Targeting: errors and limits

Targeting: errors and limits

Targeting consists of choosing market segments whose consumers express expectations. That the company can meet with the products and/or services it markets. Targeting is the penultimate step in the strategic approach. It is carried out aftermarket segmentation and before defining its positioning. It involves identifying the groups of consumers who have the greatest affinity for the product. And its differentiation from competing offers.

Find out how to have effective marketing for each target group in this article.

Context-specific targeting

Errors can sometimes occur during targeting. Common causes are ambiguous terms and homonyms. If a keyword has several meanings, the advertisement may be displayed in the wrong place. If users are looking for the combination of “Mont Blanc” and “Pass” for example.

The search engine will both give you results for hikes (the tour of Mont Blanc), for skiing. Results about the brand “Montblanc”. But also results with information about passports, visas, vaccinations, if you are from a non-EU country…

Both terms belong to the theme of “travel”, but evoke different associations of ideas depending on the user: mountain hikes, winding paths, and panoramas on the one hand. Passports, tedious administrative procedures, and travel arrangements on the other hand.

An advertisement for a hike that appears to a user who is busy reading visa regulations is a bit off-target. Major problems are totally irrelevant or counterproductive keywords. Mistakes like this are detrimental to the campaign because the keyword appears in an inappropriate context. Or is aimed at people outside the target audience. These broadcast losses affect the advertising budget. This is why it is advisable to check in advance whether your ad is likely to end up in an unsuitable context because of ambiguous keywords.


With Google AdWords, you can easily create specific advertising campaigns for defined targets. The AdWords recommendations explain how to refine targeting.

With contextual targeting, banners can also sometimes appear inappropriately. Take the example of a trip to Mont Blanc (France): if you enter “Mont Blanc”, “flight” and “travel” as keywords. Your ad may appear in an article about a plane crash on the Mont Blanc massif in 1966 (Air India Flight 101). Because the article also contains these keywords.

Readers could possibly associate your brand with the negative information in the text. To refine the method, a semantic analysis of the content is used if possible.

Channel Targeting

Channel targeting seems to be a safe form of marketing. However, this method of targeting is not particularly accurate. Subpages often open up narrower thematic fields. This allows for much more targeted marketing. Channel targeting works with broader categories. As the number of potential buyers in this broadly defined interest group will be relatively small. There will always be some loss of diffusion.

Behavioral targeting

Behavioral targeting also presents problems. Although a customer profile is created over time, advertisers do not access the information before leaving a website.

Ads follow users across the Net, even if they have already made a purchase or are interested in other areas in the meantime. The timing with this method should not be underestimated.

Predictive behavioral targeting goes even further in this direction. As it allows immediate analysis by adding inputs and values to existing customer information on online behavior. Marketing algorithms use the profiles thus produced to address customers directly on the site.


Targeting makes it possible to get the most out of marketing and targeted advertising. If you know your target and your advertisements are tailor-made, the diffusion loss is considerably reduced. Targeting methods are becoming more and more sophisticated. Thanks to daily analyses, you can measure the effectiveness of your targeting filters. Adjust them and react quickly to changes in the market and thus make the most of your marketing budget.

If you were interested in this topic, you should also like the articles in the “Acquisition” category. You will find them all here.

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6 Replies to “Targeting: errors and limits”

  1. This is a good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very precise info… Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

  2. Very good post! We are linking to this particularly great post on our site. Keep up the great writing.

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