Audience Analysis Handbook
Strategy #1 - Determining & Analyzing What Businesses You Share Audience With
Process & Case Study
Let's assume you work at cnn.com and you want to increase the number of readers. Let's do an analysis to achieve this.
Go to similarweb.com and go to the Research section (pointed by Arrow 1). Enter the name of the website you want to analyze in the search bar at the top (pointed by Arrow 2). In this case, we will enter cnn.com.
Once you do that, the tool will show the data similar to the below. As you can see, cnn.com share 22% of their audience with Fox News, 21% with Washington Post, 14% with New York Times, and 22% with USA Today.
Analyzing established competitors like foxnews.com and newyorktimes.com can help us identify strategies that are working for your competitors but not for you. Then you can drill down why it's not working for you and how you can make it better.
For example, if you see foxnews.com's youtube video stream gets 90% positive reviews but CNN's only get 50%, then it would be good to investigate how to improve your video streaming.
Analyzing new and rising competitors can also help you with identifying market trends. For example, if you notice Vox.com is gaining viewership with more documentary-type content, then you can also improve your product development by considering prioritizing documentaries.
You can also use this analysis to run digital ads on your competitors to capture their audience or the audience that moved to them from you. For example, you can run ads for your new documentaries directly on Vox.com.
You can also target users with ads for your products when they search for Vox.com-related content on search engines. You can do this by identifying relevant SEO keywords and then making ads for them.
How is this beneficial for my business?
Use case #1: Identifying and analyzing established competitors
Analyzing what websites you share your audience with is a good way to identify your established competitors. By analyzing establish competitors, you can determine their top-selling products which can help you identify products that customers find value in.
Use case #2: Identifying and analyzing rising competitors
You can also identify what competitors are new and rising among your audience. If you see a website that shares an audience with you but did not before, it's a good indicator that they are a rising competitor. Analyzing the rising competitors indicates where the market is headed in the next few months and years. It also helps to identify new product opportunities.
Use case #3: Identifying what websites to run ads on
You can use this analysis to figure out what websites to run digitals ads on. When someone visits your website, attach a pixel. Once they leave your site and go to a different site, you can show them ads since your pixel would be tracking them.
Use case #4: Running ads for SEO keywords related to competitors
When someone searches for your competitor or their products on search engines, you can actually buy ads for relevant SEO keywords. For example, let's assume you work for Pepsi and want to target Coke users. So when Coke users search for diet coke, you can buy ads for search terms like "diet coke" and have your ad placed on the top of the results.
Strategy #2 - Determining & analyzing what questions your audience is asking online
The goal is to research and analyze what questions your audience is asking online.
Process and Case Study
Let's say you run a UX design company and you want to research what questions your audience is asking online and what solutions they use to solve their problems.
We will be using a tool called BuzzSumo for this analysis. Let's go to buzzsumo.com and go to the Discover tab (pointed by Arrow 1)
In the Discover tab, go to the Questions section (pointed by Arrow 2) and then enter the topic you want to research in the search bar near the top (pointed by Arrow 3). For our case study, we will enter the "UX Design" topic in the search bar.
Once you do that you will see the results below (pointed by Arrow 5). It will show you a list of questions asked about the "UX Design" topic by the audience. It also shows which websites or forums these questions were asked on.
How is this beneficial for my business?
1) Building better products for customers
When you see questions related to the topic "UX design" here, you are learning more and more about the customer and the pain points they face. For example, people might be searching for books for UX design, some might be looking for new design tools to improve their workflow, some folks might be looking for UX design jobs. This data gives us insights into customer's mind.
This is important because we want to build products that actually solve a customer problem. If we build a solution that actually solves a customer problem, they will definitely consider paying for it. Otherwise, if we keep building solutions for problems that our customers don’t have, customers won't buy our products.
2) New business opportunities
You can directly engage with these customers by explaining how your offering is better than your competitor and how you can help them solve their problems. If the problem is more widespread, then you can use this in your marketing campaign.
For example, when Apple took out the headphone jack in the iPhone, Samsung noticed a lot of people complaining about it online. They used this data to address this problem in their marketing campaigns by telling the audience that they still supported headphone jacks.
3) Better digital ads
Let’s say you want to run search engine ads on google. For that, you would need to know what keywords to target. This analysis gives you exact data to help you with that.
