all formats have one thing in common, their rich levels of targeting. As technology evolves our device usage has increased, with Ofcom reporting that Smartphone take up has increased from 27% in 2011 to 82% in 2020 (1). As a result, brands have ever increasing amounts of data that helps them to understand who their consumer is and how they behave and shop.

Programmatic allows brands to use this data to target consumers based on lifestyle, demographics, interests, location and even device data. Using several data sources, some programmatic media can even identify high opportunity stores and overlay location data to serve ads to their segmented audience. This access to specific audience data allows us to target shoppers at critical points in their journey, whether that is when researching recipes online or browsing in-store resulting in less media wastage and efficient, precise targeting.

The dynamic capabilities of programmatic have also been especially prudent in recent months with different parts of the UK under lockdown due to Covid-19. Programmatic has enabled brands to deliver fast paced and dynamic messaging to their target audience, allowing brands to keep messaging relevant and targeting distinct. In one campaign ran in 2020, the saw brand ROI on location programmatic averaging at £8.27, proving how effective this media can be.

Retailer Offsite Digital Media

Retailer offsite media can combine the power of social media data with retailer’s loyalty data. Social media sites have an estimated 49m users in the UK (2) and they hold data on each of those users’ demographics, interests, location, behaviour, and connections. A retailer’s loyalty scheme builds a profile of their shoppers based on purchase history and how and when they do their shopping.

Partnering these two data pools allows retailers and brands to target consumers based on their previous shopping habits in-store, along with audiences, demographics, and interests available on social media. This allows brands to get their messaging across to people with a high affinity to purchase as the targeting is based on not only specific interests but profiles of those who already shop for specific brands and products.

Retailer Loyalty Schemes

Although not a new media touchpoint, retailer loyalty schemes are an effective targeting method using shopper profiles and contextual data. For those who use their loyalty cards in stores regularly, retailers are able to build strong shopper portfolios.

Using past purchase data, brands can target shoppers based on specific objectives. For example, driving penetration in shoppers who no longer shop the brand but have previously, targeting those who buy into competitor brands or just targeting those who match their target shopper behaviours.

Geo-Social - Crossover

Geo-social uses both hyper local geo-targeting and consumer interests and demographics to optimise their ad delivery. One provider - Crossover use a unique product called ‘True Catchment’, which heatmaps a shopper audience based on their locations after visiting selected stores. This data informs the targeting strategy and serves ads on relevant platforms to shoppers in selected stores.

The optimisation process is on a store-by-store basis which means the campaign is optimised based on shopper metrics rather than the platforms algorithms. This detail creates an even closer insight into the target shopper and campaign performance, making your investment work harder. As we know, mobile media dominates our on-screen media time at an average of 3 hours a day (3) with total time spent on social apps increasing every year (4). Layering store data, consumer insights and geo-targeting creates optimum targeting success for brands on particularly over saturated applications.

Targeted Media – Retailer -eCommerce Sites

Retailer eCommerce sites harbour a wealth of data on their site users and since Covid the number of online users has continued to increase. Targeted search creates opportunity to serve ads to shoppers searching relevant or complimentary items, for example strawberries and cream or cereal and milk. Similarly, cross-sell touchpoints allow brands to target complimentary products with various strap lines such as “Try with...” and “Why not try…”. Although not quite as sophisticated as the targeting capabilities of third-party digital media, retailer site media allows brands to disrupt and interrupt shoppers at the critical points within their online shopping journey. Retailer e-commerce sites present shoppers with a multitude of different ways to shop in comparison to in-store, with tools such as search, favourites, offers pages and recipe pages. This makes it key to create multifaceted online plans to ensure shoppers are targeted in the best way possible no matter which online journey they take. As retailer eCommerce media evolves, so will touchpoint and targeting capabilities. When new opportunities are presented it is important for brands to test and learn to understand their effectiveness and reach shoppers in innovative ways.


As media options and capabilities continue to evolve, it is key for brands to stay on top of the latest developments to maximise the impact of investment. As consumer habits and trends change its even more important that brands use multifaceted approaches to reach shoppers. Investing in new technology and digital solutions, along with more traditional media, is one of the most effective ways to do that in the growing online world. Using test and learn budgets to explore and evaluate new media methods will allow brands to understand their effectiveness and support in navigating the new world.

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