David Kusserow



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With targeting, website operators try to address their target group with exactly fitting content or advertisements in order to increase the reach of their own website. A special form is retargeting, in which visitors who have already been to the target page are drawn to the page again.


With targeting (from English “target”, thus approximately target group speech) one tries to align web contents as exactly as possible to the own target group. In search engine optimization (SEO), targeting is an important aspect because the better the content is targeted to your audience, the better the click through rate (CTR). Targeting also plays a major role in the sub-discipline of SEA (search engine advertising), in order to keep scattering losses as low as possible when advertising on Search Engine Result Pages(SERPs).

What are the requirements for targeting?

In order to be able to carry out targeting at all, the target group must first be defined and found. The more precisely the target group of the advertising – i.e. the recipients of the advertising message – can be defined, the better the targeting will work.

After the target group has been defined as precisely as possible, a marketing strategy can be developed. In order to develop an advertising strategy that is as effective as possible, cookies are primarily used in online marketing. These small pieces of data about the users of the Internet provide important information about their search and buying behavior and thus the basis for effective targeting.

What are the targeting methods?

  • Content targeting: In this variant of targeting, the advertising is based on the keywords and the topic of the page to which the advertising should lead the user.
  • Keyword targeting: here, advertisements are simply presented when a specific term is searched for.
  • Semantic targeting: Here, the help of software is enlisted that not only works with the keywords, but can also capture the context of whole blocks of text. In this way, a user who visits a page on a certain topic can be shown advertisements for a product that is close to the topic.
  • Socio-demographic targeting: Tools such as Google Analytics allow website operators to retrieve a lot of data about their own users, such as age, gender or place of residence. Accordingly, it is possible to design one’s own advertisement in such a way that it appeals to one’s own target group and, for example, a search engine presents the advertisement to the users of this target group.
  • Behavioral targeting: Just as tools can display a visitor’s socio-demographic data (anonymized) to the operator of a website, a webmaster can use similar tools to draw conclusions about the surfing behavior of his users. Against the background of this information, the webmaster can design advertisements for his users.
  • Social Media Targeting: Here the advertiser specifically uses social networks to both gain information about his target audience – and to present his website or product to them.
  • IP targeting: Bytargeting users with specific IP addresses, local advertisements can be controlled. This makes sense especially for local businesses that want to address customers in their immediate vicinity.

  • Retargeting
    : If advertising is specifically designed to drive previous visitors back to your site, retargeting can potentially turn them into customers.

What are the dangers of targeting?

The better the targeting, the more potential customers will be shown the right ads. What initially sounds like a good development can irritate the target group at the same time. It is possible that viewers may feel ads are more likely to annoy and “stalk” them due to the custom-fit ads.

To ensure that users are not put off by intrusive advertising, advertisers should be particularly careful with behavioural targeting and retargeting. Otherwise, an aggressive advertising strategy can have the opposite effect.


Targeting is a good way to better communicate your content to your audience. Used correctly, it lowers the bounce rate and increases the click through rate. Both Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are of great importance for your own search engine results, because Google, Bing & co use them as an indicator for the quality of a page.


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