How to Identify What Websites Your Target Audience is Hanging Out (to then run ad campaigns on these websites)

When you want to start acquiring new users via paid advertisement you first have to figure out where your target audience is hanging out.

If you don’t know what websites your target audience is using, then you have to start from scratch without any clue on what placements to run your ad campaigns. Chances are then high that your campaigns fail.

To make paid traffic work, you have to run your ad campaigns to the right audience.

Do you know what sites (besides yours) your users are visiting?

If you could track these websites, then you could start placing (banner) ads on these websites to acquire new users that are similar to your existing ones.

So are you wondering if there’s a way to find these websites your target audience is using?

Well, the bad news is that you can’t track directly what websites your users are browsing to after they have left your site ….

But the good news is – you can find out about it indirectly.

You just have to spend some money on Googles Retargeting / Remarketing feature. But IMHO it’s worth every penny.

Retargeting in general helps you to reach past website visitors. Once setup a Google AdWords Retargeting Display campaign your banner ads will be shown to people who have visited your website in the past. (For more information about why to use retargeting and different retargeting tactics, read this article (link coming soon).)

In our case the primary goal for now of retargeting isn’t to bring back people to our website (so that they sign up or buy). Our main purpose is to find out the sites our users are visiting besides our site. This information can be found right inside your Retargeting Campaign Statistics.

Let’s take a look where you’ll find this information:

Step 1 – Set up a Display Campaign in Google AdWords using Retargeting

Create display banner ads in at least these 3 dimensions: 300×250, 728×90, and 160×600. This way you ensure that Google can display your image ads across all placements on the Display Network (Check out Google’s Guide To Display Ads for more info about how to create effective display ads). Then inside AdWords create a display campaign where you upload your 3 banner ads.

Keep in mind, our goal in this case is not to drive traffic to our website. We’re running this ad campaign to get insights what other pages our visitors are browsing to on the internet. So you can just use your homepage url as your target url to keep the campaign setup fast and simple.

The important thing here is to choose as targeting option “All Visitors” REMARKETING (click here for more details how to exactly create your first remarketing campaign with “all visitor” targeting).

Step 2 – Find the top websites your existing users are hanging out

Run the remarketing campaign untill you get enough impressions for your banner ads. Depending on your audience size of your remarketing list, you have to wait between some days or several weeks until you’ve received enough data.

Inside your remarketing campaign click on the “Placements” tab that is nested under “Display Network”. There you’ll then see the websites (Google call them placements) you’re banner ads have been shown up. Sort the table by “Impressions” to see the website with the highest banner impressions. If your bids are high enough, the websites with the highest banner impressions equals the website with the most traffic.

Step 3 – Run a new display campaign targeting the websites your audience is hanging out

Now you know the websites your existing users are hanging out. So start a new display campaign in AdWords targeting these websites.

That’s it. We simply used retargeting to find sites our audience is hanging out. Then afterwards we can run display ads on these websites to acquire new users / customers.

You’d probably get high conversion rates on these placements as we’re running ads to an audience that is similar to our existing users.

In case you don’t get good results instantly, optimize your banner ads and landing pages to have a better message match.

Also you can use the list of websites to get new targeting ideas. Use Google Display Planner to get more suggestions about websites that are similar to the ones you’ve just found out.

Let’s Summarize

  • Use retargeting to know what sites your existing users are browsing to after they have left your site.
  • Run a display campaign on these websites to acquire new users / customers.

Do you know some other strategies to find out where your target audience is hanging out? Would love to hear about it in the comments section below! Also feel free to post your questions in the comments section below!

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