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What is audience analysis & why is it important to conduct?

You put work into making sure your products are of the highest quality. But if you sell hot dogs and your marketing campaigns only reach vegetarians, it doesn’t matter how amazing the product is. Understanding your audience is a basic prerequisite to finding and maintaining any success as a business, and performing audience analysis is how you achieve that.

What is audience analysis?

Audience analysis is the process of collecting as much information as possible about your audience to better understand who they are and what they care about.

That’s a broad definition of audience analysis, and in practice it can take on a few different forms.

Audiense blog - different forms of audience analysis

  • Social audience analysis uses the extensive data social media platforms have about active users to help brands understand their audience.
  • Branded audience analysis is focused on identifying and understanding the audience of a specific brand, whether your own or that of another company in your space.
  • Unbranded audience analysis is about understanding an audience with something other than a shared brand in common, such as customers of a general product type or readers of a particular publication.
  • Competitor audience analysis is when you identify and analyze data about the audiences of your competitors.
  • Demographic audience analysis is categorizing and analyzing an audience based on specific demographic categories, like age, gender, and geographic location.
  • Psychographic audience analysis is when you categorize and analyze an audience based on factors like affinity, interests, and values.

Audience research has long been a part of doing business, but today target audience analysis is arguably easier than ever. Brands now have access to a huge amount of audience data via social media platforms. If you can effectively turn all that information into clear insights about who your audience is and what they care about, you can use what you learn to build a more successful all-around business strategy.

Why is audience analysis important?

Audience analysis is important because you can’t effectively communicate with an audience you don’t understand. For businesses, reaching the right people and crafting a message that resonates with them specifically is crucial for achieving any success.

And beyond gaining a basic understanding of who your audience is (and who it isn’t), target audience analysis helps you answer a number of strategic business questions, such as:

  • What platforms and channels should we invest in? If you know your audience hangs out on Twitter more than Instagram, you can focus your efforts accordingly.
  • What types of topics should our content cover? Social data reveals the types of content your audience is sharing and topics they’re discussing online, which helps you create a content calendar relevant to their interests.
  • What kind of factors do our customers consider in choosing a brand? Are they price conscious consumers that often talk about discounts and deals, or quality seekers that talk about their favorite name brands? Social data can help you pick up on their shopping habits.
  • What values are most important to our audience? Consumers increasingly factor brand values into their shopping choices. Social audience analysis offers insights into what values matter to them, so you can match your company’s actions and messaging to their priorities.

Audiense blog - target audience analysis helps you answer a number of strategic business questions

How to conduct audience analysis

The particulars of how to do audience analysis will vary based on your resources and needs, but a good social audience analysis process will often include the following steps.

1. Select an audience analysis tool

Social media offers a ton of audience data, which is mostly a good thing. But if you try to monitor and analyze it all manually, it quickly becomes overwhelming. An audience research software simplifies the audience analysis process. It makes the work of monitoring audience insights much more efficient, and paves the way to gaining more useful information.

2. Clarify what questions you want to answer

Your audience analysis process will have more focus if you determine what you want to get from it at the outset. Determine the specific goals you have, so you can shape your research based on your needs.

3. Decide what to create your audience based on

Based on the questions you selected in the last step, figure out what common factor to use in creating your audience. If it’s a branded audience, that will mean using your customer list, one of your brand accounts, or that of a competitor. If it’s unbranded, you may want to use a keyword, hashtag, or particular profile attribute like job role.

Audiense blog - Choose audience type - Audiense Insights

4. Generate an audience report

If you selected Audiense in step one, a report will be automatically generated once you’ve defined your audience.

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Now you can start digging into the data.

5. Use the data to answer your initial question

The report produced will contain a lot of different information. Spend some time with it to see what you learn, but don’t get too distracted from your initial goal. Keep the question you started the process with top of mind, and use the knowledge contained in the report to find the answer. Then repeat the process with any other goals or questions you have.

Uses for audience analysis research

Audience analysis research can be put to use in a number of valuable ways. Here are a few examples.

Audiense blog - Uses for audience analysis research

Understand your current customers better

Social media audience analysis can provide you a lot of information about who your audience is in terms of their geographic location, demographics, interests, and values. All of that helps you develop a business strategy based on who your target customers really are, and what they actually care about.

Identify new audiences

A good audience analysis tool will make it easy for you to identify new audiences. It can do that by identifying profiles that are similar to those of your current followers, and by helping you understand the audiences of your competitors.

Track trends in audience interests

People’s interests and habits change. Spotting trends in what your audience is doing and talking about sooner rather than later can help you stay on top of your industry, and develop a competitive advantage.

Find influencers in your space

Do your target customers tend to follow the same few accounts? Identifying the top influencers in your industry is an important step in kick starting an influencer marketing campaign. And paying attention to what influencers say and do can also help you better understand the kind of topics and content your audience will appreciate.

Identify business opportunities

If a lot of your audience complains about the same problem, that may reveal a product they need that no one else has created yet. Social audience analysis can reveal insights you can turn into product ideas, new features to add to existing products, new channels to consider, or new marketing initiatives to try out.

Create more relevant marketing strategies

Marketing works best when it’s relevant to the audience you’re targeting. Audience analysis ensures you understand how your customers think, what concerns they have, and what their main interests are. You can use that to craft more effective ads, choose more useful topics in your content marketing, and ensure you’re investing in the channels your audience actually spends time on.

Using Audiense for audience analysis

Audience analysis can be a powerful tool for improving business outcomes. But to achieve any of the benefits it can offer, you need the means to do it well.

Audiense Insights makes identifying relevant audiences and understanding who they are fast and easy. And it goes beyond basic demographics to help you grasp what your audience truly cares about, and what communities they’re a part of. All of that adds up to knowledge you can use to more effectively connect with them in the ways that matter most for your brand. Try Audiense Insights for free.

Audiense blog - Start a trial - Audiense Insights