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Tunnl | Products | Audiences

Prebuilt vs. Custom Audiences: Which Is Best for You?

August 10th, 2021 | 5 min. read

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Audiences are for everyone. The question is, “What choice is the best fit for me?"

Tunnl offers two different audience types to choose from: prebuilt and custom.

Tunnl has 300+ prebuilt audiences that clients can activate against at any time. Some clients have very specific needs. To meet that need, we create custom audiences that are highly tailored to each client’s project.

By the end of this article, you will be able to understand:

  • What is the difference between custom v. prebuilt audiences?
  • The pros and cons of each audience type
  • The different scenarios they are used in

This knowledge will help you determine which option is the best fit to meet your needs.

Prebuilt Audiences: The What, The Why, & the Who

Prebuilt Audiences: What Are They?

Prebuilt audiences are premade groups of individuals who share a similar sentiment about a certain topic. Our prebuilt audiences cover tough issues pertinent to:

  • Purpose-driven marketing
  • Issue advocacy
  • Public affairs
  • Politics

At Tunnl, we refresh our 300+ prebuilt audiences every quarter. This ensures our data is always up to date. 

Prebuilt Audiences: Should I Use Them? 

Prebuilt audiences offer many great benefits. But, that does not mean they are always the best fit for everyone.

Benefits of Prebuilt Audiences

Prebuilt audiences are premade, providing many benefits to clients. The two main benefits of prebuilt audiences are that they save our clients time and money.


The first benefit is time. Time is a luxury that not everyone can afford. Because prebuilt audiences are premade, clients can activate against them at any time. They are always available. 

More often than not, this can be done without ever having to contact Tunnl. You can activate against them wherever audience targeting is available. 

Little or No Cost

The second benefit is the price. Prebuilt audiences are available to clients at a price range of $0-$750 a month. You read that right, $0. If clients want to digitally activate against our prebuilt audiences, we do not charge our clients. 

Instead, when clients activate against them, we receive a CPM from one of our partners. Full access to our prebuilt audiences is available at a very low price. We can price these audiences low because of automation and strategic partnerships. For more on pricing, visit this article here.

The Big Drawback of Prebuilt Audiences

Prebuilt audiences are not always the best choices if clients are facing specific challenges or have an extra-niche issue. Prebuilt audiences are exactly that: prebuilt. They do not cover extra-niche issues. 

If you need an extra-niche audience or very particular regional area profiled, custom audiences may be the best solution for you. 

Prebuilt Audiences: Who Are They Best Suited For?

Prebuilt audiences are great for clients who are in a time crunch and need a targeting solution ASAP. They are also a great option for those who have limited budgets. The prebuilt audience taxonomy of over 300 audiences covers a wide range of issues. If you are not advocating for an extra-niche issue, one of our prebuilt audiences might cover your message.

Custom Audiences: The What, The Why, & the Who

Custom Audiences: What Are They?

Custom audiences cater to clients with niche issues and messaging. We create our custom audiences after conducting a custom microtargeting project based on the client’s message. Each issue generates three custom audiences:

  1. Individuals who are in favor of the issue
  2. Individuals with a persuadable opinion on the issue
  3. Individuals who are in opposition to the issue

Custom Audiences: Why Should I Use Them? Why Should I Not Use Them?

The customization of these audiences opens clients up to a unique set of benefits. But, we encourage all clients to weigh the benefits of custom audiences against the drawbacks. 

The Benefits of Custom Audiences

Complete Customization

Custom audiences are a great way to communicate and connect with those you need the most. We craft three tailored audiences from each issue (pro, anti, and persuadable). If a client wants audiences for five issues, they would end up with fifteen custom audiences.

Audience Privacy

These custom audiences cannot be used by anyone other than the client they were created for. This is a great benefit for clients who have sensitive messages. No one can use another client’s custom audiences. Anyone can use our prebuilt audiences.

The Drawbacks of Custom Audiences

The beauty of custom audiences is the complete customization unique to each client. But, it comes at a cost.

High Benefit, Higher Price

The most glaring drawback of custom audiences that we like to address with clients is price. Each custom audience is created by a custom microtargeting project. 

The increased time and manpower means clients paying a higher price than they would for a prebuilt audience that already exists. Custom audiences range from $1,000–$2,500 per month. 

Time Commitment

Custom audiences require a lengthier time commitment to go from creation to completion. To create them, we first have to conduct a custom microtargeting project. The method used in microtargeting dictates how long the project takes. 

Custom audiences are not meant for those who need a targeting solution immediately. 

Custom Audiences: Who Are They Best Suited For?

Custom audiences are the best choice for clients with niche messages. If you have prominent name recognition, custom audiences are your best bet. Your name is likely to invoke a different response than when compared to a generic alternative making a custom solution ideal. 

If you have a larger budget, custom audiences are probably a better solution. Custom solutions provide specific insights compared to a more general prebuilt audience.

Tunnl’s Audience Experience

Regardless of whether prebuilt or custom audiences are the best solution for you, the Tunnl team is here to help. Tunnl has over 20 years of experience in data intelligence and is uniquely positioned to connect you with the audience that matters the most. 

The integrity of our audiences speaks for itself. Since 2014, our clients have spent almost $2,000,000,000 activating against our audiences. That $2B produced an additional $500,000,000 in media spend value due to the high efficiency of our audiences. 

Do you want to talk to our team about setting you up with Tunnl audiences? Contact David Seawright at