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Tunnl | Products | Audiences | Cost

The 5 Biggest Pros and Cons of Tunnl’s Custom Audiences

August 30th, 2021 | 4 min. read

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Thousands of companies everyday waste money because they can’t reach their target audience and their message isn’t being heard. You know that a custom audience can help you get in front of the right crowd. But you may think it’s too time-consuming and expensive.

Custom audiences are one of Tunnl’s flagship products. Unlike custom audiences in platforms like Facebook, we leverage offline data that we match into online platforms for seamless offline and online targeting.

Custom audiences, as much as we love them, aren’t for everyone. Because we know this, this article takes a deep dive into the real benefits and drawbacks of custom audiences.

By the end of this article, you will be able to understand if custom audiences are a good fit for you.

The Benefits of Custom Audiences

Custom audiences are the secret weapon of many brands and companies who want to ensure they are connecting their story with the people who matter the most. Two of the biggest benefits custom audiences offer are:

  1. Complete Customization
  2. Audience Privacy

1. Complete customization

We offer more than 150+ standard audiences, but what if you need an audience that is more customized to you and your needs? These unique audiences are a great solution for groups, brands, organizations:

  • Advocating for a unique issue
  • Working within a geography that is not National (ie. a specific state or region)
  • Wanting data-matching from data they have in-house to Tunnl audiences

For each specific issue, we craft three tailored audiences:

  • People who support the issue
  • People who oppose the issue
  • People who have a persuadable opinion on the issue

This gives you an increased ability to reach different groups of people on the same issue. To put this into practice, if you have an organization with custom audiences focused on five issues, you would end up with fifteen custom audiences!

2. Audience Privacy

A luxury of custom audiences is that they are private to you. Unlike standard audiences, which can be accessed by anyone at any time, custom audiences can only be accessed by whoever they were created for.

This feature is important for brands and organizations who do not want their audiences to be accessed by anyone else, especially competitors.

The Drawbacks of Custom Audiences

While custom audiences are a great solution for many people - they are not meant for everyone.

The three big clues that indicate custom audiences are not a good choice for you are:

  1. The high cost of custom work
  2. The time commitment it takes to execute custom projects
  3. A marginal improvement over pre-built options

1. High Cost of Custom Work

The most glaring drawback of custom audiences is the price tag. Custom audiences are created by conducting a custom microtargeting project. They can also be created through data-matching - a process of matching data you have in-house to the data we have at Tunnl.

No matter which process a custom audience project takes, both take an increased amount of time and manpower. The increased time and manpower means clients paying a higher price than they would for a standard audience that already exists.

Custom audiences range from $1,000 - $2,500 per month.

This range is dependent on:

  • Methodology of data collection
  • Geography (certain state laws restrict how data is collected)

2. Expect Your Project To Take More Time

Custom audiences require a lengthier time commitment to go from creation to completion than standard, pre-built audiences.

To create a custom audience, we first have to conduct a custom microtargeting project. The methodology used in microtargeting could dictate how long the project takes.

In certain states, projects may take longer because certain collection methods are restricted. 

Also, geography could play a hand in certain projects taking longer. The fewer people a geography has, the harder it can be to reach them meaning a longer survey time.

Pre-built audiences are available for immediate use whereas you might need to wait 10 to 14 for a custom audience to be built and then made available to activate against.

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

3. Marginal Improvement Over Pre-built Options For Some

It may seem counterintuitive for a company that sells custom audience building to say it is often not worth it. But it’s the truth.

Organizations with limited awareness in the market, or whose opinion in the public is largely shaped by industry-wide feelings rather than brand-specific ones, are going to see little separation in audiences built generically compared to ones built uniquely for them.

Here’s an example:

If someone asks you about your opinion about American fast food, what restaurant comes to mind? You’re probably thinking of one with famous golden arches.

The McDonald's brand is so closely associated with people’s opinions on fast food that there is not going to be that much of a marginal difference between the opinions surrounding fast food in general and those on McDonald’s specifically.

This is an example of it probably being in McDonald’s best interest to go with a non-custom option.

Are Custom Audiences A Good Fit For You?

Custom audiences are unique just like your brand or organization. Now, you know the benefits and drawbacks so you can make an educated decision on whether they are a good fit, or not, for you.

If you’re looking for a custom audience solution…

Make sure you check this list of pre-built audiences to make sure what you are looking for is not already covered.

If you know that a custom audience is the right solution for you, the next step is to talk through a plan with Nate Romberg, Tunnl’s Senior Director of Partnership Sales. You can reach Nate at or 562-852-3800.

If you’re looking to keep learning…

Maybe you still need more information on audiences before you can make a determination on custom audiences or even audiences in general. Check out this resource to learn more about the differences between pre-built and custom audiences!