The Future of Digital Targeting: Trends & Strategies for 2021

3 Essential Digital Targeting Trends in 2021

Table of Contents

  1. Digital Retargeting
  2. Location Based Digital Targeting
  3. Customer Segmentation & Digital Targeting Strategy

We’re living in the fast-paced online era. Have you considered the power of digital targeting?

It’s an age-old marketing and advertising concept that uses customer data from online networks. Of course, this discipline is changing alongside the ever-shifting online advertising landscape.

How exactly?

Here is BRICK‘s focus on digital targeting, data, and how businesses should be doing it in 2021.

Digital Retargeting

Retargeting involves using data within potential customers’ cookies to deliver relevant ads after they exit a website. The method requires running a campaign between a website and another platform like Google or Facebook.

Retargeting has seemed a perfect approach for companies looking to create awareness or leads, with data suggesting that retargeted ads generate 70% conversions.

Small companies and startups with modest ad budgets should use retargeting because it focuses on more relevant intent-driven customers instead of catch-all demographics.

However, customer surveys reveal potentially negative impacts. Retargeting campaigns with unprecise metrics often deliver too many ads to the wrong leads and harm the customer experience.  

a diagram on the negative impact of digital retargeting
Source: Familiary Frequency & Highlights (InSkin)

So, how can a business improve its retargeting efforts?

Optimizing Retargeting with Intent Data

Intent data is data on a website users’ behaviors that offers insight into their interests and indicates actions they’re looking to take. It differs from affinity or demographic segments in that it can help contextualize specific behaviors within a buyer’s journey.

While only 25% of B2B companies currently use intent data, it will be an essential component of successful retargeting campaigns in 2021.

Companies can identify customer actions within the sales funnel and coordinate more relevant ads that don’t detract from the buying experience. 

This process can start with first-party data collected on an individual business’ website. BRICK recommends the following behavior targeting strategy with intent data:

  • Define specific website actions to steps in the buyer’s journey
  • Create corresponding ads
  • Set up tracking points and triggers

Location-Based Digital Targeting

Location-based advertising (LBA) delivers targeted ads to customers within a specific geographic region. 

There are four subset processes:

  • Geo-fencing: establishing a fence-like radius around an area for targeted ads.
  • Geo-targeting: delivering location-based advertisements that also use customer demographic information  
  • Geo-conquesting: deploying ads around a competitor location
  • Proximity marketing: micro-digital targeting of an exact location or specific radius of 200 ft
a chart on the benefits of location-based digital targeting
Source: Location-Advertising Report (Factual 2019)

Advertisers are experiencing greater returns on location-based digital targeting each year, notably increased sales and customer audience growth.

LBA offers the followings benefits to advertisers:

There’s a higher likelihood of delivering a relevant ad to the customer based on their location.

Advertisements reach customers at precise moments when they are in proximity to the retailer or target area

Localized audience behavior segments help define targeted ad deployment.


Define high foot-traffic location in geo-targeting

Make sure a location-targeted area includes pedestrian traffic so that more potential customers receive the advertisement.

Mobile Apps & Location-based Digital Targeting

Did you know 67% of smartphone users are more likely to convert into customers at companies that deploy location-customized ads?

Since smartphones contain real-time customer location data, there is an opportunity for businesses with mobile applications to use push notifications and location-based advertising.

The technology and current surveys explain why mobile app location-based targeting is projected to grow into a 32.7-billion-dollar industry by 2023.

a chart on the current projections for mobile app digital retargeting spend
Source: Statista (2021)

Customer Segmentation & Digital Targeting Strategy

Successful marketing that uses audience targets requires new methods of customer segmentation. While traditional segmentation follows customer values, shifting towards customer goals will be critical to audience targeting campaigns in 2021. 

Goal-based Segmentation

A goal-based approach uses digital behavior to identify audience segments that have a higher likelihood of converting. The segmentation strategy follows users online’ direct actions to determine high-value groups that receive relevant ads. 

Why is goal-based segmentation essential to audience targeting? It allows businesses to personalize their customers more in correspondence with individual steps of the buyer’s journey. 

This ultimately maximizes ad spend by aligning advertising with high-value customers, saving businesses time and money! 

For example, one e-commerce study found that 70% of online buyers abandon their cart before purchase. 

Intent-based segmentation would help identify this group as high-value because they’re about to buy. Furthermore, exit-intent campaigns that target this type of data convert higher rates of around 2-4%.  

BRICK suggests assigning intent-based customer goals to web actions that trigger unique advertisements. 

a diagram on the buyers journey
Source: Brightedge

TLDR? Here’s BRICK’s Key Takeaways:

1.    Digital targeting is changing in 2021, with retargeting and local audience targeting becoming two essential methods that drive results.

2.    Retargeting campaigns can produce a negative customer experience due to excessive and repeated ad exposure.

3.    Only 25% of B2B businesses use intent data. This data is critical to successful retargeting campaigns because it allows companies to align advertisements with buyer behavior and goals.

4.    Location-based advertising (LBA) continues to help marketers increase sales and grow their audience.

5.    Mobile app location-based targeting is projected to grow into a 32.7-billion-dollar industry by 2023.

6.    Using behavior and goal-based segments is a growing practice in marketing that delivers better conversions, especially in retargeting campaigns.