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Men Buy Fabric Softener?

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Earlier today, Ky Henderson published a very interesting blog post on Mediapost’s Engage:Men blog, entitled Hey! Men Buy Fabric Softerner, Too. He talks about how some marketers risk alienating half of their consumers when they come out with campaigns that unintentionally insult one of the genders, and that the “Mr. Mom” male audience has been largely ignored by advertisers.

I agree with him, and while his post is about marketing strategy, it also reminded me of the importance of Media Targeting.

Quick, tell me: if I want to target males online, which sites should I include in my media plan?

Did you think of sports sites, auto sites, and comedy sites?

Me, too.

Some people can argue that we’re stereotyping but numbers don’t lie. Sites likes these do skew towards males.

But how do we reach males who aren’t into sports? Who aren’t into cars? Who have a different sense of humor?

What if he likes to read, or build houses, or cook? What if he likes going fishing or ziplining or looking for baby seals?

Sure, to reach men with those interests, you can buy ad space on endemic sites, or vertical-specific sites (like the Food Network or HGTV or Bloomberg). You can apply demographic targeting. Or better yet, you can utilize registration data to make sure that your ads are shown to males. But in addition to those tactics, there are different kinds of media targeting that may be layered into a media plan:

  • Contextual Targeting – reach consumers who are viewing webpages containing relevant content, based on specific keywords or categories. For example, you can come up with a list of keywords that you think your male audience will be interested in, and every time those keywords appear in an article, your ad will be shown.
  • Retargeting – reach consumers who have already engaged with your brand (whether they have visited your site, performed a search query, or converted against a specific goal) and follow them around the internet with appropriate and custom messaging.  For example, you’re an online retailer selling golf clubs. A consumer visits your site and places a set of men’s golf clubs in his shopping cart but abandons it without completing the purchase. Through the use of of cookie and pixel technology – without knowing any of this consumer’s personal information – you can serve him a reminder ad the next time he goes online and show customized messaging as he surfs around the Internet.
  • Look Alike Targeting – reach consumers who “look like” your preferred audience by analyzing the online behavioral patterns of those who have already demonstrated a specific behavior or generated a conversion on your site, and finding consumers who exhibit similar behaviors. For example, if you have a case study on your site that’s crafted for males, you can build a cookie pool of users who have downloaded that case study – without knowing any of their personal information – and analyze their online behavioral patterns. Then you can target other consumers who exhibit the same online behaviors; because they “look like” your preferred audience, they may be interested in downloading your case study as well.
  • Social Targeting – reach consumers by utilizing digital social connections and profiles. For example, based on internal data, you find out that your biggest brand enthusiasts are teenage males. You can look at their social graphs – without knowing any of their personal information – and target their social connections; this audience might be interested in your brand as well.

Admittedly, these targeting tactics are not fool-proof ways to ensure that you’re only reaching males. Maybe it was a female who bought that set of golf clubs, or maybe it was a female who’s reading that sports article. However, what these targeting options can do is to expand your opportunities to reach your intended audience outside of “the usual” sites. It lets you dial in further in case your target audience is on other sites, reading other articles, feeding their other interests.

For men, it’s not just sports, cars, and humor. Because as that Mediapost blog post stated, men buy fabric softener, too. And they have a lot of other interests and visit a whole host of sites that will be hard to exhaust. Applying different media targeting tactics will give you a more robust media plan and will help you reach your audience more efficiently.

You can contact us anytime if you have any questions or need help with your online marketing campaigns.

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