What Is Audience Profiling?

Writer:
Megan Smith
Editor:
Published: Dec 10, 2021
Last Updated:
January 17, 2024
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Audience profiling is a targeted approach that allows you to consider your customer's data and demographics to create a personalized content strategy. The content you create for your target customer groups could be a variety of advertising campaigns, including articles, blogs, or marketing emails.

It's easy to start with target audience profiling:

  1. Consider what your company's ideal customer would be — this is also known as your customer persona.
  2. Dive in and research your key demographics. Once you know the primary consumers of your content, you can start looking into what the needs and problems are for your audience base.
  3. Use profiling to determine where you can find your customers and expand your customer base.

Audience Profiles Defined

What is an audience profile?

Audience profiles are research-based analytics your company can use for your marketing efforts. The profile's form can vary based on company preferences. Possible examples include:

  • A social media profile representing your target persona
  • A short story about a fictional person based on your target persona
  • A list of information about your target audience
  • The history of an imaginary person built around your target demographics

It helps to keep target audience profiles handy as a reference for your content marketing team. Use them to shape communications or check created content. How will your audience receive it?

Written target audience profiles are also invaluable when outsourcing content production. Unlike your in-house team, external teams may lack familiarity with your customer base. Profiling the audience for a business message helps the writer create effective content.

You can also use profiles in your influencer outreach. Who will your customers find persuasive? Your influencer profile may resemble your audience profile, as communities typically form around like-minded individuals.

Audience Profile vs. Buyer Persona: Know the Difference

Although the audience profile definition is close to that of a buyer persona (also known as a customer persona), there are several key differences. Audience profiles target a larger group, giving a general understanding of the audience. In contrast, buyer personas provide detailed insights into specific individuals or groups' buying habits and preferences.

Audience profiles are also based on real people and have multiple marketing uses, while buyer personas focus on predicting customer journeys. They imagine potential customers and guide them through each stage of the funnel.

What To Include When Building Profiles of Your Audience

What information is included in an audience profile? The richer your profile, the more useful it will be. Audience profiling usually includes the following types of details:

Key Demographic Details

Start with the target demographics relevant to your brand. These might include factors such as:

  • Location: Location can be important for local (or branch) businesses, people who sell products or services affected by seasonal weather, and brands that touch on regional issues.
  • Age: Age affects how your ideal persona communicates, their choice of social media platform, and the issues that most impact them.
  • Industry: Industry is vital for B2B brands, which offer solutions to organizations rather than individuals. Even some B2C products are more likely to attract an industry-related niche audience.
  • Education: Presumed education should affect your references and vocabulary. You neither want to condescend to your audience nor alienate them with unfamiliar jargon.
  • Income: Income is an indicator of buying power for B2C brands. B2B companies should instead think of budget size and financial priorities.

Important Psychographic Traits

Psychographics are the psychological and ideological attributes of your audience. They provide insight into why they make decisions.

Psychographic data includes:

  • Priorities and values: What matters to them? How do they invest their time, energy, and money?
  • Interests: What hobbies or activities does your audience enjoy? What content do they tend to consume?
  • Lifestyle choices: Think about the immediate world of your audience. Do they lead a luxury or minimalist lifestyle? Do they live with others or alone?
  • Personality traits: Are your customers introverted or extroverted? Risk-takers or cautious? How do they identify themselves?
  • Opinions: What do they believe? Which bandwagons have they boarded, and which ones have they waved past?

A psychographic profile allows you to predict, understand, and influence how customers will react to certain stimuli. You can choose the tactics of marketing psychology most likely to be effective.

Vital Consumer Behavior Insights

Consumer behavior focuses on how individuals make decisions to spend their available resources (time, money, effort) on consumption-related items.

  • Purchasing habits: When it comes to shopping, it's important to understand your audience's frequency and approach. How often do they shop? Are they more inclined towards impulse buys or do they prefer planning out their purchases?
  • Product/service usage: Understand your audience and use the profile to establish how they do business with your business. How frequently do they engage with your brand's offering? Is it a part of their daily routine or reserved for special occasions?
  • Brand loyalty: You want to know your audience's loyalty to your brand (or their brand of choice). Are they consistent in making repeat purchases, or do they tend to switch brands frequently?
  • Customer satisfaction: How satisfied are your customers with your product or service? This can lead to repeat purchases and referrals.

