Digital Marketing Targeting Options


What is targeting, you ask. 

Well — in the world of marketing, targeting allows you to focus your efforts on the best audience so you spend your ad dollars wisely and raise more awareness for your apartment complex. 

For example, if you have a brand new Class A property in Houston, TX, you shouldn’t be advertising to high school students in Montana. That would not generate qualified traffic to your website or property and essentially be a huge waste of time and money. 

There really isn’t a big mystery around demographic and geographic targeting. It’s really as simple as knowing your apartment community’s brand, perception, your renters and where your target audience lives. These are simple insights that your leasing agents, and property managers know.  

A few examples of key insights that you should have access too include: 

  • Awareness that people in your city commute as far as 20 miles to go to work. This information expands your geographic targeting area in all directions since someone would be willing to move into your community and work at a location up to 20 miles in each direction.  

  • In contrast, some areas are more pedestrian-friendly and people prefer to live, work and play in the same area. They want to live within one to two miles of their job. If this is the case, you’re now targeting a much smaller geographic area and a smaller demographic.

These are two very different people that you’d advertise towards and can reach through effective targeting efforts. 

Make Your Targeting Efforts Work

When you advertise on the web, you create effective audiences and campaigns through targeting. Two of the most popular platforms are Google and Facebook. Let’s explore the methods for targeting effectively on these popular platforms.  


Google categorizes targeting options under two main themes: contextual targeting and audience targeting

Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting is used for Google’s Display Network and involves keyword, topic and placement targeting. Google's bots crawl the content of each website and determine a theme for each site.  

For example, if your website has copy about apartments and a specific city, it determines that you’re a site that gives users info about apartments for that city. It then uses keywords, topics and other factors to match users’ searches to your website.

This data determines ads that will show on a website to ensure that Google is showing ads on websites that fit the demographic. If your residents tend to be young and active, we can target websites that follow the theme of fitness, active lifestyles and healthy living. Ads trigger on those sites for any user who’s been searching with the keywords that you’re targeting and that Google has associated with your site.

Audience Targeting

Audience targeting is used for Google’s Search Network and involves interest category marketing, location demographics, remarketing and similar users. Google’s system provides many options for interest targeting to show ads based on people’s interest and sites they frequent.  

Demographic targeting gives marketers the option to target users based on age, gender or location.  Remarketing offers the ability to track users who complete specific actions, like visiting a website or signing up for an email list. And similar users utilizes Google’s data to create users who look like your existing audience base. Note that you’ll need a sizable remarketing base to create an effective audience.

Audience targeting is highly effective. For example, you can target an audience of users who are between the ages of 25-35 that are interested in fitness and working out and have visited your website within the last month.

So you might ask yourself, what’s the difference between audience targeting and contextual targeting?  And which one should I choose?  

Well, you’ll actually want to use both. If we combine our targeting efforts in our examples, we are now not only showing up for “apartments” searches for the 25-35 year old who’s into fitness, but we can also trigger our display and remarketing ads across the internet for any websites that fall into the fitness and active lifestyle categories, such as blogs and magazines. 


Facebook has endless data on its users so it’s most effective targeting techniques undoubtedly revolve around audiences.

Demographics vs Interest

Facebook uses demographic targeting to target ads based on age, gender, location and language. These are basic options that will allow you to target users based on their traditional demographics. 

For example, if you are a student housing property you can advertise to people who are located near your property and are college aged.

In addition, Facebook allows advertisers to target based on interests. In fact, some of the most detailed marketing options are focused around basic interests such as category of pages they like and types of people they follow. 

You can target general topics like real estate to more specific interests like Zillow to get very successful results. 

Finally, Facebook also offers behavior targeting. This gets more granular and we use offline data coupled with Facebook profile data in order to build audiences. For example, someone who has real estate behavior would be owners or employees of a business in the industry. This data is collected from B2B surveys and other sources that match user names and emails to that offline data. 

Using Targeting in Your Marketing Efforts

There are plenty of options and methods for effectively targeting a specific audience.  

Determining the best targeting options for your company depends on the size of your audience, the location and your goals. A typical effective audience size really changes from industry to industry. 

For example, an audience of 100,000 people when you’re a nationwide brand like Nike is very small. However, that same size audience for people who live within 10 miles of your property, are current apartment renters, make over $75K and can afford your premium rent is a huge audience because you only need a few hundred leases.

We can help you build your audience through effective targeting techniques. Our Social Kapture Digital Ads Managers spend hours researching, studying and monitoring the latest trends to keep up to date on all the best practices for targeting that each platform has to offer. We stay knowledgeable so that you don’t have to worry about the details, — just focus on the results.

Annette Smith