6 Audience Suppression Tactics to Reduce Ad Spend and Increase ROI

April 19, 2021

One of the biggest mistakes marketers make when targeting customers is failing to suppress irrelevant individuals or groups from their audiences.

If you’re not already using audience suppression, you could be wasting your ad budget on unqualified prospects and damaging relationships with existing customers by sending them repetitive or irrelevant messages.

Using a Customer Data Platform (CDP) like Lexer, you can easily identify, segment, and suppress audiences who are unlikely to convert on your campaigns. These advanced suppression tactics help you improve your brand reputation, increase your return-on-investment, and reduce wasteful ad spend.

Here are 6 practical suppressions to get you started.

1. Suppress frequent buyers from branded search.

Instead of typing your website URL directly into the browser, customers will often Google your brand name and click on one of the links on the first page.

By actively searching for your brand, these “lazy clickers” have demonstrated a high intent to visit your website. They may be prospects who are considering buying one of your products or existing customers who visit your website often. Since the former group is more likely to be swayed away from your site by the paid search ads above your organic listing than your existing customers, it doesn’t make sense to target them equally with paid ads.

Using a CDP, you can define an audience of your frequent customers and feed that audience into Google’s suppression list for branded searches. The money you save from suppressing this audience can then go toward targeting new and infrequent customers, improving your overall return.

2. Suppress recent buyers from product ads.

Customers who’ve recently purchased from your brand don’t need to be served additional ads for the same product—at least, not right away.

Many brands have always-on targeting for their most popular products. However, once a customer has converted on one of those products, you need to suppress them from these ads. Otherwise, you risk wasting your ad spend on customers who aren’t likely to convert again, damaging their perception of your brand, and missing the opportunity to serve more relevant ads to recent buyers to encourage repeat purchases.

A CDP makes it simple to identify recent buyers and suppress them from your product campaigns to improve efficacy and relevancy. But you don’t have to let go of those recent buyers entirely—a CDP can also help you identify the best timing, messages, and channels for your retargeting campaigns to convert these buyers into frequent, high-value customers. Click here to learn how.

3. Suppress existing customers from social lookalike audiences.

Many brands and retailers set up acquisition campaigns via social channels using “lookalike” audiences, or audiences with similar characteristics as existing customers.

For example, if your customer data shows you that educated, middle-aged women in the United States are frequent buyers of a particular product, then you can build lookalike audiences to target educated, middle-aged women in the United States with ads for that product for greater relevancy and better outcomes.

However, without an effective suppression strategy, that lookalike audience might include existing customers as well. To avoid wasting ad spend on customers who are already making frequent purchases on their own, use a CDP to build a list of existing customers and suppress that list from your lookalike audiences.

Click here to learn more about high-value customer acquisition using customer data.

4. Suppress prospects from sweepstakes audiences.

Sweepstakes campaigns are an incredibly effective tactic for attracting prospects, growing your email database, and building awareness for your brand.

By targeting lookalike audiences of high-value customers who’ve purchased a particular product, you can provide incentives for new prospects to enter their emails for the chance to win. The customer who wins the prize will be delighted, and the ones who don’t will still be in your database for future marketing and eventual conversion.

However, the biggest challenge with efficiently implementing a sweepstakes campaign is the same challenge faced by social advertisers in #3: The lookalike audiences may include existing prospects and customers, draining ad budget and eating into your overall ROI.

By using a CDP to identify and suppress audiences who are already in your database, you can increase the impact of your sweepstakes campaign without increasing spend.

To learn Lexer’s 8-step strategy for CDP-powered sweepstakes campaigns, check out our How-To Guide for Retail: High-Performance Prospecting and Customer Re-Engagement.

5. Suppress churned customers from customer audiences.

Every business would prefer to avoid or limit customer churn as much as possible, and the best way to do so is by honing your prospecting and acquisition strategies to focus on attracting high-quality customers.

However, it’s impossible to avoid customer churn entirely. When customers do churn, you need to be able to identify them and suppress them from your upsell and retention targeting to avoid funneling your budget into disinterested audiences.

Lexer’s CDP includes predictive customer lifetime value algorithms that analyze customer behavior and help you understand the likelihood of additional purchases, how frequently customers will purchase over the next year, how much customers are likely to spend in the future, and the likelihood of customer churn.

Based on this analysis within your CDP, you can make informed decisions about which customers are churned for good—and therefore ought to be suppressed from campaigns—and which customers are worth targeting in the future.

To learn strategies for winning back customers who are close to churning, click here to read “7 Foundational, Insight-Led Customer Journeys for Every Lifecycle Stage.”

6. Send fewer impressions to low-value customer groups.

Finally, it’s important to adjust your advertising spend to match the value you’re likely to receive from customers.

Commonly, the customer value distribution for brands and retailers follows the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, in which 80 percent of revenue comes from only 20 percent of the customer base. Even if your brand doesn’t follow this rule perfectly, you’ll always find that there’s a small segment of customers who spend at significantly higher average order values and frequencies than the rest of your customer base.

While your high-value segments make great candidates for targeting, your low-value segments might not provide enough of a return to be worth the time, budget, and effort.

Using a CDP, you can segment customers based on actual-to-date and predicted lifetime value, then adjust the spend limits for each audience. Spending less on your low-value segments and a bit more on your high-value segments will lead to greater efficiency and impact.

The takeaway

Advanced audience suppression tactics can help you save budget, acquire higher-value customers, boost customer lifetime value, improve the customer experience, and accelerate growth for your company.

But without the tools or resources to access, aggregate, analyze, and organize your customer data, performing this type of analysis and segmentation for each campaign can be a daunting task.

CDPs like Lexer allow you to easily, efficiently, and cost-effectively target high-value prospects and customers, suppress irrelevant audiences, automate multi-channel campaigns, and genuinely engage your customers for long-term loyalty. Some of the world’s most iconic brands and retailers have chosen Lexer as their dedicated CDP partner for our proven results, unrivaled support team, cutting-edge AI and predictive analytics, and more.

A version of this article was originally published on If you liked this, you’ll probably find more value in the original, in-depth version too. Click here to read the full version of “6 Ways to Save Money Using Advanced Audience Targeting.”