Precision targeting using ‘Audiences’

5 minute read

‘Audiences’ is the feature which makes targeting precise interest groups from your database simple, so you can make your marketing more relevant than ever before. When you break it down, creating an audience, even a slightly more complicated one, is relatively easy.


If you’ve been keeping up with my previous blog posts you’ll already know that there are currently seven ‘Dimensions’ that you can use to define your Audience. They are:

  • Engagement
  • Geo-location
  • Profiles
  • Lists
  • Frequency
  • Subscription date
  • Email domain


Using one of these dimensions to define an audience creates an additional filter which is applied at the point when your email is scheduled. Of your main recipient list only those subscribers which fit the audience (either by virtue of their inclusion or exclusion in the said dimension) will be included in the delivery.

But did you know? You can also use multiple dimensions to define a more complex audience. It’s best illustrated by way of an example. If you are familiar with set theory and Venn diagrams this might come just a little easier.

Imagine the circle below represents the list which you’ve selected for your email to be delivered to. This can either be a single list or could be made up as a list group – including and excluding subscribers from a number of lists. Without an audience, scheduling your email to this list would result in delivery to all of the included subscribers (excluding any suspended or unsubscribed contacts of course). In Venn diagram terminology this blue circle is itself already a subset of your ‘Universal Set’ – that is it’s a sub-set of all of the subscribers that you hold in the system.


Applying an audience based on inclusion of the profile characteristic of being female would apply an additional filter so as to only include those subscribers who fit the female profile – in this case the next level of sub-set of the original list is now indicated by the smaller green circle.


Adding another dimension can then be used to further refine the delivery. For example including an additional geo-location dimension of subscribers within 100 miles of a given point (indicated by data in the pink circle) now combines these 2 effects together. The recipient audience is now refined to the ‘intersect’ of these regions – denoted by the orange region of the original list data. Note that it’s not the ‘union’ – that is subscribers who appear in either one or the other, but those which occur in both.


Continuing our example we could now also define an engagement type of definition by only including any 5-star subscriber – this email campaign is only intended for your most engaged (and of course the previously included female, 100 mile local) subscribers. Applying this final filter creates a final audience refinement indicated by the central darker green region of the diagram – a further intersection. This is now the effective data set of this multiple dimension audience.


Two points to note:

Firstly, the audience is applied once the list (or list group) has already been selected. In this way the audience acts as an additional filter (think of it as an additional layer of sieve), being applied to the original list definition – when you are in the SEND section of the platform you’ll see the ‘Select and audience’ as a second stage immediately after where you select your original recipient list.

Secondly, once defined the audience is dynamic. That means you only need to define a given audience once. Each time it is applied, existing subscribers will automatically be included or excluded depending on how they fit the profiling dimensions. If you use audiences regularly, set up and save your standard audience definitions, then you can simply select and apply them at the point of scheduling your emails.