Sep'22·Jordi Capdevila·3 MIN
Niche Audience: How brands identify and speak to them
Despite the fact that large parts of the human population were isolated from one another recently, the internet played a key role in continuing to foster the basic human need to connect with like-minded people across the globe.
We saw more and more groups with similar narrow interests coming together even more than before. And with that, came the opportunity to market products and services to these niche groups. For example, we witnessed a sudden leap in the number of home-based bread makers who specialized in sourdough bread, and went on to make it a legitimate side hustle.
Social media was full of people posting pictures, sharing results from their experiments, online classes and much more. This was just one of numerous groups that cropped up since 2020.
Defining Niche Audience
So what is a niche audience? Simply put, a niche market or a niche audience is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused.
For example, ‘shoes’ is a broad category by itself but appeals to everyone who buys shoes. ‘Women’s shoes’ is a relatively narrow category of footwear, but is still quite broad, covering everything from flats to boots to sneakers to heels.
However, a niche market would be something very narrow as ‘shoes for nurses’ or ‘shoes with vegan leather’. Each of these solves a different need or aspiration under a larger umbrella and would need to have their own messaging and targeting.
Given the growth of the ‘niche audience’, today’s marketers have their work cut out for them to identify the audience and target them with the relevant messaging that can drive engagement.
Niche Keywords and Context
While contextual targeting has proven to be very useful in being able to target these niche audiences where relevant, identifying how to maximize one’s reach beyond the obvious is the first step.
Discovering the sample set of niche keywords to help any algorithm discover the right context is important. Many of this may be obvious and many not so obvious. Expanding on our previous example of sourdough bread, one would probably target only a handful of keywords like bread, bakers, home bakers, etc. By leveraging tools, one can extend the same set to cover keywords like beginners guide, covid hobbies, yeast, artisanal bread, sandwich recipes, brioche bread, etc.
Contextual advertising allows brands to look at avenues and groups that they would not have otherwise advertised to if they stuck merely to keywords. Using the keyword list for affiliate products or services also works great at reaching a particular niche audience. For example, technology and consulting companies would look at running ads on websites visited by golfers, a majority of whom would be decision makers at multi-million dollar companies.
Creativity with context
While everyone has access to the same tools, how creative their content and ads are makes all the difference. A luxury sedan trying to sell to a CEO who goes golfing would be better suited to have an ad that showcases how they can fit golf clubs in the boot of the car rather than talk about fuel efficiency of the car. A cruelty-free cosmetics brand will build better brand loyalty with a vegan audience by stressing on their manufacturing process than with only a glamor quotient.
Procter & Gamble (P&G) built over 350 personas across their products, such as first-time mums, millennial professionals, first-time washing machine users and have been able to create ads that target the right people at the right time.
Monitoring audience engagement in niche segment
Once you’ve identified your audience, the specific-message with which you can drive engagement and all the possible places you can target them, it’s important to consistently monitor engagement with this audience. The cost of targeting vs. potential returns and opportunities needs to be tracked.
The challenge with a niche audience is that while there might be less competition, it is easy to over market to them and maximize returns quickly thus leading to subsequent drying up of the opportunities from the niche audience.
While marketing to a niche audience is a departure from the regular mass-market messaging or contextual targeting that companies are used to, the fact remains that when done correctly, audiences will receive exactly what they are looking for and will ultimately result in better brand awareness and increased revenue.
However, it is important to point out that by focussing all of one’s resources on just the niche audience, there is a very high probability that a business would end up missing out on larger previously undiscovered opportunities. It’s important to track the entire market to know where to invest effort to see maximum returns.
With customers spoilt for choices, brands constant struggle for attention and rise of cookieless and pro-privacy engagement strategies, it makes for a more prudent strategy for marketers to explore targeting niche audiences through contextual advertising to maximize impact and create long term brand loyalty. We at Seedtag have a history of helping clients successfully adopt contextual advertising and level up their marketing game. Do write in to explore how we can help you kickstart your journey.