For example, if you see a lot of questions being asked by customers for “UX design tool for iPad” then it's a good idea to target that keyword. So when someone searches the phrase “UX design tool for iPad” on google, you can show an ad for your company that shows up on top of the search results.
4) Saving money
You can save money on Ads by not targeting problems that don't have high ROI. For example, if you don’t see many results on “UX design tool for android tablet”, then that means there’s probably not much demand for UX design tools in the android market. If I’m a UX design company this will prevent me from making investments in building the android version of my tool, which means huge financial and time savings.
5) Customer acquisition channels
You can also run digital ads directly on these websites to acquire customers. For example, if you see a lot of questions about UX design are being asked on quora.com, then as a UX design company it would make sense to buy native ads on quora.com.
It also shows which websites your audience is engaged in. For example, if I want to spend resources on social media engagement, I would prioritize working on quora.com and directly engage with users there. However, since we don’t see pinterest.com here I can ask to prioritize not spend too many resources there for now.
6) Closing more sales deals
When you already know the most commonly asked questions by your customers, you can prepare for them beforehand. By this, you will come off much more knowledgeable in the sales demo and it will help you close more deals.
Strategy #3 - Determining & Analyzing what websites are popular among your customers
Process & Case Study
Let's look at an example here. Let's assume you work at Booking.com and you want to figure out what websites are popular with your audience.
To do this analysis, we will use SimilarWeb. Let's go to similarweb.com and go to their Audience Analysis tool here: https://www.similarweb.com/corp/research/audience-analysis/ (pointed by Arrow 1).
After that click on the search bar on the top and enter Booking.com URL. Once you do that you should see data similar to the one below:
Now let's go through the data here. Arrow 1 states the website you're analyzing. Arrow 2 points to the list of websites popular with your audience. You can categorize the websites listed here into 2 groups.
The second group would be the websites that are not direct competitors of yours and your audience uses them for other purposes in their life. For booking.com, you can see Facebook, Whatsapp, and Linkedin are listed as websites popular with their audience.
There are various use cases for analyzing the websites in this group. For example, as a Booking.com employee, you can see that Facebook and Linkedin seem to be popular among your audience so they would be good marketing channels to run ads on.
Also, this data helps us save marketing dollars by preventing us from not focusing on bad marketing channels. For example, Twitter is not on the list here since it's not highly popular with the Booking.com audience so we don't have to prioritize running ads on them.
Another use case would be to identify websites and influencers listed here to build partnerships and paid promotions with. For example, you can build more native experiences inside the Facebook and LinkedIn ecosystem by building partnerships with these companies.
How is this beneficial for my business?
1) Benefits in Product Development
The more you learn about your customers, the better products you will be able to build for them.
For example, let's assume you run a clothing company and you learn that a big chunk of your audience is visiting websites that sells handbags.
Knowing this, you should strongly consider building a handbag product. You should consider this because when you do build a handbag product, at least a certain percentage of your customer base that was going to a different site to purchase handbags, would stick to your site to purchase them.
2) Benefits in Market Research
Doing this analysis also helps you identify your competitors. The goal is not to copy your competitors but to be aware of new emerging trends and where the market is going.
Let's go through an example. Snapchat was the first tech company to come up with a "Stories" feature. It gained significant market traction and users loved it.
Other tech companies soon realized this and within a year various companies like Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Linkedin, and YouTube released their version of "Stories".
The point to note is that the companies didn't copy the UI/UX of Snapchat's "Stories". There were deeper product management reasons. It was realized that customers wanted to share content more easily and with friction, they wanted to share content for a limited amount of time (e.g. 24 hours) and they wanted something that was in the "moment".
By analyzing your competitors, don't focus on the surface. Research deeper what customer problems their products are solving and solving really well.
3) Benefits in Digital Marketing
When you figure out what websites are popular with your users, it could really improve your business's marketing.
When you know which websites are popular with your users, you can directly run paid ads on them to attract the users back to your website. You can also work one-on-one with these websites to build partnerships to run paid promotions.
By analyzing what type of websites your audience visits, you can learn about their interests and passion. Then you can use this data to improve your ads and improve conversions.
For example, if your audience visits financial websites pretty often. That means your audience really values saving money. That way you can highlight in your ads how much money they would save if they use your product.
For example, if your audience visits sports and travel websites pretty often. That means your audience is outdoorsy and values interests outside work. That way we can highlight in our ads how using our product would save them time so that they can focus on what's important to them in life.
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