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Are You Targeting Customers on the Right Devices?

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Connecting with potential customers is key to bringing in more revenue. But you have to know where your targets are so you can deliver the right content in the right format at the right time. That's a major challenge.

So where - and on which devices - are your target customers spending their time?

We're going to answer that question for you. We'll cover what demographics spend their time on which devices, including:

  • Radio
  • Computers
  • TV
  • Tablets
  • Smartphones

We'll cover how much time people spend on each device, when they spend time on it, and how you can create great content that resonates and delivers a high ROI.

But first, there's one question you have to answer.

Who's your target customer?

Before it matters what device you create content for, or at what times you try to get in front of an audience, you have to know who your audience is. That's a lot more detailed than just saying "people who are interested in [XYZ product]."

So how do you define your target audience?

If you haven't already, you need to create a customer persona to holistically define your ideal customer. If you have already created customer personas, jump down to the next section.

Characteristics will vary, but highlights of your persona should include:

  • Age range
  • Income or budget 
  • Major interests or hobbies
  • Job and title (especially for B2B)
  • The pain points they experience (i.e. things that would point them to your product or service)

Check out this image as an example.

After creating a buyer persona like the one above, you feel much more connected to your ideal customer. It's like they've become a friend instead of just data points. That allows you to market to them better.

We'll touch on this later, too, but there are four basic steps to creating a customer persona.

1. Look at existing data.

Chances are you already have Google Analytics setup - or Wordpress statistics, or Shopify analytics, or Instagram Insights. Take a look at what data you have to see:

  • Which cities, states, and countries customers are coming from
  • Their age and gender
  • What products or pages they're most interested in (i.e. which get the most traffic, or longest time-on-page)
  • What devices they're using to find you
  • What time of day they're coming to you
  • And what other interests they may have

All of this gives you a good starting point for crafting your customer persona. Then you can talk to people to start honing that image.

(Sidebar: If you don't have any tracking or analytics for your website, here's a quick-start guide to Google Analytics. It will be valuable.)

2. Talk to your support and sales teams.

Your sales and support reps talk to tons of people all across the customer spectrum. They're probably going to have the best look into the types of people and personalities that are best to work with.

So talk to your sales and support reps.

Related: 8 Steps to Close More Leads with Sales and Marketing Alignment

3. Send a customer survey (or talk to your customers).

It's always good to directly engage with your customers. Talk to them. Ask for their two cents. Get to know them, just like your sales and support reps have.

An easy way to do this at scale is to send your customers a quick survey. You'll want to ask questions around:

  • Their basic demographics (save for the end to reduce your survey abandonment rate)
  • Why they decided to look for a product or service like yours
  • Why they chose you instead of someone else
  • Things they value day-to-day
  • Things they'd like improved

You can use short tests like Net Promoter Score, but more in-depth questions like those above are going to give you a much better picture of your customers and what they value.

4. Bring it all together.

Once you have all of this information, bring it together to create your persona. Then craft a profile for that ideal person - or two or three personas for different ideal customer segments. 

Now you know who to target. The next question is where.

Which devices are your customers (probably) on?

This section's going to give you basic demographic data for major device categories.

We'll also cover what time of day people are most likely to be engaging with each device, and then we'll recommend how to create content (ads, blogs, videos, etc.) that grab your targets' attention and resonate with them.

Ready?

Radio

Radio has been around a long time, and has evolved into satellite radio and other forms along way. But since it's so old, many businesses don't consider it for marketing to their audience.

If that applies to you, you might want to reconsider.

More than 243 million American adults (and their children) tune into radio every week, and they spend almost 13 hours a week listening to radio (on average).

Radio reaches more people than any other device or form of digital media. So who's listening?

Engagement is surprisingly consistent across age groups. Millennials (18-34 y.o.) listen to AM/FM radio as much as those over 50 years old.

The data suggests this is split evenly between men and women, and that radio is listened to most during morning and evening work commutes.

Past that, it's difficult to find exactly who's listening to which stations (unless you contact stations directly). If you're going to advertise on radio, our suggestion is to pick a station or network that lines up with your values and interests.

U.S. Weekly Reach Across Radio, Smartphones, and TV

PC: Nielsen

Radio is also one of the cheapest options for advertising, and most stations offer weekly or monthly options. That makes it a great option for testing your messaging.

So how do you create engaging radio content?

