The internet has made connection and communication ubiquitous across the globe. Reaching out to your audience through a sea of screens isn’t as easy as it used to be! If you want to gain organic and profitable growth then you have to drive creative energy into your strategies and diversify your efforts to reach a broader audience.
Your goal is to help people find your Shopify website through their own efforts - organically. You can only do this by getting to know your audience on a deeper level. Meaning, you must look beyond predefined personas and really take a closer look at the individual.
We think it sucks that so much of web marketing today is ‘buy ads on Facebook and Google.’ That duopoly makes marketing less creative, less interesting, and less fruitful. It’s great for Google and Facebook’s bottom line, but that’s where the benefit ends.
Rand Fishkin - SparkToro
It’s time to find out how your audience spends their time, and discover what keeps their attention flaring. Once you understand the rounded person, you can execute stronger and more effective targeted marketing strategies.
What is audience intelligence research?
Living in a booming ecommerce world means we’re losing out on the opportunity to meet our consumers face to face. This makes it difficult to understand who they really are and what you, as a brand, can do to improve their lives.
Now is the time to start obtaining and understanding a new side to insight, and start discovering what resonates with your audience based on their behaviour, lifestyles, moments, and the topics and opinions that they care and talk about. This can go as far as identifying certain music, books, films, events or movements that people in your target audience are interested in.
If you investigate these sectors of entertainment and interest closely, you’ll find new digital areas that deserve more robust marketing investment. Ultimately, this improves a great variety of business efforts, including:
- Development of new marketing opportunities
- Targeted marketing campaign opportunities
- Audience discovery and segmentation
- Product development
- Creative asset development
- Above the line advertising
- Content curation and creation
How to get started with audience intelligence research
According to Pulsar, an advanced audience intelligence platform and Facebook Audience Insight Partner, getting started isn’t a complicated procedure. If you throw a creative eye over the data you’ve already accumulated on your audience, you can start rolling out an audience intelligence strategy straight away.
We’re going to cover some of the most important tips that will kick-start your new strategy right into the success zone:
- First, understand that audience intelligence is an evolution of social listening
Sometimes your audience is talking about your brand and its products on social media, without involving you in the conversation directly through hashtags or mentions. Social listening tools allow you to monitor this conversation, maintain a broader understanding of your audiences’ emotions and feelings, and uncover new opportunities in your market.
The downfall: all the information you gain from social listening tools are confined to social platforms, and so you lose out on bulks of valuable data that you could be receiving if you were exploring conversation and interaction on extended digital platforms.
Audience intelligence goes beyond the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, and covers a much wider range of signals that will teach you more about your audience as individuals.
But to start executing audience intelligence research, you need to still have a good idea of who your audience is! Therefore, social listening tools become an integral part of the bigger picture, and cannot be excluded when audience intelligence research starts. If you haven’t been implementing social listening, you won’t be able to accumulate valuable and precise data to start your audience intelligence research off with in the first place.
- Choose reliable social listening tools
If you’re running a Shopify store, you’re always on the lookout for new consumers. One of the best ways to find them is by jumping into the pool of raw and unfiltered conversations happening across social platforms. And do so at the right time! Once you enter these uncharted conversations, you’ll discover a whole new realm of benefits that will support both your brand growth and your upcoming audience intelligence efforts.
The three most important benefits include:
Creating sustainable and ongoing social media growth by making yourself present to new users, and by identifying which brand keywords, industry keywords, location-specific keywords and negative keywords you should track across platforms.
Receiving honest feedback that will help improve your brand and its products at the core, and address indirect complaints before consumers have to reach out to you directly. This all also forms a part of improving your sentiment analysis efforts.
Uncovering hard data and emerging trends that will help you identify, track and analyse influencers and micro-influencers to help you extend your brand reach beyond your own social platforms. Remember that influencers – big or small – can have a great impact on your word-of-mouth marketing too. No matter how big digital may be, you never want to lose touch of your word-of-mouth marketing.
