What is a target audience?

When you aim your advertising to specific consumers in the marketplace, you are focusing on your Target Audience. Understanding the concept of a target audience is crucial for any business or individual looking to maximize sales.

Your target audience is a specific group of people most likely to be interested in your product, service, or message. If you are selling something, they are the consumers who have either bought from you already or are most likely to become paying customers.

The Cambridge Dictionary has the following definition of target audience:

“The particular group of people to which an advertisement, a product, a website, or a television or radio program is directed. Example sentence: ‘The new campaign aims to reach a target audience of consumers 45 years old and younger.'”

Identifying your target audience

When trying to identify your target audience, you need to recognize who finds the most value in what you sell.

Marketing professionals divide people into groups according to various characteristics, such as:

  • Age – children, teens, young adults, middle-aged, seniors.
  • Gender – male, female, non-binary.
  • Income – low, median, high, affluent.
  • Location – urban, suburban, rural, regional, international.
  • Academic Level – high school, undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate.
  • Interests – sports, arts, technology, travel, cooking.
  • Occupation – student, professional, skilled labor, management, executive.
  • Marital Status – single, married, divorced, widowed.
  • Ethnicity – Caucasian, African, Hispanic, Asian, mixed.
  • Lifestyle – active, sedentary, health-conscious, eco-friendly, luxurious.
  • Values – family-oriented, environmentally aware, cost-conscious, traditional, progressive.
  • Buying Habits – brand-driven, price-sensitive, impulsive, planned, loyal.
  • Life Stage – new parents, empty nesters, college students, retirees.
  • Technology Usage – early adopters, regular users, infrequent users, non-users.
  • Media Consumption – streaming, social media, print, television, radio.
  • Language Spoken – English, Spanish, Mandarin, French, Arabic.
  • Social Class – working class, middle class, upper class, elite.
  • Personality Traits – extroverted, introverted, agreeable, conscientious, open-minded.
  • Attitudes – optimistic, skeptical, conservative, liberal, pragmatic.
  • Behaviors – spender, saver, innovator, follower, influencer.
  • Brand Loyalty – devoted, occasional, switchers, indifferent, new.
Two images depicting the concept of target audiences, plus a written definition
Image created by Market Business News.

Some examples

If you are selling educational toys for young children, you will most likely target parents and educators, rather than the children themselves.

If your company makes gardening tools, you won’t target people who live in apartments. You will need to be sure that they live in houses with gardens. Ideally, your target audience might be the readers of a gardening magazine.

A tech company that is releasing a new app will focus on tech-savvy young adults who are always on the lookout for the latest digital innovations, rather than seniors.

Why knowing your target audience matters

Knowing your target audience is important because it allows for more effective communication. By understanding who you are talking to, you can tailor your message to resonate with them directly.

You will know what type of language and tone to use, and which platform to approach them through. Teenagers and older adults, for example, use different vocabulary.

People are more likely to engage with your content if they feel that it is specifically designed for them. Well-targeted messages lead to higher conversion rates—a greater percentage of people who read your messages becoming paying customers.

Three videos

These three educational videos, available on our affiliated YouTube channel Marketing Business Network, provide clear and easy-to-understand explanations of the terms ‘Target Audience,’ ‘Customer Experience,’ and ‘Marketing Strategy.’

  • What is a Target Audience?

  • What is Customer Experience?

  • What is a Marketing Strategy?