Cost of Radio Advertising

PC: FitSmallBusiness

3 Quick Tips to Create Radio Ads Consumers Actually Like

1. Keep it concise.

You've only got 30 seconds, and most people try to tune out radio ads. You need to boil down your value proposition into just a few words, and then give an example of what the listener might get from you.

2. Create an emotional connection.

Even ads tell a story, and the most effective stories pull the listener in with an emotional connection. Use a customer experience that others can relate to, or present a problem that resonates with your ideal customer.

3. Offer a next step.

Ads and information are great, but what are listeners supposed to do with it?

The difficulty with radio is that most people are driving while listening, so you need to give listeners a simple step to take once they get to their home or office - maybe that's visiting your website or looking you up on Instagram. 

Television (TV)

There are 2.3 televisions per household, plus TVs at restaurants and other locations you might visit. The potential reach for a TV should be pretty big, but there's been a lot of change over the last few years.

For starters, the time that 18-24-year-olds spend watching live TV has dropped by 10 hours a week between 2011 to 2017. Most are "cable cutters" that have moved from Live TV to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video. 

Nielsen Traditional TV Viewing by Age

PC: Nielsen, MarketingCharts

Still, that's plenty of time - the average adult watches more 4.5 hours of live TV every day. Most of this starts after 9:00 PM, though, and ends by 11pm. The average viewing age is over 55 years old.

If people approaching and enjoying retirement are your target audience, then TV is probably a good choice. If not, maybe you should look into alternatives.

Oh, and one more thing about TV.

It's expensive compared to other advertising options. 30-second commercials from six different networks range from $15,938.00 to $687,921.00.

But if your audience is glued to the TV, here's what we recommend.

5 Tips for Advertising on TV

  • Advertise on channels and shows that fit with your brand and message.
  • Focus on the first five seconds to grab (and hold) viewers' attention.
  • Use a memorable phrase or jingle to keep your brand top of mind (e.g. "the quilted quicker picker-upper... Bounty").
  • Showcase your product or service in action (i.e. don't just show smiling faces and people from your office).
  • Spend more time and resources telling a story that strikes an emotional connection (see Radio above) than on "production value."

This video also provides a great example of a cost-efficient and effective commercial, along with tips for how to create it.

Computers

84% of U.S. households own a computer (desktop or laptop), and it's estimated that they spent over $513 billion in online sales last year.

People are clearly spending money online, but does that mean desktop and laptop computers are good places for your company to advertise? Let's take a look.

Even though computer ownership is up, usage at home is down. In 2018, Americans who use the internet hit an all-time high of 89%, but home broadband rates dropped to only 65%.

Most people use their computers primarily at school, work, and coffee shops. (We'll cover how smartphones affect this in a moment.)

Home Broadband Rates by Age

PC: Pew Research Center

So when are people online?

Mostly during work hours - about 9am-8pm.

Most of that computer time should be spent working, but if you do any advertising on Facebook or pay attention to your website analytics, you'll notice people are still on social media and searching Google throughout the day.

Does that make it a good place to advertise? Yes and no.

What we've seen is that B2B brands do well advertising on desktops and laptops throughout the work day (people search for work-related things during work). But B2C brands see more success on other devices.

Device Usage by Time of Day

PC: SmartInsights

Still, you've got options when it comes to content. We recommend focusing on three types of content.

3 Types of Content to Engage Desktop and Laptop Viewers

1. Blog Posts

There are about 74,000 Google searches per second. You can target desktop customers by creating blog posts that bring them to your website. This is a major piece of both inbound marketing and search engine optimization (SEO).

For your blog posts, create detailed answers to questions people ask when searching Google and other search engines. If you do it right, people will find your content and convert into leads and customers.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing a Blog Post for SEO Success

2. Video Content

Video's been the fastest growing (and often most effective) form of content over the past few years. If you're going to target customers on desktop and laptop devices, do so by creating video ads and video content.

You can promote video content on social media (more on that later), on your website, and even in your emails.

3. Search Engine Marketing

Search engines like Google and Bing let you advertise at the top of search results.

For most brands, this is a cost effective way to get in front of your target audience. They're already searching for what you offer, and you only pay when they click on your ad.

Online advertising costs vary greatly by type of content and by platform (Facebook, Google, etc.). You're experiences may be different, but you can expect to spend a few dollars for every click your ad gets.

Email content gets an honorable mention, because people check their email 74 times a day. Though, most emails are now opened on mobile devices. We'll touch on that in the Smartphone section.

Related: 8 Email Marketing Lessons to Make Your Newsletters Interesting

Tablets

As of 2018, 53% of adults in the United States own a tablet. But who owns them, and how are those people using tablets day-to-day?