Relevant Information About Your Audience's Goals

Understand how to position your brand's offering as a solution to their needs or wants.

  • Pain points: What challenges or obstacles is your audience facing? How can your product help overcome these?
  • Short-term objectives: What are your audience's relevant short-term goals? How can your product help achieve these?
  • Aspirations: What are your audience's greater aspirations? How can you support these visions?

Your audience's goals are instrumental in shaping a value proposition that resonates with them. It's easier to sell a solution than a commodity.

How Do Profiles Translate Into Benefits for Your Business?

So why is audience profiling important?

Audience profiling increases your total revenue, brand impact, and return on investment (ROI) for marketing campaigns. Use it to build your brand and community through these related benefits.

Developing and Maintaining Customer Relationships

Improve your relationship with clients at every stage from lead-targeting to customer retention. Establish brand visibility with the right forms of content for your audience profiles, attracting strong leads.

Once they're in your orbit, an in-depth understanding of your audience allows you to tailor your communication strategies to foster engagement, promote customer loyalty, and address customer pain points. These practices not only improve customer satisfaction but also build trust in your brand, developing meaningful connections that let you retain customers at a much higher rate.

A consistent customer base leads to consistent profit over time. Just a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25% increase in profits.

Boost Your Company’s Revenue and Marketing Efforts

Audience profiles will improve the ROI of your marketing campaigns across the board. Tailoring your content to target specific buyers and viewers pays off.

Consumers want personalized interactions and messages from the beginning of their relationship with your business. The vast majority (71%) of them expect personalized experiences and relevant messaging, and more than half (53.6%) interact with a brand more than three times before making a purchase.

Acting as an audience profiler also allows you to monitor behavior and identify trends. For instance, let's say you're a fashion brand targeting young professionals. The growing prevalence of remote work may have impacted the content your consumers find useful. Perhaps you could create pieces that show how your outfits can go from casual to Zoom-ready in a flash.

Remember, building and regularly updating your audience profile is an ongoing process. As consumer preferences evolve and new trends emerge, staying attuned to your audience's needs will ensure your content remains relevant and impactful.

Identify and Address How People Perceive Your Brand

Understanding how people perceive your brand is crucial. Market research and customer feedback can provide valuable insights that let you make necessary adjustments to your image.

What is audience profile creation for reputation management?

Reputation management involves monitoring, identifying, and influencing the perception of a brand within the digital sphere. It primarily works by keeping track of what is being said about the brand online, proactively addressing any negativity, and promoting positive material to build credibility and trust.

By understanding the preferences, behaviors, and attitudes of your target audience, you can tailor your communications to resonate with them, improving the way they perceive your brand. Profiling further enables brands to anticipate potential concerns or issues within particular audience segments, allowing for proactive reputation management strategies that speak directly to unique sets of audience needs.

You can also use audience profiling as part of hiring outreach and internal communications. Show your organization in the best light by using employee advocates or targeting stakeholder concerns before they arise.

In other words, audience profiles are essential to your brand identity. Make it a priority in your media planning to attract the press — and the community — that you want.

What Would Be a Good Example of an Audience Profile?

Let's pretend we're content marketers for the fictional company GreenPath, a sustainable outdoor gear brand. They offer mid-range hiking boots, backpacks, camping equipment, and clothing made from recycled materials.

One key audience for GreenPath is eco-conscious millennials with the following profile:

  • Demographics: The target audience consists of individuals aged 25 to 35 residing in urban and suburban areas in the U.S. They have attained a bachelor's degree or higher and fall under the income bracket of $40,000 to $80,000 per year.
  • Psychographics: They value transparency in brands and prefer sustainable and eco-friendly products. Their interests include outdoor activities, plant-based diets, and social activism, and they consider themselves minimalists. They tend to be socially aware, proactive, and adventurous. Top causes include climate-change advocacy and renewable energy use.
  • Consumer behavior: They are regular shoppers who prefer to shop online or frequent locally owned businesses and are strongly inclined toward brands that offer eco-friendly packaging. Brand loyalty is high, as they are loyal to brands that align with their values and are willing to pay a premium for sustainable goods.
  • Goals: They sometimes struggle to balance budget concerns with eco-friendly choices. In the short term, they aim to reduce their carbon footprint and actively support more eco-friendly companies. Ultimately, they aspire to contribute to a sustainable planet and gravitate toward action-focused, inspirational messaging.

