The Power of Content for Microtargeting

The Power of Content for Microtargeting

By Lyndal Frazier-Cairns

Ever wanted to reach just the c-suite at a tech company, or all IT decision-makers at manufacturing companies in Alabama? Once upon a time, you would have to build a list, do scads of research, then call them constantly or spend copious time and money to be in the media they read or at the café they frequented. These days, you can use microtargeting to get the right content to the right person in the right way.

How does microtargeting work?

Targeting is the process of choosing the audience for your ads. If you have ever used search engines or social media to advertise, you’ll know that you can choose from a dizzying array of options. In short, they fall into these categories:


Delaney is 42, lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, follows the Seattle Seahawks and the Atlanta United FC. He is married, has a single child, and works as a product marketer.

Made of demographic and geographic data, self-identified interests, connections, and assumptions based on your user activity.


Safaiya is shopping for an email targeting solution. Also, a good pair of winter boots.

Technology-enabled tracking, like the use of pixels to identify and serve ads relevant to your previous activity. Retargeting is a form of behavioral targeting, where reminder ads can follow you after you visit a product or service page.


Gail is a former customer but she has not opened our emails in several months. We have uploaded her email address to Facebook to engage her there instead.

This is a relatively new facility where advertisers upload their own data, usually to an ad service, and have its algorithms match their list with its users. If you want another way to reach out to existing or previous customers, for example, you might upload your customer list. Account-based marketing (ABM) is a potent form of matching, one that zeroes in on individual people.

Microtargeting is a form of matching but for very specific audiences. If you want to reach individual teams or job titles, you would microtarget them. The technology is widespread but it’s vital that your message and offer are on the level. That’s where content comes in.

Writing convincing tech content for a microtargeted audience

Microtargeted ads are qualified by their nature, which means you can and should serve up content that is extremely relevant to the small audience. If you are targeting a non-technical managers, you might think twice about using shorthand like SysAdmin. If you’re talking only to James Peach, SysAdmin, and his team at Bubble Inc, you don’t have to worry.

Here are some guidelines for microtargeted technology content:

Make it relevant

If you know the company or team is struggling with a particular business problem, name it. If you know what motivates your audience, use it. Relevant content is welcome content.

Make it personal…

Your offer should directly relate to something the audience needs. Because your targeting is so refined, your content can be highly nuanced and personal.

…But not too personal

A few years ago, there was a spike of dynamic display ads that automatically populated the user’s name. As attention-grabbing as they were, they disappeared almost immediately because horrified users failed to click on them. Yikes.

Make it smart

Take the shortcuts your audience would take. Don’t waste their time explaining concepts they already know or obfuscating information they will need to make a decision. Make it easy for them to love your offer. Speak how they would speak to their peers.

Make it compelling

Research is everything in microtargeted content. You know your audience is qualified, so spend the time to craft your offer carefully. Articulate their struggles and demonstrate clearly how your technology can help. It may be a small group but the success of your campaign can depend on just one decision-maker.

Wait, isn’t targeted advertising creepy?

A bit, yeah. But the fact remains that it is considerably more effective than the alternative. Most web-savvy users expect targeted advertising and would rather it was more relevant to them.

Transparency is key. All of the big ad portals now have a way for users to find out what data was used to serve the ad, and new research indicates that the more a user knows about why they were targeted, the more likely they are to respond favorably. It makes sense if you think about other places algorithms serve content, like your music streaming service. If the recommendation comes with the explanation “because you listened to,” you’re more open to giving it a spin.

So keep in mind the context of where people will be receiving your message and make your offer compelling, open, and honest. And make sure your privacy policy and email signup forms describe all the ways you use subscriber and customer data.

A word on retargeting

If you have ever had a pair of shoes follow you in ad form around the internet, you have encountered retargeting. The line between microtargeting and retargeting is slim but relevant here: Retargeting usually refers to technology-enabled advertising using pixels to target your browser. Microtargeting can but doesn’t have to involve pixels and can have offline delivery modes.

If you need to microtarget a small audience with convincing content, please get in touch. We love to put ourselves in the shoes of your audience, no matter the size.