What Is a Target Audience and How You Can Analyze Yours
A target audience analysis is something every business owner needs to know, understand, do, revisit, and review.
Because your customers (or prospect) are the beating heart of almost every organization.
Markets shift, and consumer behaviors change fast: which is why companies need to perform regular target audience analysis.
What is target audience analysis?
A target audience analysis is a structured process of gathering and interpreting information and data about the people most likely to consume your product or service. The goal is to identify the unique and common characteristics.
There are different approaches to researching your target audience, but they generally follow similar steps. The tactic you choose depends on your type of business and the lifecycle stage of your product. This determines the type of target audience you want to define and the factors you need to analyze in your marketing strategy.
What is a target audience?
A target audience is a group of people defined by various common attributes and characteristics. Simply put: they are the groups of people most likely to purchase your product or service. Defining this audience is an important part of creating a successful strategy.
I’ll give you a quick example:
Let’s say, an online shoe seller believes their potential customers are all the people who need shoes — virtually everybody in the world. But the people looking for elegant pumps are probably different than those searching for waterproof trekking boots. Doing an audience analysis on your existing customers is a great first step in helping you define what your ideal customer profile should look like. For the online shoe seller, it will be important to look at existing customers’ common characteristics and behaviors. Consider social media channels, subscribers, geographical locations, and even payment preferences to help define this even further.
How to define a target audience
Stary by describing the pain points your product solves or the challenge it helps to overcome. Your target audience defines itself through your product attributes. For example, an SEO agency is beneficial for people or companies with a web presence; and a blood sugar monitoring app is useful for people with diabetes.
Now you have a broad definition of a vague audience. But that’s not enough to position yourself in the market and create an approach for your marketing message. You need to find additional factors that make this group of people unique and the characteristics they have in common. Keep reading, as I’m going to show you how to perform a target audience, step-by-step.
Types of target audiences for analysis
Start by breaking your analysis down into categories or types of target audiences. Typically you will define them according to:
- Consumer behavior
- Product-specific criteria
Marketers may add purchase intention or funnel stage. Campaigns can target prospects or lead in a specific stage of the buyer journey.
Set your priorities. Is your customer base primarily defined by demographic information, related factors, or any other types? That’s where you start your analysis. Eventually, your market research and target audience definition will comprise elements from each category.
Let’s look more closely at what each category includes.
The most basic type of target audience analysis is defined by demographics. Demographic factors include:
- Socioeconomic status
- Marital status
3. Consumer behavior
In many industries, it is important to characterize your customers’ online behavior, specifically regarding purchasing decisions. Analyzing how people purchase allows you to adapt your website’s UX/UI design, marketing campaigns, marketing messages, and overall marketing efforts.
- How long is the purchasing process?
- Which social networks do they prefer?
- Payment preferences?
- Through which marketing channel did they arrive?
You likely offer more than a single product or even several product categories. You want to specify what’s unique and how to target the most probable customer for each product type.
Let’s say you offer separate subscription packages for your SaaS platform, from a basic startup to a full-scale enterprise. What features does the enterprise solution offer? Which common pain point does it solve for business owners and digital marketing professionals? And What does this mean for the potential user who would or would not benefit from your product?
This is also relevant for niche products or solutions that are highly specific. Let’s say you’re a small business offering online courses in web programming. You want to find out if you are attracting beginners making a career change or experienced programmers who want to expand their knowledge.
In this category, you could add practically anything that is a relevant factor for your customers.
Your competitor’s audience
Start collecting data about your competitors’ target audiences to level up your target audience analysis. Find specific groups to include in your audience research and marketing plan. This is useful for two reasons: First, your direct competitors target the same audience as you, which means you can apply their audience characteristics. Secondly, compare and assess how you stack up to your competition. Identify areas where you are more successful and refine your targeting tactics.
Use your target audience analysis to refine your targeting tactics.
How to find and research your target audience
- Buyer personas: Imagine your ideal customer. Who would benefit most from your product? Create a detailed profile including demographic data, interests, and purchase behavior.
- Surveys: Ask your audience directly about their interests and preferences. Simple, free survey software, such as SurveyMonkey, lets you create easy-to-navigate questionnaires that you can distribute to your contact lists or on social media.
- Google Analytics: Collect data with GA about audience demographics and online behavior.
- Similarweb: Get additional data with Similarweb’s audience analysis tools and monitor your content. Investigate your competitor’s audience demographic information and behavior and compare against them.
- Facebook and Twitter Insights: Use various social media platforms’ analytics tools.
- Social Monitoring: Start social media monitoring with programs like Sprout and social listening tools to get additional insights. Find out who says what about you and your competitors.
- Salesforce: Analyze your current customers’ preferences and characteristics and map the buyer journey.
- Feedback via email, website: Request feedback after purchase or interaction with customer service. Encourage customers to leave reviews. Engage with your audience directly.
- Competitors’ websites: Analyze your competitors’ websites and social media presence.
- Relevant online groups: Join relevant online groups and participate in discussions.
Target audience analysis examples
1. Target audience analysis examples for a new e-learning platform
Imagine you are starting a platform for building and running online courses like teachable. That could be anything from baking to weight loss, graphic design to origami, or a foreign language. The range of vendors who might use the platform is massive. The only thing they have in common is the desire to teach online and make money with it. How do you know which type will likely take you up on your offer?
Since you are only starting, you wouldn’t be able to target all of them but would have to identify the most likely group of coaches or teachers to begin with. An analysis can help you decide to focus on a specific area, such as handicrafts or fitness. Or it could reveal that targeting a particular age group in a specific stage of life may be your best bet.
2. Target audience analysis examples for a D2C athleisure brand
Now let’s assume you are an eCommerce business like aloyoga.com, offering courses, and it’s Yoga. The group of consumers most likely to attend your programs would-be mothers with small children at home. Your potential clients are physically active and share some concerns about fitness and health.
To effectively market your D2C brand, you need to know how and where to reach them digitally.
Another factor to analyze is the extremely high competition. With people stuck at home due to the pandemic, online Yoga classes have exploded. Understand how other instructors position themselves and define a specific target customer or market segment that suits you.
3. Target audience analysis example for a click-and-mortar apparel retailer
Here’s a question for you: Do you think Nike markets to one target audience? Of course not. A brand this size needs to identify multiple target audiences. They could define them according to different types of products, specific purchase behavior — online or offline, demographics, conversion rates, and so on.
In a target audience analysis or segmentation, they would cross-reference variants. For example, what are the demographics of people buying online vs. offline? Which age group is most likely to respond to which type of advertising and which products do they purchase?
4. Target audience analysis examples for a B2B/SaaS provider
For a business-to-business (B2B) company like Similarweb, you would want to describe the company that needs your service. You would analyze the size, industry, and reach. It’s also helpful to understand what differentiates the end-user from the decision-maker. This way, you can allocate types of audiences to products and campaigns to a segment of that audience. You would focus more on the B2B company’s digital presence and the purchasing process than on our previous examples.
When you understand the importance of properly defining your target market, the value of taking a methodical approach to data analysis that focuses on a specific audience becomes clear. The results depend on the quality of the data you collect, which is a function of the tools you use for audience insights.
Similarweb’s analytics tool provides you with insight into audience demographics and behavior. It also lets you segment your audience for better targeting and analyze each segment further. Collect and examine data about your competition and their audiences to help position yourself and improve your audience targeting.