You could create fictitious characters from this profile or use it as is.

Ava

Meet Ava, a 30-year-old socially and environmentally conscious millennial based in the heart of San Francisco. Ava holds a master's degree in environmental science and works for a nonprofit organization, earning an annual income of around $55,000.

Ava is an avid cycler and always looking for new paths to explore in the nearby country. She is a strict vegan and enjoys the plant-based options of various global cuisines. She would rather invest in a quality item that will last than repurchase cheaper goods, but she isn't interested in luxury products. She would rather do without that compromise her values and buy non-sustainable goods.

Ava learned about GreenPath from a friend with similar commitments and started following the brand on Instagram months before she made her first purchase. While she's adventurous, she's not impulsive, and brands have to prove themselves before she'll reward them with her business. Now, she is a loyal repeat customer and source of high-quality user-generated content (UGC), one of the major benefits of social media for businesses.

What Tools Do You Need To Create Profiles of Your Audience?

Customer data management platforms (DMPs) help companies gather and analyze data to refine their strategies. Brands can segment their customer base, target new prospects with similar interests, and receive guidance on optimizing marketing efforts.

Other tools involved in audience profiling include:

  • Aggregate calling: This refers to the process of combining multiple calls or data sources into a single cohesive view or report. It helps to streamline communication and gather insights from various sources efficiently.
  • Web analytics: This involves the collection, measurement, analysis, and reporting of web data to understand and optimize website performance. It provides valuable insights into user behavior, traffic sources, conversion rates, and more, helping businesses make data-driven decisions.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM): CRM software goes beyond data management and helps businesses manage interactions and relationships with customers. You can use it to organize customer data, track customer interactions, and leverage that information to enhance customer satisfaction and drive business growth.

Getting to know audiences better is one of the top 10 investments B2B content marketers foresee in the year ahead. As companies continuously seek to improve their audience profile examples, DMPs and other audience profiling tools will play a crucial role in collecting and analyzing data to inform marketing strategies.

How Marketers Can Perform Audience Profiling

Marketers have a range of audience profiling tools to gather valuable information about their target audience. The website plays a crucial role in this process. By using cookies to track user behavior and collect emails, you can gain deeper insights into your existing customer base.

After obtaining this data, marketers can outsource to a data management platform or leverage an existing market. In both cases, marketers can enhance their understanding by cross-referencing their customer base with other established bases within a data warehouse. These known bases of internet users offer valuable insights into expanding your audience through analysis of their internet habits and connections.

Audience profiling is a four-step operation for marketers that involves:

  • Segmentation
  • Messaging
  • Engagement
  • Measurement

Create Audience Segments

Once the data has been collected and cross-referenced with various audience profiling tools, marketers can create audience segments.

Segmentation is the process of splitting apart your audience based on different attributes. Common examples include:

  • Demographic segments
  • Behavioral segments
  • Needs-based segments
  • Psychographic segments

Each segment requires an individualized persona or profile so they can be targeted with relevant content, keeping customers' attention the longest, making them feel valued, and helping build better customer relations.

Many data management and customer relationship management solutions include audience segmentation tools, making it easier to organize your groups.

Come Up With Targeted Messages Based on Your Profiles

B2C content marketers identify creating engaging content for different segments as their top challenge. It's important to consider what each portion of your audience wants to see.

Next is the actual targeting. Marketers will begin customizing a targeted approach via various messaging strategies to get your audience's attention. There are many options for sending messages:

  • Social media 
  • Emails
  • Calls and texts
  • Snail mail

Your base customer demographic will help your marketer determine which avenue is the best for reaching your target audience.

