Finding your audience: The basics of video targeting

April 27, 2017

Any Hollywood producer keenly understands how to cater and market to specific audiences. Just look at who’s buying tickets for Bad Moms vs. Logan. In the same vein, it’d be a mistake to think about your own advocacy video project in terms of accumulating as many views as possible, when you want to target the right people at the right time, with the right content that will move them to action.

So let’s start with a basic question: Who is your audience? It’s a thorny question that has become more complicated in this age of long-tail content marketing and micro-targeting. To help you hone in, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who do you need to carry out your goal and why?
  • What do you want them to do once they’ve seen your video?
  • How is your video uniquely meeting their needs and interests?
  • What do they think about your brand or issue (if anything)?
  • Who’s willing to view and engage with your content, and who needs to be convinced?

Strategically, you’ll need to decide whether it makes more sense to take advantage of your current membership or following as your target audience or whether the specific group you’re trying to reach falls outside those established networks. If you don’t already have easy access to your target audience through your membership or following, it means you’ll have to spend more time (and budget) to target them via YouTube or Facebook.

If it makes more sense to reach your “choir” first, you can increase the effectiveness of your video by digging into your Facebook and Twitter analytics, member surveys or just anecdotal observations for who typically attends your events and catering content to them. You’ll find that video tied with a clear and timely call to action can be a great way to activate your latent base, and increase their engagement with your organization. When this engagement happens on social, you’ll also reach your base’s social circles with your channels and content, increasing the likelihood of growing your following with new like-minded audiences.

Video is also a perfect way to activate and engage potential new audiences. Think about who’s missing in your current audience pool, and if there’s a natural reason they would want to get involved with your issue. When reaching out to new audiences, it’s important to not just select that target demographic on your Facebook boosted post and call it done. You’ll see much more successful engagement with your new audiences when you cater your content to the needs and cultures of the groups you want to court. For example, if your energy efficiency base is an overwhelmingly male audience, you could think about featuring more women leaders and making content more consumer-friendly prior to promoting your video and page toward women.

Now that you’ve given some thought to your audience and you’re ready to share your video with the world, it’s time to think through your website, social media profiles, newsletter and other channels and how you’ll use these properties to engage them.

Just like if you were inviting a bunch of new people over to your home for a party, you wouldn’t want your place to be a mess, right? The same is true for your digital properties. Strive to improve your promotional effectiveness by:

  • Getting your video channel in order: Get it verified, organize videos into playlists, make your description tight.
  • Planning out your video’s title, tags and description in advance. Your title shouldn’t be the name of your campaign if it doesn’t resonate well with the average Internet surfer. Think “man rides bicycle with fish” rather than “Journeys with Fish: My cycling story.”
  • Finding a landing place to embed your video on your website, and ensure the pathways are clear from your most-trafficked pages and your home page.

If you have a larger budget, there are all sorts of ways you can use video search engine optimization (SEO) and run ads on YouTube and Facebook. Again, you’ll want to make sure that you’re targeting the right people with the right content.

Here are some great resources if you’d like to step into the world of paid video advertising and promotion:

Think with Google

Tubular Insights

And, check out our Resource Media Toolbox section for a tipsheet on paid distribution strategies. We’ll be discussing planning and designing promotions more in our next blog post, so stay tuned!

Sian Wu