Looking Beyond the Numbers

September 19, 2019
Shannon Schafer

Over the past few weeks, the DSA Media team has come across a few really fun “planners conundrums” that showcase how we navigate the realities of media targeting. While the ability to target in a variety of ways within the digital space exist, many broadcast mediums are still bought based on demographics, with the potential to “cherry pick” programming or station mix based on other layers of research. When proposals or post campaign reports come in for tv and radio specifically, they are still very much focused around gender and age.

Our first “conundrum” came to us from a Jazz event client. Based on past ticket purchasers, we knew that the target audience was adults 45+, with an interest in Jazz music, of course. We know that audience listen to a lot of radio, though when we dove into the local market station rankings (based on age and gender) it became clear to us that we would need to consider not just tuning and demo, but also the type of music. For example, do those who enjoy Jazz music also enjoy country, or perhaps hard rock? Our research suggest they do not, though those stations come out on top based on the rankers. Radio is bought based on how it performs against specific demographics, though in this case, relying solely on demographic data would have us advertising to an audience who are not likely to attend the event. Naturally, we suggested a multi media buy focused around complimentary music styles while also showcasing the full ranker outlining why we had opted to skip some of the top tier stations. Pairing this with strategic digital and out home placements, not only saved budget, but also had a more targeted buy than they had originally requested.

The second “conundrum” also came from a client within the music scene, this times from a charitable organization backed by a band. In this instance, they felt their audience were fans of the band, which makes sense, though poses a challenge in the broadcast space where buys are primarily based on age and gender. We approached that challenge by focusing on extrapolating their social fans into specific lifestyle and life stage buckets that we could further explore within other mediums. The digital inventory can be easily targeted by various means such as interest targeting. Within social that could mean targeting fans of the page, or when we look at television a handful of specific programs became of peak interest.

Our clients were quite pleased with how the campaigns layered multiple different approaches to targeting in an effort to build reach and frequency among a specific audience. We were happy to have helped out, and of course excited at the different ways our research tools were able to help shape the final media recommendations for these happy clients!

This showcased the importance of really understanding who the target audience is, and how they think and feel.