Audience Extension 101 and Why it Should be Part of Your Marketing Mix

By Bob West

Digital media offers marketers a unique paradox. On one hand, the breadth of different media options empowers marketers to reach prospective clients in so many ways. But the problematic flipside of having this wide range of options is that very few marketers are supported with larger budgets that enable them to cover all of their bases by using every available digital option. Audience extension marketing can help by maximizing your reach in a cost-effective way.

Audience extension marketing enables you to reach a targeted audience across the Internet, in addition to any media buy you place to target an audience on a particular media website. The benefits of an audience extension campaign are clear:

  • You can focus on a highly targeted audience most likely interested in your product by using data for market segmentation;
  • You can reach the largest number of prospective customers by advertising across a broad range of websites, including top news, sports, cooking and weather sites;
  • You can maximize your impact by delivering more ad impressions, thanks to the network of hundreds of websites that can deliver so many more ad impressions; and
  • You can stretch your budget, thanks to the lower pricing typically offered by audience extension campaigns.

How does audience extension marketing work?

There are two keys to executing an audience extension campaign successfully – the audience data used for targeting, and the technology (commonly referred to as a “tech stack”) used to execute the campaign.

As the ad buyer, you work through a demand-side platform (DSP) to place your buy, which will be targeted at an audience of prospective customers built by targeting through select demographic or firmographic data (size of business, the business’ location, etc.).

This targeting is where the data becomes critical to the campaign. It’s also what leads many marketers to buy their audience extension campaigns from trusted media partners. Why? A media company works on its audience database every day as a core part of its business. Where are you going to be able to rent a more comprehensive and current database?

Similar to email marketing or even running a magazine ad to just a portion of a magazine’s audience, you simply tell the media company what type of business you’re looking to target, and they will create an audience segment to match that definition from their general audience. The media company will upload that audience segment into their DSP in order to determine which of those individuals can be reached programmatically, and they’ll begin serving your ads to these individuals through the technology network of which they are a part or they have assembled. (This saves you the hassle of identifying and vetting your own technology solutions.)

Your pricing will be determined by the number of impressions you want to buy for the campaign.

You can see how audience extension can sound confusing and intimidating, particularly if you’re not working through an ad agency or are new to this concept. But, according to Dun & Bradstreet, nearly two-thirds of B2B marketers include programmatic marketing like audience extension in their plans.


Bob West is Meister Media’s Commercial Digital Director. Contact him at 440-602-9129 or bwwest@meistermedia.com for more information about Meister Media’s audience exte