The Power of Audience Insight – Why More is More
At Meltwater, we’re privileged enough to work with some passionate marketing, and specifically, social media strategists – who find creative and insightful approaches to each discipline. Many of them are looking for insightful ways to face the daily challenge of collating useful data.
Most companies still rely on basic demographic data from platforms such as Facebook, which can offer helpful starting points. However, these initial data-sets certainly aren’t enough to make a significant impact on the success of strategy and campaign roll-out.
The blatant challenge here is in overcoming the tendency to rely solely on demographic data, and drawing premature insights from this, versus combining that data with sociographic dimensions.
Let’s look at an example…
The interface above is a familiar sight to every social media strategist by now. It’s a quick overview of content performance on Facebook that offers basic insight into community size and growth, content reach and engagement, in comparison to previous time periods.
You would also have a view into the performance of the competitors you identify and set, based on a few limiting metrics. Most companies use the business tool and other social software to gain greater insights and to automate reporting – but really, is that enough to achieve something remarkable with your strategies?
- At the end of that process, what do you really know about your audience(s)?
- How are you identifying key traits and behaviours, and creating content accordingly?
- Do you see the value in rich demographic analyses and, if so, are you gathering enough insight to actually do these?
For most marketing teams, these questions begin to show gaping holes in audience insight strategies and how we target content, identify competitors, stay part of the conversations about our brand and align with the right influencers and consumers.
There really is a wealth of information available to us as a community that we need to harness in order to improve every facet of our marketing plan.
So, how do we do better?
The simple answer here, is to create easy-to-consume but data-rich audience insight reports and to have the right mechanisms in place to do this.
Meltwater’s Audience insight reports go further in that they:
- Offer far richer analysis.
- Segment the total audience based on the communities who follow each other.
- Pull up information about the parent companies.
- Do comparative analyses, look at common personality traits, online habits, commonalities in interests and keywords.
- Identify the influencers who these different segments follow.
- Understand the content users are engaging with to help you resonate with different segments and advertising platforms and speak to the different segments.
- Identify brands that can influence that segment and find partnership opportunities. Which brands have the closest affinities with certain segments? If, for example, you are the LA Lakers and you’re starting a partnership with Lyft, you can see which of your players are most followed by people who also follow Lyft.
- Help you find a direct tie-in to these individuals on Twitter. Understand the content that’s resonating with these users.
- Give you the chance to create tailored content for each segment.
- Export all of these different segments and then use them in Sysomos to do some audience-centric social listening and understand them beyond keywords.
- You can listen in on the conversation and get a sense of what they’re talking about and understand where you can contribute to the conversation.
The key to quality market research
Essentially, audience profiling is crucial to the discovery process. By creating a socio-affinity “portrait” of your audiences you can begint o combine their socio-demographics behaviours, and gain insights from their interactions. While the science of segmenting an audience is never a perfect one – it can go a long way in expanding our understanding as marketers. In fact, 80% of marketing professionals have cited audience profiling as a challenge, indicating that understanding consumers can be a stumbling block.
Profiling tools are crucial to the success of your campaigns
A profiling tool can help give you insight into various audience segments. For example, we can look to Meltwater software to get an idea of how an audience is profiled.
Let’s say, we look at Spiderman fans worldwide as an example (see above). We can quickly establish where they are located, what languages they predominantly speak and what other interests, competencies and demographics they share, in a single view. There is also the opportunity to dive deeper into the data.
If we look at a centralised dashboard, we can also see socio-graphic information, influencers and brands followed, interests, media preferences, content tracked and personality and behavioural traits.
We are also privy to more intricate details, such as the type of device used, favourite social media platforms, publication preferences, days and hours of activity, types of content consumed, participation in events and more about the navigational behaviour of our audiences.
From a market research perspective, we can actually work with the target demographic and understand what those people are talking about, i.e. females aged 18 – 24 in the United Kingdom who have “cryptocurrency” in their bio.
We can also understand the audiences of your competitors. Are they more successful than you at marketing to a certain gender or age range? You can find out where there are opportunities for competitive intrusion and taking some of that market share back.
You can easily see the reach of monthly publications but now you can see the social audience. Audience Insight Reports are therefore crucial to any marketing discovery.
Collate audience insights and put them to good use
This is a particularly useful approach to those of us who have the room to formulate experimental marketing strategies and execute on the data we collect.
- Each group is going to have a specific group of influencers who influence that segment.
- Find the influencers followed by the most people in that segment – “affinities”.
- Also, understand from a uniqueness standpoint (which are most unique to each segment). This can help you identify micro-influencers who might be more cost-effective but still powerful.
Insight for search and paid media
It’s also a perfect fit for search and paid media professionals who want to profile very specific users and target paid media and search campaigns to a very specific demographic or persona.
There is a plugin that allows you to segment audiences and advertise directly to those people on Twitter with promoted tweets. This is a great way to cut through the noise and show them content that only they see.
PR and communications professionals can use audience insights to find publications and personalities, and to create specific angles and comms geared towards a target demographic. It’s also an important mechanism in terms of finding fitting influencers.
Content curation is best when you can understand which content really resonated with people in different segments. See what people liked on Twitter, get insight into the personality of these personas, you can even see purchasing habits and the social channels they are most active on.
This allows you to craft a very tailored strategy. This also allows them to identify all the people going after their brand and to engage and respond to them.
Anyone who needs to understand the audiences who are talking about your brand and products should have some form of comprehensive audience insight.
Audience Insights in action
Most brands have multiple target segments. If, for example, you run basic insights on Budweiser Light, you will see three people who have mentioned the brand. One comes from the vantage point of the LGBTQ community, one association with Nascar and one with Game of Thrones. If you wanted to appeal to these three different people or connect with them, you’d need to identify these mentions and then speak to these individuals.
It’s extremely time consuming and labour intensive to manually connect with your audience. Go beyond the basics and really tap into the minds and behaviour of your consumers. Identify opportunities for better marketing strategies and empower your team to create more meaningful insight and data-driven campaigns, by prioritising insight.