  • About 55% of American adults 18 to 29 years old own a tablet.
  • About 64% of American adults 30 to 49 years old do.
  • And about 49% of American adults 50 to 64 years old own a tablet.

The trick is, they only* spend about 90 minutes per day on these devices, and a large chunk of that time comes during TV commercial breaks.

If your target customers are mid-career with a higher income, and tend to stay up a little later in the evenings, tablets might be good devices for you to target.

However, tablet content is very similar to smartphone and desktop content - the only significant difference is the dimension sizes for ads. Jump up to the Computers section or down to the Smartphones section for more details.

Smartphones

81% of American adults own a smartphone. We check them about 150 times a day, and spend over 4 hours a day on them.

Related: The History and Evolution of the Smartphone: 1992-2018

Mobile purchases (primarily through smartphones, though some from tablets) also accounted for $117 billion in retail sales last year, which is about 23% of total online sales.

Younger generations spend more time on their phones (upwards of 6 hours a day), but older age groups still spend significant portions of time on their phones (an hour or two).

All age groups are more likely to be on their phones during evenings and weekends.

Related: How Much Time Do People Spend on Their Mobile Phones in 2018?

Smartphones are ubiquitous, but are they a good option for you to target customers?

Smartphone Ownership Across the World

PC: Pew Research Center

Probably. Two-thirds of mobile device searches are for local businesses, and about 25% of those searches turn into a same day purchase!

That means mobile search engine optimization and mobile search engine marketing, can be extremely effective for local or location-specific businesses. Does that apply to you?

The most used feature or app on any smartphone is in the U.S. is the native text messaging app. If your targets spend a lot of time on their phones, text messages are perhaps the best way to target them.

(Sidebar: Text Request lets you text customers from your computer or smartphone using your current office phone number. Grab a demo to see how it works.)

Next on the Most Used list are social media apps like Facebook and Instagram, which are also great places to advertise.

You can create hyper-specific audiences to show your ads to while spending little. If you want to advertise on Facebook, start by reviewing our guide to advertising on Facebook.

Average Facebook Ad Cost Per Click

Three types of content do particularly well on smartphones:

  • Video content - particular videos that are about two-to-four minutes
  • Image carousels - people like to swipe through photos
  • Search engine ads - ads take up a lot of real estate on smartphones, which can be used to your advantage
  • Short emails - 

So how do you create great content on smartphones?

It's not so difficult. You can also apply the tips outlined in the Radio and Computer sections to create great content for smartphones.

What's best for you always comes back to who your specific audience is and how they behave.

5 Types of Content That Perform Best on Smartphones

1. Image Carousels

People are over 500% more likely to remember information shared visually, compared to just text. They're also more likely to click on and share that content.

Images can be easier to create using tools like Canva. People specifically love swiping through image carousels.

Check out this infographic with ad sizes for all major platforms. Use this to inform the ads and images you create.

Content Consumers Want from Brands

2. Short Videos

Mobile viewers spend 15-30 seconds on a web page, and less viewing a post in a social media feed.

You have to engage and add value quickly. Two to four minute videos are great for grabbing and keeping viewers' attention. You can also take professional-looking videos with your smartphone.

3. Search Engine Ads

Search ads take up a lot of real estate on smartphones, which can be used to your advantage.

If you have a good message, target "high intent" keywords, and use ad extensions, your brand will be front and center whenever anyone searches for what you do. Here's a quick reference for Google Ads.

4. Text Messages (SMS or MMS)

About 90% of people want to receive texts from a business. That's why so many will opt in to updates and promotions. Texts have a 99% engagement rate, and will help you drive repeat purchases.

You can also send images and links to promote current sales.

Related: 5 SMS Marketing Myths That Could Be Ruining Your Strategy

5. Short Emails

55% of email opens come from mobile devices, so if you can stand out in the inbox (with punchy subject lines, emojis, and helpful value propositions), it's very easy to get customers to take a next step. 

Okay, so what does all this mean?

Rule #1 is always to target the device and the platform that your target customers spend the most time on.

If they listen to radio, target radio. If they're glued to their smartphones, try email, text messages, and video content.

If you're still not sure which device is best for you to target your customers on, our final recommendation is to try several at once - without spending much money on any one thing - to see which gets the most traction.

Then build on that success. Once you're targeting the right people on the right devices at the right time, your customer acquisition will soar!

Related: 5 Steps to Drive Targeted Viewers to Your Website