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I’ve Profiled My Audience, Now What? Gathering Audience Insights

June 11, 2015

In media, knowledge is power, and as our ability to profile audiences, gather information and generate genuine insight into an advertiser’s target market has improved dramatically over the past few years, so has our power. We are no longer at the mercy of small, out-dated sample data. Using the right tools we are able to harness the power of big data sets to accurately identify our target market, their age and gender, their income, their interests, their purchase intent, and even their emotional state. Audience Insights are available┬áin real time, accurate as of this second.

It’s an incredibly powerful position to be in for a marketer, but like Uncle Ben always said, with great power comes great responsibility. Responsibility to make sure that we use this knowledge to create exceptional marketing campaigns, which engage audiences in new and innovative ways, which create dialogue and which truly embody a new style of media and communications, centered on creating bespoke and intimate one-to-one experiences that are shared between a brand and its customers or prospects.

It all sounds very utopian, but there is truth to it. Data Management Platforms are changing the face of marketing and allowing advertisers to understand audiences like never before. A 360┬░ view created not from one or two media channels, but from all possible brand touch-points; online or offline, across all devices, all platforms, and all channels. Build on top of that a wealth of data from external 3rd party suppliers, and you can begin to create a picture of your audience founded on thousands upon thousands of interactions and data points.

But what do you do with that data once you have that picture, how do you extract insights, which insights do you extract, how best do you use this wealth of information to empower your marketing teams.

Here are three of my favorite use cases for audience profile reporting at the minute. It’s by no means a definitive list of all that can be done, but its a start:

1. Separate and Prioritize Audiences

It’s always a great idea to separate audiences into tiers based on their behaviors and their propensity to drive certain KPI’s and business results. Begin to identify and separate what a hot prospect looks like vs. a warm lead, a one-time buyer vs. a repeat customer, a shopper vs. a browser, high lifetime value vs. low. It doesn’t matter how you decide to break down your audiences, but understanding the differences between them can be vital in aligning media channels, setting budgets, and aligning creative.

2. Watch Audience Evolution

We now have more accurate and real-time audience profiling capabilities than ever before. This means that for the first time you are able to observe audience evolution far more closely. As well as just identifying audience profiles, begin to evaluate how those profiles change over the course of time and how media and communications impacts not just on volume of new audience acquisition but type of new customer acquisition. Are your most engaged users getting older, are they still interested in the same things as they were before, and are your marketing efforts making any difference to the composition of your customer base for better or for worse?

3. Develop Unique Content

Coming up with unique content that we know audiences will engage with, and that we know will form part of the path to purchase is difficult, time consuming and can be ultimately fruitless if you get it wrong. Audience profiling can help to inform the content decisions you make by allowing you to understanding what your high priority audiences are interested in, and what content they are engaging with whilst they are not on your properties. Using this insight for native content distribution, video content, social and SEO, is a great way of using centralized data to break down barriers between media channels.

Big data can be hard to control, hard to manage and quite overwhelming in its magnitude. These are just a few examples of some possible use cases for getting instant value out of audience profile reports, but in reality there will be countless possibilities and a variety of opportunities to maximize the power of big data for a given advertiser. What’s important is you work with a specialist team of experts that can clearly structure an approach to data management and data output, and a platform that is agile and flexible in its capabilities and product road map. If you don’t have either of these in place then you could get lost in a maze of data and never truly realize the potential upside.