Practical Digital Targeting: Offline-to-Online

In the not so distant past, we used to count on customers making a purchase or filling out a form online in order to stockpile pertinent information about them. Data largely flowed in an online-to-offline direction. We collected information in a passive, reactive manner.
But with the proliferation of remarketing tags, social media, robust CRM platforms and third-party data purveyors, there’s more data than ever to be proactively gleaned about potential customers. Figuring out how to capture that data (from ‘offline’ and other sources) and use it to more effectively connect with your targeted audience online is now the name of the game.
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Why Offline-to-Online?

Offline-to-online targeting can help you strengthen connections with your known customer base, and also forge new relationships across various platforms with digital marketing. More to the point, it can increase your sales by harnessing the power of customer data.
Offline-to-online targeting can also boost your efforts to:

  • Generate awareness
  • Influence consideration
  • Determine purchase intent
  • Increase loyalty
  • Use external data sources

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Reaching Your Audience Digitally

To more effectively reach people in the digital realm, there are troves of data nuggets to be mined ‘offline,’ such as:

  • Collection of demographic information
  • CRM data
  • Trade show data
  • Warranty information (or data pertaining to safety, equipment purchase, or truck ownership, etc…)
  • Email newsletter lists
  • Dealers’ clients

Armed with personal info, you’ll be better equipped to craft relevant, timely messages for the people you’re trying to reach. Now it’s just a matter of getting your messaging in front of the right eyeballs.
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IP Targeting

Every computer in the world that logs on to the internet is assigned a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address, which can pinpoint where said computer – and thus the person using the computer – is located. Being able to hone in on an IP address opens the door for IP Targeting, or crafting content based on a user’s geographic location.  
IP Targeting can help you:

  • Match physical addresses
  • Look for business IP addresses
  • Look for home IP addresses
  • Target companies with display banners
  • Drive clients to your landing page
  • Tag visitors for future marketing

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Where Should Your Ads Appear?

After gathering data, the next step is to determine where you want your ads to appear and what platform you want to use. You have options, depending on whether you want to use display networks like Google, Bing or Yahoo (to advertise on sites such as Fox News, CNN,, or go social.
Or if you’re keen on reaching folks through social media, Facebook advertising is hugely popular. Facebook boasts that their targeted campaigns are 89% accurate, as opposed to an ‘average online reach of 38% for narrowly targeted campaigns.’
They also have, you know, roughly 20% of the inhabitants of planet earth logging in on a regular basis.  
Facebook allows you to:

  • Collect email addresses and phone numbers
  • Match your email addresses and phone numbers to Facebook login
  • Target only those users on Facebook
  • Geo-target

With Facebook advertising, your ads will appear only to your audience on Facebook. They can appear in your users’ News Feed or on the right-hand rail. They can also be geo-targeted as you wish.
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Google Customer Match

Another approach to targeting is Google Customer Match, which includes:

  1. Uploading email addresses of existing customers
  2. A system that looks for matches on Google Search, Gmail, and YouTube, and shows your ads there
  3. Data sharing across accounts

If you use Customer Match, your ads can appear through Google search results, YouTube or Gmail. Like on Facebook, your ads will appear only to your audience, and they can be geo-targeted.
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Targeting in Action

How about a real-world case study of the impact offline-to-online targeting can make?
One of our clients, a large machinery corporation, ran a Facebook campaign. Targeting customers based on email address, they wanted to drive Facebook users to watch a custom video and have them click through to their site.
By targeting offline contacts (more than 102,000 email newsletter subscribers), the two-month campaign yielded great results, including:

  •    58,062 potential customers reached on Facebook
  •    28,574 video views
  •    3,069 clicks on the ad
  •    5.29% click-through rate

Another client of ours ran a display campaign based on their contacts in EDA, our database of 20 million+ qualified equipment records.
The client wanted to target customers who had purchased equipment, with the intent of driving them to a custom landing page and making those customers aware of two product launches.
By targeting a precise swath of offline contacts gleaned from the EDA database (filtered by those who had purchased three specific types of equipment), more than 62,100 total contacts were found. An IP match resulted in 40,216 viable contacts.
The five-month campaign, which was integrated with print, email and display elements, yielded 443,787 impressions and 745 clicks. More importantly, 41 companies ended up purchasing 216 new units, while 88 companies purchased 110 used units.
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Putting it Together

There’s no shortage of articles out there touting ‘personalization’ as the future of marketing. You can quibble over whether or not ‘individualization’ is the better term, but the point remains that your messaging had better be relevant, timely and useful, or it will probably be ignored. Learning basic details about the living, breathing human beings who constitute your target audience is a critical first step toward reaching them.
Behind every successful digital targeting campaign is data. The trick is figuring out how to leverage it to make sure your ads appear in the right place, at the right time, in front of the right people.
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