Audience research is essentially any findings activity conducted on a specific sample (i.e. the audience!) in order to find out about their attitudes, behaviours and habits – i.e. to understand them. The sample can be made up of any group of interest – whether this is nationally representative, or focused on a particular age, gender, region, ethnicity and so on.
Audience research helps to answer a range of business questions, such as to find out what interests them, who influences them, what problems they have, what they think of existing products, role models or how they feel about branding and service. Audience research helps companies communicate with their audience and integrate their views and opinions into their products and services.
Audience research questions.
- Where do they look for said information?
- What has been their experience of a specific situation or product?
- What are the audience trying to achieve? E.g. escapism, time saving, knowledge etc.
- How does the product or service fit into their lives?
- Who, or what do they turn to for information or advice?
- What are their pain points, or unmet needs?
- What prompts the need (for the product or service)?
How to do audience research.
Get insights from Your Current Audience
Businesses should start with their current customers when doing audience research before anything else. Who are your typical clients or customers? Who already follows your brand on social media? Identify the existing supporters of your products or services. To to do so, look to the following places:
- Social media insights: Your social platforms have demographic information for your current followers. For example, on Facebook, you’ll find this if you go to “Insights” then “People.” With Twitter, head to the “Analytics” page, and select “Audiences.”
- Google Analytics: Unlock demographics on your website visitors by using your Google Analytics account. Refer to this in-depth guide from CoSchedule for instructions on where to look.
- Customer data: if you have a customer relationship manager (CRM), you can mine your account for demographic data. Additionally, your sales team and sales data will provide a view of your typical customers.
Research your competitors.
As you dive into competitive research, remember that understanding your current audience can help broaden your search.
Come up with buyer personas.
The essence of coming up with buyer persona is to help you get better insights into the lives of your audience it could be where they spend time on social media, hangout or even their digital activities which ranges from the browser they use, type of phone, gaming, interests, people they follow, pages they like, demography and so on.
An in-depth look at your major competitors and their marketing collateral for the purpose of documenting what’s working/what’s not.
This method will save you a lot of time, energy and even resources insted of finding or trying to figure out what works, you already have it done for you.
Interviews with people who work directly with the audience in question. If you work in an agency, this could mean interviewing your client. If you’re an in-house marketer, interview your colleagues in sales and customer success.