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Marketing 360® Blog

This is Why Your Advertising Reach Must Be Targeted

Reach is an advertising goal that’s often overemphasized. In the digital world, reach is meaningless unless you reach the right people with a relevant message.

Social media influencer Arii seemed to have all the pieces in place to sell merchandise through Instagram. After all, she had the main element: 2.6 million followers.

But she gained notoriety for something she didn’t expect (or want). When she rolled-our her clothing merch, she sold all of 36 pieces. It was a flop so major it had people wondering if the age of the social media influencer is over.

Arii had her excuses, but as people commented about the debacle on Twitter, a theme arose, summed-up well in this post:

One person showed this with photos from her feed side-by-side with her product line. He notes that he couldn’t imagine Arii wearing any of her own stuff:

With 2.6 million followers, Arii has plenty of reach. But she proved that reach doesn’t automatically translate into sales.


Say you’ve got a cool new type of football you want to sell online. You need to find a target audience.

So you go Facebook Audience Insights and put in the NFL as an interest. Here’s what you get:

Your reach is 50-60 million people. That’s some reach (about 18% of the entire US population).

You figure this needs to be narrowed down. So you target just the most popular demographic of men ages 25-35. Your audience is still 10-15 million people.

We’ll tell you something. You could spend a lot of money trying to reach 15 million people.

But there is really no chance that a decent percentage of them will actually buy your product.

Relevancy Over Reach

As these examples show, reach taken by itself doesn’t really matter. If you have the budget, digital channels allow you reach a massive audience.

But your goal isn’t to reach people by the millions. Your job isn’t to interrupt people who – at most – have a vague interest in what you offer.

Your job is to connect and interact with people who care.

Arii, as a significant social influencer, had reached a viable audience. But it didn’t matter because it was obvious to them she didn’t even care about her own products:

Most businesses, however, have a different problem. Their reach is too generic. They’re not doing the hard work involved in narrowing down their audiences and personalizing content so it’s relevant for them.

It’s important to note that this true even if you’re running a branding campaign. Today, with so much content being thrown at consumers, it’s unrealistic to blast out content to large, general audiences. Tactically, the ratio of cost-to-impact just doesn’t work. Most businesses have no chance of getting ROI from a Super Bowl commercial.

There is no trick at all to reaching a million people with online ads. However, if only ten thousand of those are legitimate prospects for your sales funnel, it makes more sense to invest in reaching them at just the right time, with just the right message.