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Knowing your brand’s target demographics can help you create better audience profiles and reach them on the platforms and in the places they frequent most.
There are a lot of ways to dig into the demographics of your current visitors and your target audience, and you may already have tools installed to start mining for information.
Here are seven tools you can use to learn more about who your current visitors and customers are, as well as the audience you want to attract.
If you’ve already built a social media following, both Facebook business pages and Instagram business accounts have tools you can use to find out more about who your audience is and what they like.
On Facebook, you can go to your business page, and under the “More” drop-down menu, click on “Insights.” Click on “People” on the left side of the page, and you can view basic demographic information like age group, gender, and location for fans, followers, people you’re reaching, and people who are engaging with you.
On Instagram, go to your profile page and click on the three bars on the top right corner of the screen. Then click “Insights.” If you go to the “Audience” tab, you can see location, age range, and gender information for your followers.
This demographic information tells you what kind of viewers you’re attracting with your content. You may be surprised by the results. Some brands may think their primary audience are Baby Boomers - but may learn that it’s mostly Gen X-ers that follow their Facebook page or Instagram feed. This can help you tweak your messaging to appeal to your ideal customer profile (or ICP).
Your website analytics can also provide a lot of valuable information about your current audience, which you can use to learn more about your brand’s target demographic.
For example, Google Analytics has an entire audience tab that provides the basics, like the geographic location and language of your visitors. Under “Demographics,” you can see the age range and gender of your visitors.
But it gets better. The “Interests” tab will also provide what your visitors are interested in: affinity categories like shoppers/value shoppers and technology/technophiles; in-market segments like home & garden/home décor and apparel & accessories/women’s apparel; and other categories like food & drink/cooking & recipes.
You can dive deeper into these categories to understand your ideal customers better: what they like, what they buy, and where they shop, for example. This information helps you tweak your messaging, as well as figure out new products or services to offer and where to offer them.
As with demographic information, the interests of your users may come as a surprise and provide opportunities to improve your marketing. For example, if you sell camping gear, you may learn that 30 percent of your visitors are technophiles. Knowing that these visitors are likely to buy the latest gadgets, you can serve up ads for camp stoves that also charge devices or cell phone signal boosters.
Storing information about your customers into a customer relationship management (CRM) platform gives you a great jumping off point for analyzing the data.
Direct-to-consumer brands have a leg up on the competition because they own all their customer data and don’t have to rely on a middleman like a reseller. Even if you don't use a CRM platform, you can leverage your customer data stored in your ecommerce platform. Your customers’ product wish lists, abandoned shopping carts, loyalty program data, and net promoter score (NPS) all help you identify customer behavior and satisfaction. You can combine that with cookie data or third-party insights to get information on the type of neighborhoods they live in, how they find your brand, and how they interact with your website.
For example, as a home goods retailer, you may learn that many of your highest-value customers live in suburban neighborhoods with a median annual income of $70,000 per year. Based on that information, you can target audiences in similar locations. You may also learn that your customers tend to place smaller-value items, like jar openers or garlic presses, on their wish lists as they shop for more expensive items like slow cookers or bread machines. This can help you when you’re creating promotions, like a “buy a stand mixer, get 25 percent off spatulas” deal. With a marketing tool that integrates with your CRM or ecommerce platform, such as Shopify, you can easily turn your customer insights into targeted marketing campaigns.
Another way to get more demographic information to use in your CRM platform is by conducting surveys of your highest value customers.
Beauty companies do this really well: they ask about hair color, eye color, and skin type so they can recommend cosmetic shades and products, for example. Surveys that collect information specific to your brand can provide even more insights into your target demographic that can help you recommend products and generate more sales.
If you survey your customers regularly or encourage them to update their information, you can also get ahead of any trends in the marketplace. Your home goods customers may start indicating their preferences for room decor is shifting from earth tones to bold jewel tones, and you can re-prioritize the products you promote accordingly.
If you use an advertising platform, look for a tool that provides a way to find customers with a “lookalike” feature. This helps you identify audiences similar to your target demographic. Some will offer interest-based targeting and will let you group audiences by interest. This lets you use the information you’ve gleaned about your existing audience to find other visitors that will likely become customers.
A lookalike targeting tool eliminates a lot of the guesswork when it comes to finding new customers. Instead of having to come up with demographic information for your ideal audience, the tool can use your existing information to display your ads to visitors who are most like your existing customers. AdRoll features an act-alike technology that looks at how visitors are behaving online, including what products they’re viewing, to help you target and tailor your message to them.
Your customer insights and demographic information can help you better serve your customers and give them what they want, boosting your revenue. Start using what you already have to learn more about your target demographics. In turn, this can help you refine your messaging and marketing to reach your audience, turning visitors into customers. If you’re not using one of these tools, it might be time to take a second look.
Social listening is a valuable tool to help you learn more about your target market. It differs from social media tracking because it tells you why your audience says certain things about your brand or related businesses on social media. Through social listening, you can learn more about trending topics your customers follow, the brands they interact with most and why, as well as where they spend their time engaging. With this information, you can not only learn more about your audience and their interests and behaviors, but you can structure your marketing campaign messages to reach and engage your audience better.
Social listening tools enable you to monitor multiple social platforms from one dashboard where you can check brand mentions, keyword searches, tags, and DMs.
Last but not the least, market research is a valuable tool for learning more about your target audience. Identify industry competitors who have the same target audience as you, and spend time researching their strategies. Start on their social media pages and evaluate what techniques and methods they use. What is their brand tone and messaging? What types of advertisements are they serving their audience? Most importantly, is what they are doing working? If your ideal audience is engaging with a specific brand, you can learn more about your audience–their demographics, interests, and behaviors–by researching how and why they engage with your competition. On the other hand, if your competitors don’t see success, research to find out why and then tailor your marketing to do the opposite.
Social media isn’t the only place to learn more about your target market via your industry competition. Take your market research a step further and dive into case studies, psychological analyses by marketers in your niche, and examples from successful businesses like yours. This information can give you a broad understanding of your audience insights, which you can use as you dive into your specific customer data details.
Originally published on August 6th, 2019, last updated on May 3rd, 2022.