How to Use Social Media Targeting to Connect with Rural Residents

BY Rachel Cagle
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Rural and city dwellers don’t have much in common, so why is your client targeting them with the same ads? One thing they do have in common is their use of social media. But you need to practice social media targeting to get the most out of your client’s advertising efforts.

How to Use Social Media Targeting to Connect with Rural Residents

Rural Residents Want More from Social Ads

According to a report by YouGov, 50% of rural consumers feel misrepresented by mainstream media. Another 64% also feel that advertisers don’t understand their values, interests and opinions.

Rural consumers also believe that things aren’t going to get better if advertisers keep using urban consumers as a baseline. 34% believe that in the next five years, urban and rural consumers won’t have any more in common than now. Another 43% believe that they’ll have even less in common five years from now.

When consumers don’t feel represented in ads, they’ll rarely pay attention to those ads. And the 43.9 million consumers who identify as rural residents are too large of a group to be ignored. Your client needs to practice social media targeting if they want to boost their sales.

Who are Rural Consumers?

The first step to practicing social media targeting is knowing who your client should be creating ads for.

For starters, most rural consumers are over the age of 55:

  • Ages 55+: 45%
  • 45–54: 19%
  • 35–44: 14%
  • 25–34: 13%
  • 18–24: 9%

22% of rural residents are retired compared to the 17% of the general population who can say the same. And only 28% of rural residents work full time (36% is the general average).

They’re also more likely to be pet owners. 54% of rural residents own dogs and another 42% own cats. The most popular dogs among rural residents are:

  • Labrador Retrievers: 81% of rural residents view this dog breed positively
  • Golden Retrievers: 81%
  • German Shepards: 76%
  • Collies: 76%
  • Alaskan Huskies: 73%

Rural residents are also far more likely than city dwellers or the average population to be white:

  • White: 74% of rural residents are white
  • Hispanic: 10%
  • Black: 8%
  • Other: 8%

So, when it comes to models/​actors to feature in your client’s social ads, they should skew white and ages 55+. It also wouldn’t hurt to throw in an adorable dog companion (or some cats in the background).

Unlike the majority of U.S. consumers, rural residents feel optimistic about the financial future. 48% expect their household finances to improve within the next year, while 27% expect no change. Only 14% expect their finances to get worse.

Rural Residents’ Social Media Habits

According to YouGov, the media channels rural residents interact with the most are:

  • TV: 68% of rural residents have watched TV within the last week
  • Social Media: 67%
  • Radio: 48%

Their favorite social media platforms are Facebook (72%), Instagram (34%), TikTok (22%), X (22%), and Pinterest (21%).

When rural residents see something they like, they’re even more likely than urban residents to browse online (68% vs. 62%). They’ll:

  • See something they like online and buy it online: 45%
  • See something online and buy it in-​store: 41%
  • Use an app to make a purchase online: 24%
  • Click and collect: 19%

Want to learn even more about their social media and online shopping habits? Look up the Rural Residents profile on AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel. While you’re there, you can also look up your client’s target audience’s profile to see:

  • What percentage is made up of rural consumers
  • More demographic information
  • Their social media habits
  • What they’re looking for in ads

With this information, starting your client’s social media targeting journey will be a cinch!

Photo by: Chewy