Attention spans are the currency of digital advertising today. That’s why CMOs at big brands are making personalization a priority. Recently, a mobile marketing automation company, Kahuna, conducted a survey of marketing leaders. Every single respondent ranked personalization as a #1 marketing priority. But only 10% reported having the tools to implement their ideas. Ouch.

At the same time, consumers’ expectations are rising. On-demand culture is creating new digital economies, especially in major metropolitan markets—all over the world. Meanwhile, human attention spans are shrinking (yes, seriously—check out this report).

Targeting will be more important to your marketing strategy, than ever.  Here are 3 simple steps that your marketing team and advertising partners can take to optimize their audience targeting strategies.

Work with partners that create the right advertising experiences for your target audiences. The use of ad blocking technology is on the rise, according to recent research. Some advertisers might try to find “hacks” and make their way to audiences’ computers, regardless. Don’t do this.

Outsmart the noise by creating a campaign and building a brand that people actually pay attention to. Couple strong creative concepts with the right video distribution channels.

As an example, Intuit’s Small Business Big Game competition invited small businesses to share their inspiring stories in the hopes of becoming the Small Business Big Game grand prize winner. The small business with the most votes won a :30 commercial during the Big Game.

Giant Media leveraged the video content and drove participation using a proprietary advanced targeting platform that finds the right audience in the right place. These capabilities sparked interest in the days leading up to the big game. The video series introduced the four finalists and culminated with the announcement of the winning business, GoldieBlox.

The campaign worked because the right messages reached the right audiences at the right time. Technology, running in the background, helped create those connections.

Work with partners who can use data additively to build complete customer pictures. From your own CRM to third-party data-as-a-service (DaaS) providers, advertisers have an opportunity to build rich customer profiles. The challenge, however, is that few companies know how to work with this type of data.

It’s important to work with advertising partners that have experience reaching the same audiences that you’re trying to reach, too. For example Reebok turned to Giant Media to promote a recent shoe launch. Giant Media has strong CPG experience, having worked with brands like Acuvue, Gillette, and Dollar Shave Club.

Look for advertising partners that use data as a strategic advantage. When evaluating your options, ask for success metrics. Uncover their data sources. Figure out how they’re improving their customer profiles over time. The bottom line is by combining your brand’s 1st party data with a partner’s, that data has the potential to get better over time.

Instead of starting from scratch, build look-a-like models for your campaigns. You know your own customers best, so why not use it to grow your target audience and reach these individuals with the right message, faster?

In today’s digital advertising world, speed is important. At any given time, your competitors have a direct line of communication to your audience. You need to get to the finish line first.

One way to launch a campaign more quickly is to use look-a-like modeling in your targeting. Take a look at your highest value customers and your most engaged audiences. Work with an advertising partner that can help you create a complete customer profile.

The bottom line: lookalike modeling can help you get a head start.

Final Thoughts

The key to successful targeting is to know your basics. What are the demographic attributes of the people you’re trying to reach? Does geography play a role? Think of your audience targeting program as a set of bare bones.