For marketing teams, the final quarter of the year is more or less a tug of war between wanting to get the most out of the seasonal chaos and wanting to keep the advertising costs minimal. Custom audience targeting, powered by accurate and timely data, can boost your game plan to a whole new level.

Here’s a story of success about how AnalyticsIQ and an agency teamed up to target the right audiences and leverage performance. This study on custom audience-based campaigns is definitely worth a read!


A Tailored Strategy for Navigating Unique Challenges

To say reaching niche audiences is challenging is an understatement. Between rising media costs and declining share of voice in media, brands must make each dollar work harder. In many cases, you can do it by adjusting a media plan, updating creative, or including a new offer.

However, none of those aspects matter if you are not reaching the right people. There is no season when this is more true than the upcoming holiday period. In fact, ads in November are 43% more expensive on Meta, meaning buyers are literally getting less for their dollars. Incorporating custom audience targeting in your Q4 marketing plan can unlock game-changing performance, even and especially when facing unique challenges.

How an Agency’s Data-driven Strategy Led to Better Results

Lessing-Flynn, the longest-standing independently owned agency in the United States, understands the importance of carefully refining an audience to maximize performance for its clients. They teamed up with AnalyticsIQ to identify decision-makers in the animal nutrition space, an audience critical for one of their clients. Obviously, this was not as simple as identifying moms in the market for toilet paper.

Some media teams would assume with an audience so niche, they should simply “go wide” to capture ANY potential prospects. However, AnalyticsIQ and Lessing-Flynn collaborated on the possible professions that should be included, using both NAICS and SIC codes, and went deeper to the extent of focusing on specialization within animal species.

Collaboration Unlocks High-Performance Custom Models

An open dialogue from the beginning allowed the AnalyticsIQ team to hone in on what could really make an impact on this client. By understanding the client’s prospects, our team was able to create custom audiences designed to balance scale and accuracy.

“AnalyticsIQ understands our clients’ needs, goals & campaign requirements. They’re highly responsive & always give us detailed audience suggestions. Most importantly, the performance speaks to the quality of their data.”

Shannon Hughes
Director of Digital & Media Strategy @ Lessing-Flynn


The Proof Is in the Performance

The end result was a soaring success. The custom audience-based campaigns exceeded the target benchmark for this vertical by 27%. Within this specific campaign, media that targeted AnalyticsIQ’s custom audiences outperformed other audience targets by as much as 2.3 times.


Which Industries Benefit from Custom Audience Targeting?

Carefully crafted custom audiences can boost the performance for nearly every vertical. This includes industries with extremely niche audiences, like the animal nutrition use case described above. However, custom audiences can also be beneficial for brands with broad targets as well. In fact, insurance, finance, automotive, retail and adtech are some of the industries that regularly turn to custom modeling to boost performance.

Fueling Performance During Competitive Seasons with Custom Audiences

While custom models can improve performance year-round, there are certain seasons when their application will have an outsized impact on the bottom line. This is typically during periods when media costs increase. October, November, and December (Q4) are consistently high-cost time periods for marketers across industries. This is because the entire advertising ecosystem, whether auction-based or not, is reliant on supply and demand principles. More brands are attempting to engage customers to cash in on holiday and end-of-year spending.

Ad costs can increase by 25% or more during the weeks surrounding Black Friday, according to the American Marketing Association.

Managing the Increased Media Costs of Q4 Marketing

Many marketers simply choose to opt out of paid spend or drastically reduce spending during the highest spikes in ad costs, mainly in November and December. Obviously, this only applies to marketers who don’t attempt to win holiday dollars. Many industries depend on solid Q4 revenue to make their year and do not have the luxury of simply “sitting this one out.” In fact, Cyber Monday broke the record for the biggest online shopping day, with $11.3 billion in sales last year!

Here’s how you can leverage the profitable season by understanding your target custom audiences better!

Deep discounts can drive conversions but apply selectively

In the pursuit of conversions, many brands offer major discounts. It can be a smart move when consumers are managing inflation and making tough choices! However, not all prospects within your target are the same, and some may respond better to an offer for free shipping, while others will load their cart if offering 25% orders over $300. The point is, even if you have refined your target and plan to make offers available, do so intelligently to maximize the impact of your ad dollars.

Offer ‘buy now, pay later’ options for customers to take better advantage of deals

BNPL services are anticipated to increase by a whopping 17% compared with 2022. When considering the impact of recent inflation, particularly on women, it is no surprise that consumers want to spread out the impact of their spending over a longer period.

According to Adobe’s research, 1 in 5 consumers plan to use BNPL options this buying season. The question is, which consumers will be attracted to these options and perhaps even change their selections based on the offer? And for the other 80%, can we use our media investment more wisely and reach them with a more strategic offer to maximize conversion? Custom audience targeting can help immensely here.

Guide mobile-hungry users to environments ideal for conversion

According to Adobe Analytics research, mobile spend is anticipated to increase and surpass desktop conversions during this holiday shopping period, with 51.2% of online spend. However, 51.2% is still a far cry from 100%. Many consumers may still prefer the desktop experience. When making decisions on resourcing, whether it be for a mobile app, mobile browser, or desktop, let data be a determining factor. Append your customer data with attitudes towards technology, and in particular online shopping to deliver effective Q4 marketing campaigns.

Reduce return rates with intelligent custom audience targeting

According to Pitney Bowes, online returns cost a retailer around 21% of the order value. Ouch! If returns are negatively impacting the bottom line of your brand, a new custom audience can strike the right balance. So, maintain consumers that are in-market and likely to convert. But reduce the volume of ads pointed at segments of your audience that are likely to be high-volume returners.

One-Size-Does-Not-Fit-All During High Media Cost Seasons

Now is not the time to cast a wide net, attempting to reach everyone and seeing what sticks. Using custom audiences and appended datasets can help answer a lot of questions about both niche audiences and holiday shoppers. Not sure where to begin? Reach out to our team of data science experts by emailing, and let’s brainstorm. Our custom audience targeting strategies help our clients unlock new levels of performance, no matter the season.