Prospecting Ads: How To Find New Valuable Audiences

January 12, 2024
6 minutes

Most of us have this image of the customer journey as a linear process. The distance between a lead and a new client in this image is just a few quick steps.

In reality, this process is much more complex. You have to employ different strategies to not only win people over but also to complete the very first stage of the sales funnel – find them. 

Here’s where prospecting ads can come in handy.

In this post, you’ll learn:

  • What are prospecting ads
  • How they can benefit you
  • What’s the difference between prospecting and retargeting
  • How to find new prospects

What is prospecting?

Put simply, prospecting is a process of finding and identifying potential customers. This is often based on the information you already have about your active buyers, and the intention is to look for similar audiences.

Once you discover a new audience that might be interested in your products/services, therefore, is likely to convert, the goal is to turn them from prospects to clients by continuously nurturing this new relationship.

Prospecting is an important first step of the sales process that can help uncover new opportunities and expand the size of the customer base when done right. 

In fact, so important that the top sellers spend an average of 6 hours every week just researching people who are most likely to engage with their brand. 

What are prospecting ads?

Prospecting ads are a type of ads that businesses use to attract new audiences of potential buyers. 

As a customer acquisition tactic, it leverages sets of customer data and matches them with product information to target digital profiles. These digital profiles are sometimes also referred to as lookalike audiences, who have never interacted with the brand before but are likely to do so.

Prospecting ads can be created based on such data as:

Digital profiles for prospecting ads

Benefits of prospecting ads

Higher traffic

Naturally, targeting new audiences with prospecting ads can increase your website traffic. 

These are people who have never heard of your brand or heard but have never interacted with it before. Enticing prospecting ads can give them a gentle nudge in the right direction, guiding potential buyers to visit your landing pages.

Growing a customer base

A good prospecting strategy and well-thought-out prospecting ads can help more people discover your business. As a result, you get to attract more leads to convert into buyers. 

Due to customer attrition, you naturally lose some of them over time, so relying only on loyalty and retention can be a dangerous game.

Gaining insights

You might sometimes feel like you’re wasting resources since very few prospects convert the first time they interact with your brand – but that’s normal. There can be many reasons for this, sometimes not even related to your business.

The good thing is that the more you analyze the responses you get from your prospects, the better you can understand their behaviors and notice some patterns. Equipping your sales representatives with this information and using it for running prospecting ads can help them improve their strategies and sell better and faster.

Sales and revenue growth

All of the above combined, a successful prospecting strategy should lead to more sales. Consequently, more sales will result in increased revenue.

It’s crucial to employ a forward-thinking mindset and predict a few steps ahead. Having ongoing sales opportunities that your team can work on is important for business growth over time, and prospecting ads can help you get them. 

Prospecting vs. retargeting ads

Prospecting ad campaigns are sometimes wrongly confused with retargeting campaigns, and vice versa. 

Both of them use large sets of data, and for prospecting, you can even use the same data you use for retargeting potential customers. Both are customer acquisition techniques and can work great when combined.

But they still serve different purposes.

What is retargeting?

Retargeting is a digital marketing strategy that uses ads to target audiences that have previously interacted with your brand, e.g., visited your website or social media channels, but didn’t become a customer.

In other words, retargeting campaigns are aimed at reminding visitors about your brand or specific offers.

Expedia's retargeting ad on Facebook

It works by utilizing cookies – small blocks of data – that “remember” user behavior across the web and enable users to use this information to target them again. Hence the name.

What is the difference between prospecting and retargeting?

The main difference between prospecting and retargeting lies within the past activity of the audience you seek. 

Prospecting focuses on finding users who have not visited your site yet or are not aware of your brand, but based on the data you have about your existing active customers, they are likely to become buyers.

In comparison, retargeting focuses on customers who have visited your website, bought something long ago, or interacted with your ads but bounced. The goal of retargeting is to reel them back and encourage them to convert (learn how to recover ad retargeting after iOS 17 update)

Prospecting vs. retargeting

How to find prospecting audiences

Dig into your ad campaign reports

Campaign reports contain tons of valuable information about your marketing efforts. You can use them to understand what’s working, how to improve future campaigns, uncover some new opportunities and patterns, etc.

Just like that, you can also use campaign reports to “draft” a new target audience.

Data to use for finding prospecting audiences

In most reports, you’ll find details about your customer demographics, locations, most popular devices, top sites, platforms, and what are the results of these interactions. This information can give you a better idea of the people you reach with your ads and who are already spending money with you. 

You can use these insights to promote your products/services to similar audiences.

Analyze user data

Similarly, depending on the platform you use to run ads, you can get additional reports focused more on the audience itself rather than the ad performance, or you can dig into the data from your internal systems.

For example, with Eskimi DSP, you can get a report of insights that provides top interests and online behavior that the reached audience has. Therefore, based on those interests, you can target similar audiences more likely to be interested in what you offer.

Targeting options in Eskimi DSP

Some DSPs can also analyze the data they collect from various websites, apps, etc., and create lookalike audiences that you can use for prospecting.

Use different targeting types

Since DSPs already came up, it’s worth mentioning that using different targeting options through programmatic advertising can also help you attract new customers.

For instance:

  • Contextual targeting. This type of targeting enables you to place your ads alongside relevant content by targeting specific keywords or/and URLs.
  • Behavioral targeting. Using behavioral targeting, you can target audiences based on their interests. Interests are defined by user browsing activities and behavior online. When a particular interest is selected, ads are served only to those who recently showed interest in a specific topic.
  • Location-based targeting. Target specific places where you think/know your target audience can be. E.g., if you sell sports products, you can use geofencing to capture the audience around gyms, tennis courts, etc.
Different audience targeting types

Various analytics tools can then help you see what was “the driven force” behind this visit, providing valuable information that you can use to improve rankings and serve relevant ads.

Time for prospecting!

Prospecting ads are another way to reach new audiences and benefit from the user data that you already have. 

Craft them to work on their own or – even better – combine them with remarketing campaigns. This way, you can start by creating interest and then attracting the most interested targets.

Need help? Reach out to the Eskimi team or book a demo.

Philip is the CMO of Eskimi. When he’s not busy growing the Eskimi brand, he spends his time with family and playing ping pong.
Philip is the CMO of Eskimi. When he’s not busy growing the Eskimi brand, he spends his time with family and playing ping pong.
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