Identifying the Audience of an Advertisement

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

You view several advertisements every day, but are you able to identify the audience that the advertisement was intended for? Come and learn how to do so in this lesson.

What is an Advertisement?

Did you know that most Americans are exposed to anywhere between 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements a day? Advertisements are all around us, like in magazines, newspapers, on TV, on the Internet, in our mailboxes, on social media…the list goes on and on. An advertisement is made by a person, company, or organization attempting to influence or inform the people who received them. For example, an advertisement about Barbie dolls is trying to convince you to buy a Barbie doll. Some advertisements are trying to sell you a product, while others are trying to sell you a service or idea.

Types of Audiences

Let's pretend that two different people see the same Barbie advertisement. One of them is a kindergarten girl who loves dolls, while the other is a grandpa who enjoys crossword puzzles. Who do you think is most likely to be influenced by the Barbie ad? The kindergarten girl, of course! This is because advertisements are designed with a target audience in mind. The people who create the advertisements must be aware of the target audience, as they're the people that they want to influence or inform.

In order to form a target audience, the people within the audience must have something in common. One way to identify the target audience is by their demographics, such as race, gender, age, or job. For example, one target audience might be Hispanic girls, ages 14-22, while another target audience might be male senior citizens.

Another way to separate target audiences is by where they live. Some advertisements are geared toward people who live in the city, while others might appeal to people who live at the beach. Psychographics are also used to determine target audiences, such as someone's hobbies, interests, and values. Psychographics, demographics, and geographic location can be combined to create very specific target audiences, such as boys, ages 8-12, who live in the United States and love video games.

How to Identify the Audience

You have probably been able to identify the audience of an advertisement and haven't even realized it yet. Doing this is fairly simple. Here are a few tips as to how to best identify the target audience:

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