4 components of a complete audience analysis

How do marketing analytics help professionals scrutinise target audience profiles?

In a way, a company's directors may view the marketing department as the window to the business' future.

Now more than ever, marketers are investing in data science. If enterprises can predict what their customers will seek in 10 years' time, they can prepare their services and products accordingly. It's a matter of securing their futures.

Data analysis isn't without challenges

According to some of the world's most revered marketers, big data endeavours are yielding returns. Infogroup Media Solutions surveyed 600 professionals working in the field, 47 per cent of whom said they were reaping the benefits of the data projects they conducted in the past. 

Structuring processes around collecting and scrutinising information isn't easy, however. Cross-channel integration proved a challenge for 40 per cent of respondents, and 35 per cent said they lack the quality of data that enables them to segment customers.

Furthermore, 53 per cent of marketers claimed they fail to collect enough customer information. 

To alleviate audience analysis and profiling difficulties, marketers must integrate the following metrics into their data assessments:

1. Demographics 

Probably the most popular categories among marketers, demographics provide the foundations of a thorough audience evaluation. They're a good place to start, because it allows professionals to classify people by certain characteristics that are more consistent than variable. For example, a person cannot change his or her age, gender or race. 

Demographics enable marketers to make reasonable estimates, as people in different age groups likely have different proclivities. For example, it's plausible to assume that the typical 60-year-old may not be an avid Twitter user. (According to Pew Research, only 12 per cent of people between 50 and 64 access the social media site). 

2. Psychographics 

Also known as interest, activities and opinions (IAO), psychographics abandons quantitative analysis and instead categorises a target audience's sentiments towards a particular subject, product, service, event or situation. Specifically, it focusses on how individuals make choices based on their values and beliefs. 

A psychographic analysis can only occur after specific consumer group demographics have been defined. To expand on the Twitter example, a psychographic​ assessment would seek to determine why the social media platform is unpopular among those between the ages of 50 and 64. Gannon University provided specific methods of conducting psychographic studies:

  • Oral interviews, as verbal discussions can enlighten surveyors to specific emotions
  • Focus groups, because they can inform marketers of specific behaviours
  • Passive observation, which removes the pressure of an interview or written survey

3. Prior knowledge 

Prior knowledge refers to a person's preconceived assumptions, interpretations and perceptions of a situation, service, product or the like. The University of Florida maintained that prior knowledge often translates to either positive or negative viewpoints regarding specific subjects.

For example, suppose a woman grew up using Microsoft Office to complete school work. Suppose Microsoft, five years after she graduated from University, released a new app that complemented Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Because the woman had worked extensively with the productivity suite in the past, she may be more inclined to try out the new app than someone who hasn't. Although this is an assumption, it's a reasonable one, from a marketer's perspective. 

4. Usage patterns 

Usage patterns measure how people interact with certain products or services. This definition can also be expanded to include how individuals behave when exposed to specific scenarios. 

Developing usage patterns may enable campaign development teams to both provide context behind psychographic​s conclusions and provide granular data regarding demographics.

For example, researchers from Spain and the Netherlands sought to scrutinise how people were using the web​ for social purposes. They broke users down into 'embryonic', 'amateur' and 'expert' users. While experts had the most active and diversified social presence, those identified as embryonic merely used the social web to send and create files. 

Each of these four categories contributes a considerable amount of knowledge to audience analyses, and marketers would be remiss to ignore any one of them.


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