Do you know that feeling when you walk into a new restaurant or boutique or coffee shop and you immediately have this feeling of “this is the place for me”? I remember a few years ago, I was looking to join a new gym and I visited a few local gyms and they all seemed fine until I visited Equinox and I had that feeling. It cost more than twice what the other gyms cost but I felt that this was the place for me. And over the next week, I justified the price to myself. The reasoning in my head was something like, if I cut down on going out to eat so much, I can afford this.
As a marketer, I know that this was not by accident. Equinox engineered their entire business model, facilities, staff training, and customer service to attract business people in my age group and income bracket. Smart business owners and brand managers know that knowing your customers or your audience is crucial in designing and delivering the right product and excellent customer experiences.
Knowing the characteristics and makeup of your customers allows your brand to adapt the language and content of your messaging to the levels that customers understand and respond to. Once you know your customers well, you can craft a message that resonates with them. The entire language and tone of your brand can be crafted to make meaningful connections with your customers.
As brand managers, marketers and business owners, we usually only get one chance to make a good impression with a new customer. It is important that our presentation is easily understood and our message is already aligned with our audience’s values and lifestyle.Customer-centric branding is proven to increase both the initial conversion ratio and long-term brand loyalty.
If we get that just right, we are way ahead of our competition. We don’t have to win customers based on low prices. We offer something much more valuable. A sense of belonging.
The first step is to know your customers – and know them well. In this blog, I will share how my agency uses proven and simple methods to gain a deep understanding of various audiences for our clients. As you would expect, it starts with research.
Up until a few years ago, only very large companies could afford to conduct market research that yielded usable data. My agency used to pay thousands of dollars for demographic reports on behalf of our clients. They were very useful for designing campaigns and brand messaging, but very expensive – so we could only order them for larger campaigns. Over the years as prices dropped, we started to buy reports for smaller clients and campaigns. Then Facebook Audience Insights was released and made it free and available to all businesses! Not only is it free, but they cut out a lot of the marketing jargon and made it very easy to understand for the average business user.
Here is an immensely useful tool that is completely free to use. This tool is designed for Facebook advertisers but you can use it for free without buying any ads. I strongly recommend that you use this amazing tool and gain some valuable insight into your audience’s behavior. Here are some of the ways you can benefit from Audience Insights:
In this blog, I am going to show you how to use it the way we use it for our clients and campaigns.
There are a number of ways to create an audience in Facebook Audience Insights. If you already have a large following on Facebook, then select “People connected to your page” when you first start Audience Insights. You will then see a demographic report for your audience.
No problem. You can look up anybody else’s audience information too! Recently, after seeing the amount of information available on Facebook Audience Insights, my new marketing intern asked innocently; Is that legal? We all laughed but in reality, the depth of consumer behavior data that Facebook makes available to advertisers and business owners is really surprising at first.
If you do not have your own large-enough audience, you can add your competitors’ pages until you have a large enough data sample. Or you can start with what you already know about your audience and add filters until you see your audience. To get meaningful demographic metrics, your audience needs to be large enough. We usually look for an audience size of 70,000 and higher.
For the purposes of this blog, I am going to run a report for an LA based health and beauty company that performs drip IV treatments like B2 vitamin shots plus anti-aging and facial rejuvenation therapies and pain management. I know this is not exactly a mainstream business but it makes a good example because it is harder than normal. This is a relatively new small business with almost no social media following. Our goal is to find out who the customers are and how we should approach them.
I started by interviewing the business owners to find out who they think the audience is. They mentioned a few different types of people including:
We also know that our client’s service is more of a luxury than a necessity. People who are struggling financially are not lining up to get nutrient IV drips!
In this blog, we will study these three audience types. At Navazon Digital, we usually study 3-5 audience segments and create detailed personas (more on this later) for each.
Note: If this was a startup company and we did not have a good idea of who the audience is, we would find the top performing competitors in that space and enter their business names in Interests section of Audience Insights and build an audience that includes all of our competitors’ audiences.
Let’s build our first audience: Busy executives. We enter the parameters that we know in the filter section of CREATE AUDIENCE.
Our parameters return the following demographic data:
Although our real target audience location should be limited to parts of Los Angeles, we entered California to get a larger sampling. Remember, we are not currently targeting this audience for paid advertising. We are just performing audience research and we need a large enough sampling. The audience size returned by Audience Insights for California is 70,000 to 80,000, which is large enough.
Gender is almost 50/50 so we don’t need to target a specific gender. We see that our target audience age is between 45 and 64 years old. This is the age range we should focus on.
Audience Insights has a Lifestyle segment with interesting names and insight into the lifestyle of the audience. Our audience is part of the top 2 segments.
I would think that this kind of audience would not necessarily look for the best price but rather higher quality. If I were to design ads for this audience, I would not bother with offering a great price. I’d focus on quality care and personalized service.
We must also remember that this is a very desirable audience and as such, they are inundated with ads for everything from vacations to wines to jewelry and finance. Our content must be of the highest quality and interesting enough to compete with very high-end ads and offers.
Since they’re mostly married, I may recommend that my client offers some “couples treatments”.
I would recommend that my client offers services outside of regular office hours to accommodate this audience.
The Activity tab reveals some interesting information that can be useful when buying ads:
Under the Purchase tab, we see purchasing behavior figures for our audience. Keep in mind that Facebook sources this data from other companies like Epsilon, Datalogix, and Acxiom. These companies only have stats for a portion of the audience in our study. In this case, we see that only 18% of our audience matched Epsilons data. So consider these purchase metrics more as an indicator than authoritative statistics.
So our audience likes to buy their high-ticket items in retail but is comfortable buying low-ticket items online. This is in-line with what we see for buyers in this age range.
Under Purchase Behavior, we see that as expected, they spend a good amount of their income on their home and food. Their kids are likely grown up and moved out of the house, so spending is low in that category.
Our client’s service falls under Health and Beauty. We can see that our audience is interested in H&B more than the average Facebook user.
Facebook tracks vehicle data, probably due to the fact that automakers and dealerships buy a ton of advertising.
Our client’s business is not related to cars but they can still use this data. For instance, we could reach out to alternative fuel and hybrid car influencers and sponsor their content or buy display banners on their sites promoting our client’s treatments.
Ok. I think we are getting a good sense for our busy executive audience.
Save your audience so you can retrieve it in case you want to run an ad for this audience or study them further in the future.
Click Save and give it a name. You will be able to target this same audience in Ad Manager.
To really understand our audience, we create a persona for this audience segment. An audience persona is a semi-fictional character that we create based on demographics and known attributes like the ones we uncovered today. The persona represents one person with thoughts and feelings about your brand. Having a persona that represents this audience makes this audience real in our minds. When we are writing emails or crafting other content and messaging, we imagine ourselves talking directly to this persona.
To arrive at one persona, we need to pick one attribute when there are multiple possibilities. For instance, I chose to make this persona a male. We could create other personas to cover the other audience segments. We usually create at least three personas and sometimes up to five. For this blog, we created three personas. I have listed our findings for our Busy Executive and other two audience segments below.
Here is what we now know about our Busy Executive persona:
We also ran reports for the other two audience segments. Click on the links below to view backup reports for each audience:
We have based the characteristics of these personas on our findings in Facebook Audience Insights. In my next blog, I will show you how to add much more detailed characteristics to these persona using Empathy Mapping process.
For more on how to use Facebook's Audience Insights, read Facebook’s help on targeting: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/633474486707199