Microtargeting Washington Post Readers

[Click here for more about political microtargeting.]

If you’re a regular e.politics reader, you know I’m crazy for microtargeting and niche marketing. The Washington Post turns out to have some frankly amazing tools for zeroing in your message on particular categories of readers.

You want to reach Hill staff? Boom, the Post can put your ads in front of every person coming from the house.gov and senate.gov domains. How’s THAT for targeting? But wait, there’s more…

Need to make sure that BP and Exxon executives get your message? Yep, the Post’s ad guys are happy to sell you a package that makes sure that every person coming to their sites (the Post.com, Slate, Newsweek) from those companies’ networks get a smack in the head from your campaign.

Note that this level of targeting relies purely on the IP number of the server that requests the page — once you start using the demographic data that the company gathers from Post.com readers, they can geotarget with around 95% accuracy (solving the old problem of every AOL subscriber appearing to live in Vienna, VA). Want to add all households on Capitol Hill to your ad buy? The Post claims they can do it. They can also target by age and income.

This kind of slicing and dicing, which I’m sure other publishers will offer in the future if they don’t already, opens up fascinating new levels of niche marketing. Imagine hitting employees of a particular federal agency on every website that they commonly read and on the email newsletters to which they usually subscribe. Toss in some print ads in the Metro station by their offices and they’ll feel downright beseiged. And, if you’re trying to influence legislation, add some cable tv to your mix: since congressional staff tend to cluster in certain neighborhoods (the Hill, Rosslyn, etc.), you can buy cable ads targeted to where they live and really make them feel loved.

Advertising is all about reaching the right people with the right message, and microtargeting is the equivalent of a smart bomb. Now, if we could only come up with a decent message at the same time that we have a big ad budget….


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Written by
Colin Delany
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