The benefits of audience insight

It’s true to say that the vast majority of us consistently monitor our website analytics. In fact, 56% of companies use Google analytics to drill down their web traffic and a further 40% use it in conjunction with other analytic tools. However, a shocking 11% of businesses in 2016 aren’t analysing their website traffic at all.

shutterstock_166712030One of the crucial benefits of digital marketing is the ability it has given us to measure our efforts in the online realm; far more so the methods that came before it. The ‘age of instant’ means that we are provided with the opportunity to rectify faults in strategies at the drop of a hat.

Website analytic tools provide valuable insights into the success of your online efforts, confirming whether your sales and marketing efforts are effective; ultimately providing you with the chance to make modifications and improvements to your current segmentation strategies.

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating”

However, the purpose of this post is not to sing the praises of website analytic tools. I’m here to discuss audience insights. Developing an understanding of who your audience are allows you to tailor your offerings and campaigns, delivering content that will be deemed valuable and appealing.

The information that website analytics tools are able to provide is informative; its feedback essentially. The data that it provides can be used as a catalyst to improve a business, but only once who you know the most effective ways of acting on it.

Taking notice of the online channels that are encouraging visitors to visit your site enables you to enhance your presence in those digital dwellings. Another incredibly useful indicator, is the amount of time visitors are spending on the site, and the pages they view before choosing to leave. This will direct you any areas that need to be modified to increase the capacity for engagement; whether that it is with regards to call to actions, or the content itself.

New vs returning visitors is a thought-provoking look into the conversion behaviours, aiding you to realign your goals. If you find that new customers buy once but don’t return, a strategy or campaign that focuses on increasing the volume of new customers may be beneficial. At the other end of the spectrum, it may be that repeat business is very profitable. In this instance, creating an emphasis on tailored content to your customers likes and interests that is communicated to them on a regular basis will enable you to maintain their interest.

By drilling down the location information to ‘countries’ and ‘cities’, you would be able to potentially obtain an overview of who your audience are.

In the grand scheme of what you are able to achieve, this is fairly basic data. It will enable you to make some educated guesses on how to engage with your audience on a much more personal, deeper level than just the product or service that you are offering.

How do you delve deeper?

You head to the modern day holy grail of digital advertising; social media. Social media platforms are far more beneficial than Google. They hold the ‘nitty gritty’ details on their users and give you access to this authentic data for free.

Dean Lynn, search manager at Datify offers further explanation: “In the states, Facebook purchased data from store cards, credit cards and banks and mapped it against its user’s profiles. This enabled businesses to extract the data that helped them market their business to them, or even create a new offering based on the information.”

These insights give you a foundation to which you can build tailored campaigns for an audience that have been created using reliable demographics. Gender, marital status, job title and income are a great place to start, but gaining more knowledge is possible! It is possible to build up more of an understanding of your audience by viewing the pages that they are liking, their purchasing activity and the level of brand affinity that they display.

While once an exclusive club, Instagram is now proving to be extremely profitable marketing medium – using data from Facebook. Not one to be left behind by the competition, Twitter offers an audience insight tool of its own, allowing you to filter between users, followers and organic reach. It also goes as far as to allowing trends to be compared between the data sets.

Richard LeCount from USB Makers offers his experience of using social media: “Social media channels have given us the ability to view our audience’s opinion of our current offerings and an insight into anything we can do to better them and potentially spot a gap in the market. Seeing both positive and negative reviews in real time we have been able to streamline our business model and products. It’s a fantastic way to engage and interact with our customers and prospects and truly be there for them. Traditional working hours are outdated, so social media allows us to respond to queries and complaints quickly, when our customers need us.”

Often undervalued, LinkedIn is fast becoming one of the platforms for content distribution and lead generation, as Nathanial Bibby, managing director at Bibby Consulting explains.

“In just a few short years, social selling has gone from a buzzword to the new norm for successful sales professionals. Teams like Salesforce, Salesloft, LinkedIn and Virgin are leading the wave like they saw it coming for years… The social selling revolution has only just begun! LinkedIn currently has 400m+ members and is the fastest growing business network in the world, and your profile is becoming more important than your website. Tools like LinkedIn allow us to be extremely targeted so take the time to work out who is your ideal client and get in their head; be aware of all the influences and factors that lead to a purchasing decision. This will equip you with the knowledge to architect a dynamic, high impact strategy that generates huge ROI.”

The great mobile debate

Did the threat of ‘mobilegeddon’ push you to ensure your website was mobile optimised? If it didn’t, it’s almost like advertising the fact that you don’t want your audience to visit your site. If you aren’t optimised for use on a mobile device, Google will no longer list your website in the results from a search conducted on a mobile device.

When did you last look at a website from a laptop or computer when you weren’t working? For me, the answer was about 15 months ago. I’m not alone in neglecting my once trusty laptop – 80% of those online are using a smartphone or tablet to do so.

If you haven’t optimised your site, you are actively repelling customers. The Huffington Post recently wrote an article that stated 57% of mobile users abandon the site they are on if it isn’t optimised for mobile. If you offer e commerce on your site, the news is even worse – 30% of users abandon a purchase for the same reason.

Will Craig, director at Digital Impact shares his experiences, “Jump on any train in the UK and you’ll see why responsive design is an essential part of modern web design. Everyone gets on, sits down and pulls out their phone. They’re checking emails, reading books or killing time with Netflix – and all on a screen just five inches across! Faster mobile internet, better mobile technology and more considerate web design mean people are ditching their PCs for their smartphones. In fact, the total number of mobile internet users actually overtook desktop users back in 2014.

“Here’s one quick example from our agency – One of our clients rents out wedding attire and somewhere around 70 percent of his users access his website using mobile devices. Now, imagine he had an old unresponsive website. How many of those mobile users would happily pinch and zoom around a website that’s designed for a big laptop screen? Hardly any is my guess. Simply put, responsive sites are good for your users, good for search engines and good for the future. Unresponsive websites, on the other hand, will alienate potential customers and get you knocked down the search rankings.”

In conclusion

Audience insights tools further cement the fact that social media has become deeply engrained in every avenue of our modern culture. The data that they have the potential to provide can be priceless and instrumental in the way your marketing strategies change… empowering you to constantly adapt your marketing efforts on how your audience are receiving them, and how their tastes change. When these insights are used in combination with website analytics, they will provide a 360 comprehensive view of your customer and audience.

The insights will prevent you from producing content that will not offer any education or value to your audience, effectively stopping from wasting your time and budget.