The above sample profile for GreenPath customers might lead to a corresponding content strategy that might include educational material about the importance of sustainability, showcase affordable options, and offer value-rich tips about outdoor activities.

Examples of GreenPath Content:

  • Blog Posts
  • "Top 5 Hiking Trails in the U.S. for Every Season"
  • "How to Plan a Zero-Waste Camping Trip"
  • "The History of Your Backpack: How We Source Recycled Materials"
  • Social Media Posts
  • Customer stories of people using GreenPath products during outdoor adventures
  • Quick tips on recycling and repurposing old gear
  • Behind-the-scenes looks at the production process
  • Eco-friendly challenges and contests
  • Email Newsletters
  • New product launches
  • Seasonal guides for sustainable outdoor activities
  • Company updates on environmental initiatives

Outline Your Engagement Strategies

Why will your audience want to read your profile?

Once a messaging plan is in place for your company, your marketing strategy will focus on engagement. Initiate a continual flow of messages and interactions between your company and potential consumers.

Marketers will take into account some essential demographic research collected from your target audience during this stage, including:

  • Platforms used by your audience persona
  • Time of day that your audience persona typically uses the platform
  • Content consumption
  • Publication preferences
  • Length and frequency of use

Each engagement initiative is called a campaign.

A possible engagement initiative for the fictional brand GreenPath could be a #GreenAdventures campaign on Instagram, a platform heavily used by GreenPath's target demographic. The campaign would encourage followers to share photos and stories of their outdoor adventures using GreenPath products, with the hashtag #GreenAdventures.

To maximize engagement, someone from the brand could repost the day's best as part of their Instagram story, using the native reposting feature. These posts should go live during the early evening when their audience is getting home from work.

The goal is to create a two-way conversation between GreenPath and its audience, creating a sense of community through a shared purpose and interests.

Put Your Analyst Hat on To Start Measuring Results

Analytics is the key to understanding your audience's engagement with your advertising campaigns. By measuring statistics after each campaign, marketers can gain valuable insights and make data-driven decisions to optimize their strategies. This approach allows businesses to quickly identify areas of improvement and pivot accordingly.

Here are some of the key metrics you should be tracking:

  • Engagement rate: This measures how actively involved with your content your audience is. Engagement can be in the form of likes, shares, comments, or clicks. Tracking this metric helps you understand how your content resonates with your audience.
  • Conversion rate: This is the percentage of users who take a desired action. It could be purchasing a product, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a guide. This metric helps you understand how effectively your marketing efforts lead to direct results.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): This is the total cost of acquiring a new customer, including all aspects of marketing and sales. A lower CAC means you're more efficiently using your resources.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): This is a projection of the total revenue a customer will bring during their entire relationship with your company. It's valuable to compare CLV to CAC to ensure you're acquiring customers cost-effectively.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): This measures the profitability of the investments made in marketing. It helps in determining the success of a campaign in financial terms.

For example, let's say that GreenPath has launched a new product and you're tasked with creating an engaging social media campaign. As the campaign rolls out, you notice that the engagement rate is high — lots of likes, shares, and comments — but the conversion rate is low. Few of your engaged users are clicking through to purchase the product.

This contrast between high engagement and low conversion could suggest that while the campaign is intriguing and catches attention, it may not provide enough information or incentive for customers to make a purchase at this time.

As a content marketer for GreenPath, a potential pivot could involve incorporating more product details or customer testimonials in your posts to build trust and provide more context. Additionally, you could offer a limited-time discount code to incentivize these engaged users to convert into customers.

Master Your Content Marketing Strategy With the Right Resources

Understanding and profiling your audience is crucial for a successful content marketing strategy. Audience profiling involves gathering and analyzing data about your target audience, their preferences, and behaviors. This understanding enables the creation of relevant, engaging content that resonates with your audience, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates, and greater ROI.

An accurate audience profile is only one of the tools a good content marketer needs. Take advantage of Compose.ly's content marketing resources to improve your campaigns. Our expert writers and digital marketers have created a library of relevant material

Need help developing and executing your content strategy? Compose.ly has you covered.
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