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Ad targeting – an easy way to have your content seen by the audience you’re hoping to target – right? As marketers we can use targeted advertising to ensure our ads get seen by consumers of particular age groups, specific locations and even with different levels of education. However, according to a study by Westwood One, many of us are focusing too much on our targeted ads and not enough on creative quality and reach.

Westwood One’s research included an Advertiser Perceptions Survey which included 305 marketing and agency people. In order to get their results, Westwood One compared their answers to a 2017 NCSolutions study which looked at which factors drove sales impact for 500 packaged goods campaigns.

While it is worth noting that Westwood One sells radio advertising, the company’s chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard released a statement and said that the purpose of the study was not to buttress the case for radio advertising.

The NCS data also showed that there was a value of reach across TV and digital however their study found that creative quality rather than media planning and buying decisions was the biggest success driver in the research they compiled on Bouvard cities.

Those surveyed thought that targeting is responsible for 22% of ad impact however the results of the NCS research found that targeting only lifted sales by 9%. Respondents also thought that creative was only responsible for 17% of the credit of ad success however NCS found it to be responsible for 47%.

There is a danger that targeting may narrow down your potential audience a little too much meaning that companies potentially miss out on new clients or customers. Individuals can also move between target categories throughout the course of their lifetime so there is a risk of  misidentifying them completely. Through focusing less on targeting, you are more likely to reach a wider audience, potentially growing your sales at a much faster rate.

The truth today remains as it has always been. The quality of the creative you use in your ad content is the single most important factor. The fundamentals of great marketing have not changed. The channels we use are ever changing but the rules of engagement stay the same regardless. 

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