Ad Targeting 2018

Ad Targeting 2018

Households, Individuals or Both? Why a Blended Approach Is Often the Answer

Recognizing and targeting audiences across devices is a must for any marketer hoping to engage customers in a more unified manner. But how marketers identify and pursue these audiences depends on a variety of factors, including their objectives, their chosen identity graphs and their channel mix.

  • The household is often the central focus of ad targeting efforts for companies selling items that are shared by household members or products and services centered around life events (such as buying a new home or sending a child to college). For some marketers, lack of individual-level data may also necessitate a primary focus on households. This is often the case for consumer packaged goods (CPGs) companies lacking direct-to-consumer relationships—and data. Those leaning heavily on channels organically targeted at households, such as television and direct mail, also tend to focus here.
  • Marketers eyeing digital often seek a more one-to-one audience targeting approach. For many focusing at the individual level, benefits of more real-time and refined targeting practices, coupled with more personalized messages, are seen as ideal ingredients for driving greater customer engagement, and ultimately, revenues.
  • For a growing number of marketers, targeting households or individuals is not an either-or decision. Many brands combine individual- and household-level targeting practices to capitalize on the customer journey and better realize core marketing objectives, such as optimizing reach and frequency throughout that journey.
  • Still, marketers must proceed with caution when marrying the audience identity graphs behind both data sets and deploying the channel sets required to make individual- and household-level targeting work. eMarketer highlights questions marketers should be asking of any ad targeting service provider or identity solution.


Lauren Fisher


Caroline Cakebread
Junior Analyst
Nicole Perrin
Senior Analyst
Tracy Tang
Senior Researcher
Yoram Wurmser
Principal Analyst