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When it comes to digital marketing, most businesses make the mistake of focusing too heavily on the message that they want to deliver. This leads them down various avenues of optimized content creation and multiple cycles of trial and error until they find a strategy that delivers results.
However, in doing so, these companies are wasting valuable resources, potentially barking up the wrong tree by attempting to engage with people who have little to no interest in their products. It’s for this reason that audience analysis is of the utmost importance.
After all, the message behind your content is only one part of the story. Understanding to whom you are delivering the message is what will truly help you find results and maximize ROI.
Why you need to understand your target audience
In marketing terms, audience analysis refers to researching a specific subsection of consumers to better understand their decision-making processes, likes, and interests. The idea is to gain insights into how these customers think, their concerns, or even what type of media they prefer to consume.
Once collected, the data is analyzed to provide useful and actionable consumer insights that marketers can use to generate more specific buyer personas, thereby increasing the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.
So, why bother collecting all of this data in the first place? Nowadays, brands recognize the value of targeted marketing. With paid advertising expenditures rising year after year, profit margins have become razor-thin. As a result, organizations on a tight budget simply cannot afford to waste money by displaying irrelevant and sub-optimal ads to uninterested consumers.
On that note, here’s a quick rundown of the four main types of audience analysis that marketers employ today.
Most markets tend to include some form of demographic analysis when formulating buyer personas. This is largely due to the simplicity of the analysis and the fact that it is one of the easiest ways to develop a deeper understanding of your audience.
At its core, demographic analysis is all about learning the basic details about your audience, such as their age, location, occupation and gender. For the most part, the data you collected through this research will be quantitative, making life easier when it comes to analysis, especially if you use an audience research tool to do the heavy lifting.
For example, if you learn that your average reader is a Gen X female, then you can tailor your marketing strategy to match the general preferences and interests of that demographic.
Behavioral analysis is concerned with how your audience acts – when talking to friends, searching for products or simply browsing the internet. This encompasses their preferred methods of communication, what social media channels they use, the content formats they most frequently consume, and what type of ads they respond to best.
Armed with this data, you will be able to understand the mindset of your target audience, which should give clues to the most effective ways to formulate your content/brand strategy.
For instance, something as simple as understanding the devices your audience uses can deliver huge results. Suppose your audience tends to browse web pages and social media on their smartphones. In that case, you might opt to prioritize short-form content in order to quickly capture their attention.
Psychographic audience analysis attempts to reveal the pre-existing notions that your audience already possesses on a variety of subjects.
This can be anything from their religious beliefs, political opinions, attitudes towards certain social movements, or just the general values that they hold in their lives. Of course, this information is vastly more complicated to obtain than demographic or behavioral analysis, and since a large part of the interpretation is subjective, it can be easy to make incorrect assumptions that can harm your strategy.
However, if you can pull it off, the insights derived from accurate psychographic audience analysis can help you to laser in on your target market and deliver content to them that is finely tuned to their interest and core beliefs. Customers who feel emotional affinities with the brands they patronize are the most loyal.
Finally, situational analysis is a method typically applied to live settings, since it is intended to consider the physical surroundings and setting of the audience, and how those factors will influence them. Still, these same principles can be applied when formulating your digital strategy.
As an illustration, you could use situational analysis to better understand how public holidays, seasonal changes, and large events impact your audience. The Covid-19 pandemic is a great example of an unexpected situation that radically altered how audiences behaved across practically every single demographic.
Examining how audiences react to situations and how their habits change is pivotal if you want to continue engaging with them successfully.
Knowledge is power, as the saying goes, and this is certainly true when it comes to developing your content strategy. Each of these four methods will assist you in gaining vital insights into your audience, allowing you to maximize the impact of your branding and marketing initiatives.
Of course, which methods you employ will depend on the industry you operate in and the results you want to attain. However, it wouldn’t hurt to conduct at least some type of analysis in each area to clearly define your audience and optimize the outcomes of your marketing efforts.