Shopify has listed eight social listening tools as reliable resources that will help you accomplish all of your social listening goals:
Okay – so how do you choose between all of these? Is there a best one? Would it be useful to combine some of them for optimal outcomes?
Buying into any tool requires research. But no two answers will be the same, because every company runs on different business objectives and may require different forms of insight.
The best thing to do is to get in touch with us! Our team has worked on each one of these tools across dozens of projects. We’ll analyse and compartmentalise your precise objectives and get back to you with a suited and sturdy strategy. We’ve got you!
- Segment your audience further using precise data
Your audience will be segmented quite well already if you’re using your social listening tools properly. But this segmentation is most likely based solely on demographics. When you only consider demographics, you run the risk of over-simplifying your target market, which weakens your overall strategy at the core.
So avoid relying on statistical characterisation alone and dive deeper into your audience segments. Find those finer details that separate your consumers, as individuals, from one another.
To start, dissect your segmented audiences carefully so that you can see how to break them up into sub-categories. Form these sub-categories around passion networks (fashion, technology, politics, TV and film, fitness, music, food, sport – there are hundreds) that connect different groups of people. Sub-communities and passion networks usually cluster around either geographic, ethnic or interest affinities, sometimes a mix of all three: the interest shapes the audience.
If you do this right, you will have a less fragmented view of your audience and finally start to understand how individuals form parts of different cultures, educational groups, professional hubs, and so on. This means you will start producing more relevant marketing and your targeting will become more in sync with the moments, the behaviours and the affinities of your audience.
- Trial and error with ongoing research efforts
Social evolution will never stop, and so your research and analysis can’t stop either. Once you have a deeper understanding of your audience and you’re rolling out strategies that are actionable to business objectives, the tracking and monitoring can begin.
Jillian Ney, Digital Behaviour Scientist at Brandwatch, suggests that we should “follow the new business model of understanding and leveraging audience behaviour for competitive advantage”. Our social analysis initiatives must analyse more narrow streams of information if we want to start understanding consumers on a personal level.
She mentions 8 important things we need to know if we want to implement better social intelligence:
Social media is qualitative, not quantitative. Question the intent behind the numbers instead of looking at the volume.
Generate insight from your findings, not just analytics. Sure, you can create beautiful graphs and infographics with the numbers your data gives, but is it saying anything? You need creative human input to turn data into valuable, actionable insight.
Practice data manipulation, not macro metering. Social listening tools and other analytic tools deliver information based on predefined metrics. It’s up to you to seek out new patterns and specific answers according to your business objectives.
The why is more important than the what. It’s not enough to report information and call it a day. You need to look into what exactly caused certain actions and discover the motive behind your audiences’ opinions and behaviours.
Look at context, don’t fall for buzz. Sometimes the topics being discussed on social can media boom into a frenzy. With so many words being passed around by thousands of people, context can get lost. Take the time to read into specific situations and understand the motive of the conversation, not only the subject.
Behaviour reveals more information that engagement. When you analyse behavioural metrics instead of merely measuring engagement, you’ll start to understand the full story behind both normal and disruptive social media behaviour.
Human vision is more important than algorithm. Algorithms are good at providing outputs and metrics, but cannot make solid business decisions for you. You need dedicated human input to analyse algorithms, develop theories and execute sound strategies.
Work towards actions, not outputs. It doesn’t help you reach a goal of followers, mentions or engagements if you’re not capitalising on the outcome. Every time you see an accomplishment in your strategy, use that opportunity to flourish the outcome into further action. Your strategy efforts are ever-changing and never-ending.
Get in touch with us
Now that you know how seriously we take audience intelligence, you can reach out to us and start putting plans into action. Our team of creatives and strategists are constantly on the lookout for new opportunities to make your brand prosper. Our research is always up to date and our passion for your success will never run dry. Give us a call and let’s get started!