Top free tools to help you identify new audiences
Spearhead your audience discovery initiatives with data, tactics and strategies driven by these 5 top tools
In the previous post in this two-part series, we discussed the key ways to go about discovering new customer segments to target.
As we mentioned, the audience discovery process—when undertaken manually—can often be rather time- and resource-consuming. It’s even more so when you recognize that it needs to be an ongoing process—not something to be done on an as-needed basis.
Luckily, you don’t have to go through this process completely manually. To be sure, there is a wide variety of free tools you can use to spearhead your audience discovery initiatives—and to help make audience discovery a routine part of your organization’s processes.
Let’s take a look at five of the most valuable tools at your disposal.
Google Analytics is the most widely-used web analytics tool on the web—and for good reason.
With Google Analytics, you can easily collect a vast amount of information from your site visitors, from basic demographic and geographic data to information relating to their on-site behaviors and actions. Additionally, GA’s Audience Report function uses this collected data to help you identify the most impactful aspects of your audience, then create further audience segments as appropriate.
While you can—and should—use Google Analytics to better understand and engage with your current audience, you can also use the tool to manually and/or automatically discover new customer segments, as well.
In fact, Google provides the following example of a hypothetical company doing just that:
“An outdoor apparel company checks the Google Ads audience insights report for their ‘All converters’ list. They discover that the people who typically convert on their website are: women, ages 25 to 44, outdoor enthusiasts, mostly use mobile devices, and currently in the market for shoes. They decide to create a campaign with ads that target this audience profile.”
Here, the company used Google Analytics to uncover a specific persona within their core customer base, then created an ad campaign specifically aimed at these individuals. Generally speaking, this campaign is likely to perform much better than a generalized campaign targeting an entire audience base.
Another way to use Google Analytics for audience discovery is to use the Customer Match function. This allows you to define the most impactful aspects of your current customer base, then use this information to automatically target similar audiences within Google’s network.
As we discussed in the first part of this series, the idea here is to identify audiences who are tangentially related to your highest-value customers, then tweak your marketing campaigns and/or your products and services to provide for the needs of this new audience.
(And, since Customer Match aims to find audiences of relatively similar quality to your existing base, you likely won’t need to make too many drastic changes to your approach in order to get them on board.)
Facebook Audience Insights
For brands that operate and advertise on Facebook, Audience Insights aims to help them
“learn more about their target audiences, including aggregate information about geography, demographics, purchase behavior and more.”
Some of the key information you can collect from your Facebook audience includes:
- Pages liked (both by brand and category)
- Facebook usage info (such as frequency, session length, and device used)
- Consumer-related activities, behaviors, and preferences
Not only can you access this information from your current audience on Facebook, but you can also then use this info to identify similar audiences from within Facebook’s entire user database (similar to Google’s Customer Match function).
(Note: You can also use Facebook’s Lookalike Audience function to find new audience members that match your current core persona. While these individuals may not technically be considered a “new” audience segment, you can still expand your core audience in this manner. More on Lookalike Audiences and other Facebook tactics here.)
Moving beyond Facebook, you can use the information you uncovered via Audience Insights to manually brainstorm new potential segments to target. Basically, the idea is to use Facebook’s audience analytics tools to uncover as much information as possible on your current base—then use the most important data points to construct new personas to look for both on Facebook and elsewhere.
Twitter Audience Insights
Twitter’s Audience Insights tool is similar to Facebook’s, in that it allows you to uncover a treasure trove of data on your Twitter following, including their:
- Purchasing behavior
- Media consumption and preferences
- Mobile footprint
You can also compare your audience’s data to Twitter’s overall audience base, as well. This allows you to identify specific data points that may be unique to your audience in some way—in turn enabling you to focus on tailoring future marketing initiatives to address these factors.
(For example, you may discover that your audience is more apt than the general Twitter population to consume longform video content. In turn, you’ll know to continue sprinkling such longform content into your overall content catalog.)
In terms of seeking out new audiences to target, you can take a similar approach as you did with Facebook: Use the information you’ve uncovered regarding your current audience to discover tangential audiences you can target with just a few minor tweaks to your core approach.
Again, the idea is to find new targets who don’t exactly fit the mold of your current customer base, but who aren’t completely different from them, either. It just may be that your second-most valuable audience turns out to look almost exactly like your core customer segment—but is just different enough to make up a new segment entirely.
SEMRush’s Audience Overlap
SEMRush is a well-known suite of marketing tools aimed at helping brands stand out from their competitors and reach their target audience in the most effective way possible.
One of the tools in SEMRush’s collection is Audience Overlap. This software allows users to compare a variety of metrics for up to five websites—specifically focusing on the traffic generated by each.
To be sure, the main purpose of using Audience Overlap is to conduct competitive analysis. But, in doing so, you can also deduce a ton of information about your potential secondary audiences.
For example, you might decide to brainstorm a list of tangential websites your target audience is likely interested in (say, for example, a sports news page). A large overlap might indicate a high level of interest in the topics covered on this other website—meaning that many consumers who are interested in sports news might also be interested in whatever you have to offer. This can lead you to create a secondary audience persona heavily identifiable by their interest in sports (in addition to your brand, of course).
You might also use this overlap to unearth potential collaborative efforts with various other companies whose products or services complement your own. For example, Tivoli Audio has partnered with NPR to develop co-branded products—then offer these products on both companies’ websites.
The idea here is that Tivoli and NPR realized their respective audiences overlapped in a number of ways, allowing both brands to create an entirely new customer segment to target.
While you’ll have to do a bit more digging into the audiences you uncover via Audience Overlap, the tool can provide a good starting point for extrapolating information on potential new targets. From there, it’s a matter of figuring out how and why your audience overlaps with another company’s—and using this information to reach out and provide value to your new target customers.
Novarize is a next generation audience analysis and discovery platform. Novarize uses augmented analytics to proactively surface audience segments, so that all the heavy lifting is done autonomously. Since the solution is brand-centric, all you have to do is define your marketing objective, product line or product. Novarize then scans the open web for the most valuable audience segments for your needs. Multiple-source data and real-time analysis ensures that you get fresh, contextual audiences.
Since Novarize delivers each audience segment with all the insights you need for effective targeting and engagement, you can quickly test hypotheses and validate valuable segments. Insights include demographics, sentiment, audiences' main concerns, interests, and targeting info (i.e. most active times, most engaging formats etc.)
A unique feature of this platform enables users to request specific audiences, with a drill down into the most granular attributes. For example, you can target audiences that engage with your competitors but haven't heard about you, those with a special interest in packaging, audiences that have a negative sentiment about your brand, and so on.