Facts About Audience Research In Digital Marketing

audience research in digital marketing

Unknown Facts About Audience Research In Digital Marketing

Also Read: How Do You Keep Your Clients Engaged?

In the previous sections, we have seen how to plan your digital marketing campaign, and how the main digital marketing features works. We now know how to define objectives and focus on the target audience to develop relevant messages and take better decision in term of channels and budget.

As we have seen, a lot of the decision-making process is to be done using research. Research is central to all decision making, from channel to audience selection. A marketer should never assume that his target audience is one thing over the other or behaves a certain way without insights. Insights are uncovered through research and data analysis. These can be made from the businesses own data with the research department studying the existing database information, or they can have external research done by a third party. In this article, we are going to dive into the different types of research that are used throughout the planning stage, but also what can be used along with the execution of the strategy, if necessary.

The section will focus on digital research and the tools available to marketers to do research and gather data.


The main research that all marketers use before even thinking about the campaign is audience research. This and the objective development work hand-in-hand and influence the rest of the digital strategy. Audience research is designed to establish the size, composition, and characteristics of a group of individuals that are, or could be, potential customers. It’s important to note that this research is about the people and individuals that make up your target audience.

The goal of all audience research is to find consumer insights. Because the goal of a digital marketing strategy is to influence the buyer’s journey, marketers need to connect with the audience by knowing what they think, how they behave and how they live their lives. You should know your audience as well as you know your best friend. In the inbound marketing methodology, it is common to practise to set up what is called a buyer persona.

The buyer persona is a fictional, generalized representation of your ideal customer. There can be one or multiple personas depending on your target audience, but this a good way to keep in mind who you are talking to.

Audience research has multiple benefits:

  • It helps identify obstacles by knowing what your audience dislike, what they avoid, what stops them from buying your brand, how they buy, etc.
  • It helps develop appropriate and personalized content. If you know your target audience, you know how to address them, in what language, which term better resonates, what visuals, influencers and colours they are sensitive to, thus you can better attract their attention.
  • It also helps you identify current and future needs. Because you are selling your product to this audience, you have to understand what needs your product is answering to. What problem it is solving. Moreover, if you know your audience well enough, you can predict their future needs. For example, if you are selling to middle-aged women, you know that in the near future they might become grandmothers and that allows you to stay relevant to the evolution of their lives.

Having insights is a real competitive advantage when it is different from the insight your competition is tapping into. In that perspective, it is interesting to conduct primary research which is a research that is tailored to the specific business need, as opposed to secondary research that will be performed and then sold as syndicated research. Within the digital landscape, research has taken a turn with the development of analytics and we will see how these new tools help research in this article.


Audience research, as primary or secondary research, can be broken down into 3 main different audience data types:

  • Demographics: A set of information pertaining to the social, geographical, financial attributes of the audience. The socio-economic data in demographics include gender, age, income level, occupation, marital status, location, number of children, education, religion, family size, ethnicity, nationality, social class, industry, number of computers, generation and any other relevant socioeconomically data. Demographics can be useful to set your target audience. However, it’s just not specific enough to individual consumers to rely on as the sole data point driving your audience buys.
  • Psychographics: A set of information pertaining to the lifestyle, ideas, beliefs of the audience. It is the part of data that gives you more details in your audience personality, where you start to know them better as individuals and not solely numbers. Psychographics include activities, interests, opinions, attitudes, values, lifestyle, loyalty. This set of data enables marketers to plan for the audience reaction to and interest in the content presented. When your target market seems to have radically different demographics it is a good time to look at breaking them into psychographic segments. This is a powerful way to market the same product to groups that otherwise seem very heterogeneous. Psychographic segmentation divides the market into groups based on not-so-visible characteristics, such as personality traits, lifestyles, attitudes, expectations and activities of your target market.
  • behavioural: A set of information pertaining to the behaviour of your audience toward specific situations. This is ‘what people do’ type of data. By observing what people do, how they behave online, using your product, using the competition’s products, you are able to understand the limitations of the user experience, perception and improve your message to overcome obstacles. behavioural data includes online activities such as social media use, website visits, product and content use, where they click, what is the usual consumer path on your site, and other relevant buying habits, brand preferences and product usage.

Using these three data types to collect and create buyers persona allow you to easily grasp a full picture of your audience, just like you would be able to describe your friend and know what they react to, like, dislike, and how they make decisions when it comes to buying or interacting with brands.

audience research in digital marketing

Community Density 

One of the components of audience research is defining your community density. Community density is defined as the measurement of how concentrated relationships and conversations are within a community of interest and is used in narrowing the right audience to target. Understanding your community density is a tool that sits between your audience research to your social monitoring.

The information collected through social monitoring, which we will talk about later on, can help you evaluate the opportunity level of your target audience. Is there a dense conversation within your audience around the problem your product is solving or around your very own product? If the target audience you are planning to market to is not involved in any conversation around the product category or problem, it might mean that they won’t be responsive to your solution, or that you can break through an issue that hasn’t been addressed yet by other products. You might find an opportunity to let your audience discover a new problem they didn’t know they had so that your offer can provide a solution.


Studying your community density can be a great way to understand how the market need is created and how best your product can be position in solving this problem. Multiple factors can influence community density,  leading marketers to understand the true nature of the product need and its validity:

  • Uncertainty: when users are looking for questions to be answered
  • Isolation: if the user has a specific issue they cannot resolve on their own and need validation or want to build shared knowledge
  • Competition: conversation rising from a conflict in product use and users are debating on the best way to solve the problem
  • High passion: when users come together to celebrate a product/brand and share extra knowledge and stories around their personal experiences
  • Shared experiences: this can for users who want to validate their experience through the community
  • Close contact: community density can be built around an existing external community that is close and carrying out private conversations on social media
  • Unique identities or tastes: isolation can also come into play here for users who have a niche interest and look for shared knowledge and get a community experience around a theme they value
  • History: community density can be increased by a shared history or historical period that they believe is of importance for them or the environment they evolve in
  • Time to kill: additionally some density can come from users who spend time mindlessly by engaging in conversations they do not actually care about but use them as a distraction.


In order to narrow your target audience you can use community density to analyze if the overall density is large or small, how are the community needs shaped (as per the above factors) and understand the audience experience with your product by giving you insight into the level of education, information and personalisation you will need to use in your content and messaging.



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About Adeniyi Salau 883 Articles
I am an IT enthusiast and a man of many parts. I am a Certified Digital Marketer, Project Manager and a Real Estate Consultant. I love writing because that's what keeps me going. I am running this blog to share what I know with others. I am also a Superlife Stem Cell Distributor. Our Stem Cell Products can cure many ailments.

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