Close this search box.
Close this search box.

What is Smart Targeting?

Smart Targeting

Ever log onto Facebook and find that all the ads you see are related to your recent internet searches? Or log onto your Amazon account to see a list of suggestions based on your previous orders? These advanced marketing elements are examples of smart targeting. When used correctly, smart targeting can improve ROI, increase conversions, strengthen customer relationships, and improve your inbound marketing program.


Smart targeting is a marketing application of artificial intelligence to predict the preferences and habits of internet users.

AI uses previous user actions to decide how to best display content. The more information collected on a user, the more personalized the experience.

Pros and Cons

There are many benefits to smart targeting for both B2C and B2B campaigns; however, smart targeting may not be the best choice for every business right now.


More Effective

Smart targeting ensures that you are creating the right interactions with contacts at opportune times. AI uses key information about contacts to promote the right response or action at any point in the buyer’s journey.

Diverse Uses

You can use smart targeting for most media—website content pages, landing pages, emails, templates, etc. This will improve user experience across media to create a more unified and personalized UX.

Set Rules

Assign rules to contacts to control their experiences. Some options for rules include device type, referral source, language, and lifecycle stage. These criteria and options may change depending on the service you are using.

Save Money

By better targeting specific consumers, your paid content is going to be more effective. When you are more effective in reaching certain users or groups, you save time and money that you might otherwise waste advertising to uninterested parties. Smart targeting ensures that you are reaching the right audiences so your efforts don’t go to waste.


Depends on your CRM

You might not have access to this type of feature depending on what CRM you are using. Platforms including HubSpot, Mailchimp, and Facebook all utilize smart targeting to deliver in-depth information and improve customer experience.

For more experienced marketers

Due to the complexity of the technology, implementing this type of strategy may be difficult for less experienced marketers. Luckily, many of these services make it easy to start using smart targeting.

How to Implement Today

There are many ways you can start using smart targeting, but your best bet is using a service that includes AI features. Odds are, you already rely on a CRM to organize and maintain much of your customer interactions. Using a CRM that includes smart targeting will take your current marketing efforts to the next level.


Mailchimp has moved far beyond just email marketing in the past few years. Now offering a full-fledged CRM system, you can implement smart targeting easily with Mailchimp.

Using your marketing CRM data, Mailchimp uses all the important information you’ve collected about contacts to improve your engagement and find new contacts. With their Lookalike feature, you can find new leads based on their similarities to current contacts.

This will give you a strategic advantage when first contacting these users as you already have a reference for what they are interested in. Use this feature to unite your marketing efforts across channels and find your target audience no matter where they go.

You can also use Mailchimp to create social media ads; use smart targeting to segment your audiences to create more engaging ads while also saving on ad spending.


We love using HubSpot’s CRM because it conveniently unites all of our marketing efforts and offers key features that enhance our marketing tactics. HubSpot’s smart content will help you to better target audiences across media with their many “smart” features, including emails, website pages, landing pages, templates, forms, and CTA’s.

Personalize all of these experiences by setting rules that will impact how a user interacts with that medium. Use the “list membership” option to segment contacts into specific groups to better target certain types of consumers. Once you’ve set your specifications, you can then view the content as if you were a certain contact to confirm the display and layout of the page or email.

Smart CTAs can be added to either your HubSpot pages or external web pages. Depending on the rules, your contacts will see different CTAs. This will encourage users at certain stages to take different actions. Unfortunately, this feature is only offered at the higher subscription levels. CTAs are incredibly important in guiding users to take certain actions and smart CTAs ensure that you are guiding users in the right direction every time.


Facebook offers many customization options for targeting ads, but that doesn’t mean that marketers are using them correctly. When setting new audience criteria, often times the interests and exclusions offered aren’t niched enough, or marketers create audiences that are too niched. Either way, your Facebook ads won’t be reaching the right audiences and you will end up spending more money for fewer results.

To better target your ideal market, you will have to do some outside research on your audience. First, find out if your conversions tend to come from similar sources. To do so, you can reference Google Analytics; review the most common conversion paths that your users take to find sites or referrals that may be a good source. You can then target this source knowing that your audience tends to come from there.

Facebook Audience Insights can also reveal key data. By adding new interests, you can find audiences that are interested in content similar to yours. You can then layer these interests to target specific cross-sections of users. Compare these interests to the content featured on your page, and combine these criteria to create a specific target audience.

Every day marketers are looking for new ways to better target their ideal markets. Although the internet has made it easier to reach more people, it also makes it easier for small businesses to get lost among a sea of websites.

Developments in AI have empowered even the smallest businesses to stand out among the competition to better engage target consumers. Take advantage of these technological advances by integrating smart targeting into your marketing strategy.

Thanks for reading,

Editor’s note: This blog was originally published in December 2019 and has been edited and updated in March 2022.

Shannon Briden

Account Manager
Shannon brings her MBA education and design background to find creative, innovative solutions to everyday marketing problems.

Share on Social

Recent Posts