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How To Use Spatially’s Custom Audiences For Rich Demographic Targeting

April 5, 2018 at 10:15 AM

Today, we’re proud to announce the anticipated release of yet another targeting objective for local advertisers: Custom Audiences.

With Custom Audiences, advertisers can specify exactly who they want to reach in terms of demographic attributes, and Spatially’s self-serve platform will identify and target where these people live and work.

While this may sound familiar to what you can do today with age and gender targeting in Google or Facebook, we’ve taken it one step further.

By using census data and geodemographic segmentation, Spatially allows marketers to pull from a richer tapestry of demographics. Their toolbox now includes previously inaccessible attributes like income, homeownership, education, and insurancevariables that likely matter a lot more to your ideal customer persona than the simple age and gender filters you get out of the box.  

Let’s dive in.

Spatially's Custom Audiences allow marketers to target using census demographic data

How it came about

When Spatially was first getting started, we interviewed hundreds of small business owners and kept hearing the same comment:

“I know the names and faces of my regular customers, but I don’t know who they are. I don’t know why they chose my business, where they live, or what sorts of lives they lead.”

In other words, they had the names of several customers but lacked a singular persona that they could use in their marketing.

We set out to fix this.

We developed a framework for location analytics to help business owners understand those visiting their store. By using GPS technology and spatial mapping, we were able to pick up the mobile devices of an area’s visitors and track those IDs back to a specific neighborhood, which could then be assigned a certain profile based on the attributes of that neighborhood.

It was our way of offering a “Google Analytics for the Offline World.”  

As the product took off, we started to see a number of new use cases from companies that knew exactly who their customers are but wanted help with the how of actually reaching them. In other words, they wanted to input the same outputs that our first product generated.

These use cases included plumbers wanting to target homeowners in high-income neighborhoods, political campaign strategists wanting to send different communications to blue-collar and white-collar voters, HR firms looking to target those with a professional degree, and even insurance companies looking to advertise to uninsured renters.

As straightforward as each of these customer personas sounds, they remained tantalizingly out of reach for the average brand. The leading advertising platforms have limited marketers to surface-level demographics around age and gender, regardless of how complex or niche a true persona may be. This has forced marketers to take a “spray-and-pray” approach to advertising by targeting a broad group and hoping that the clicks roughly line up with the mold of their ideal customer persona.

We wanted to do one step better, letting advertisers be as specific as they’d like when it comes to their targeting. No more wasted clicks spent on personas unlikely to convert, and no more settling for age and gender alone.

Now, with Spatially’s Custom Audiences, you can go straight to your ideal customer persona.

However you define him or her.

Creating a Custom Audience

So how do you build a Custom Audience around your ideal customer persona?

Start by creating a free account and filling out a little information about your business, which we’ll use to offer industry-specific campaign suggestions. Once you’re through, click START NEW CAMPAIGN from your dashboard and choose the Custom Audience goal.

Step 1: Choose the goal of your promotion

Next up, select your advertising platform of choice (currently Facebook or Google AdWords) and type in the city or zip code you’re looking to reach. You’ll now see a number of demographics you can use to filter your addressable audience, including:

  • Age
    • Under 18
    • 18 to 24
    • 25 to 44
    • 45 to 64
    • 65+
  • Income
    • < $25k
    • $25k-$50k
    • $50k-$75k
    • $75k-$100k
    • $100k-$125k
    • $125k-$150k
    • $150k-$200k
    • > $200k
  • Education
    • < High school
    • High school
    • Some college
    • Bachelor’s degree
    • Master’s degree
    • Doctorate degree
    • Professional degree
  • Housing
    • Home owners
    • Renters
  • Housing value (relative to an area’s average)
    • Low
    • Medium
    • High
  • Worker type
    • Blue collar
    • White collar
    • Service
  • Land use
    • Houses
    • Businesses
  • Insurance
    • Employer provided
    • Direct purchased
    • Medicare
    • Medicaid
    • Tricare
    • Veterans Affairs
    • No insurance coverage

While this represents just a taste of the fields our team is currently mapping, it already allows for endless combinations of attributes capable of reaching just about any customer segment.

Want to reach uninsured blue collar workers? No problem.

Want to message a millennial renter differently than you would a baby boomer homeowner? Check a couple quick boxes, and you can launch both campaigns straight from Spatially Ads.

Using Spatially Ads to target high-income homeowners in MiamiUsing Spatially, you can target neighborhoods with the highest concentration of your targeted income level.
Targeting high-income homeowners in Miami, for example, will reveal the wealthiest neighborhoods and waterfront properties within five miles of downtown Miami.


To use any of these filters, simply click the name of the field above the map and check whichever boxes correspond to your ideal customer persona. Once selected, your map will be automatically refreshed to highlight the areas most popular with your chosen demographics.

Marketers are welcome to select as many filters as they’d like, although we recommend starting with 3-6 to maintain a large enough audience size to provide your campaign a healthy trickle of results.

Spatially's Custom Audiences lets advertisers tap into census data to target by educational attainment

As in our behavioral targeting objective, you can also see a few other interesting insights about your targeting, including the breakdown of residential and commercial targets and the demographics of each highlighted grid cell or cluster.

Spatially reveals valuable demographics and insights on your local audience

What’s next for Custom Audiences

At Spatially, we pride ourselves on shipping a new update every week. While we’re excited about the recent release of Custom Audiences, it’s only going to become more powerful in the coming weeks.

Our team is working around the clock to map more data points, and we’re layering in the same spatial information that users know and love from our behavioral targeting objective—meaning you can target the perfect customer (geodemographics) with the lifestyle you’re looking for (based on a spatial analysis of the places they’ve visited in the physical world).

If you want to target educated young renters who have visited a museum or theater, for example, you’ll soon have the power to do just that.

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