Identify and reach valuable audiences before your competitors
We live in the age of consumer choice. People — not brands — drive the next wave of products, services and technologies.
The next generation of winners and losers will be defined not only by companies who adapt to the market, but by those who understand, anticipate and diligently serve the unique and varied needs of their own audience.
In other words, the future of business is all about putting people first.
To connect with people, you must understand their similarities and differences. Every facet of marketing, from brand partnerships to search strategy, should be driven by rich audience insights and segmentation.
This report provides real examples from major brands—including Adidas, Ford, Virgin Atlantic, Time Out, Metro Bank and more. Learn how marketers can use audience segmentation to optimise search, personalise messaging and reach their most valuable segments to maximise marketing spend.
1. Smarter Audience Segmentation
The best brands deeply understand their own best customers so that they can improve targeting and prioritise spend. Taking a more nuanced approach to segmentation paints a clearer picture of your most valuable audiences.
Adidas US Audiences: Not Cut and Dry
Demographics are the bread and butter of audience segmentation, but are often oversimplified. Layering multiple demographics can uncover nuances about your customers that can completely change your targeting approach.
For example, as you see on the right, both men and women are equally likely to buy Adidas footwear. However, when you break this audience down by gender and age, it uncovers several key distinctions. Younger men are more likely to buy Adidas shoes, while younger women are actually 19% less likely. Women aged 35 – 44 are the most likely buyers, by far. How might this reshape the Adidas marketing strategy?
2. Optimise Your Search Strategy
A good search marketing strategy is based on more than just keywords. Marketers must understand the people behind the search in order to customise (and personalise) targeting.
Millennials and Hot Products
Knowing how likely different audiences are to search for consumer products helps marketers identify not only their largest audience by volume, but which segments are more likely to click and convert.
For example, young millennials (aged 18-24) demonstrate distinct behaviour when it comes for their interest in branded searches. ‘Ed Sheeran tickets’ is a popular search term, however, millennial females are 84% more likely to search for it, while millennial males are 26% less likely.
Metro Bank Targets Mortgage Calculators
Let’s say that Metro Bank wants to reach more people who are researching mortgages. A quick analysis shows that “mortgage calculator” searches result in a lot of traffic to banking websites. Because this keyword isn’t branded (such as “NatWest mortgage”) it offers a great opportunity to compete for rankings.
The largest group of “Mortgage calculator” searchers skews towards 55+ year olds, with a larger percent of women. However, the group that tends to be more likely to search for this search term (compared to the standard online population) lays between the 45-54 year olds for women and 35-54 for men.
“Mortgage calculator” is the #1 unbranded search term driving traffic to Banks & Financial Institution sites.
These insights can help Metro Bank optimise paid search campaigns and target key demographic segments.
3. Craft Compelling Content
The best content addresses the topics that consumers care about most, and answers the questions they are actually asking. In this chapter, we explore how to use audience data to personalise content.
Men vs. Women: Same Protein Powder, Different Strengths
A nutrition company is looking to create content to drive more organic traffic. They create a portfolio of protein-related searches to identify which are organic and how searches differ for females and males.
Women tend to be more brand-reliant, with a significant higher proportion searching for “My Protein” and “Protein World” compared to males. Males, on the other hand, are more likely to search for snacks and quick shakes, compared to females searching for diet plans and meals.
Both genders also search for different types of specific advice content, which tend to have a high organic rate. A nutrition company could then develop an advice blog post around “protein cookie recipes” to attract females and one about “best lean protein powder in the market” to attract males organically.
Time Out Readers: Who Are They?
Beyond basic demographics, a reader’s digital behaviours shape the content they consume. Understanding these can help content creators like Time Out ideate topics, features or even entirely new sections based on themes that appeal to their readers.
Based on these digital insights, Time Out audiences are actively searching for domestic travel and staycations. Time Out could then feature an exclusive UK travel section which highlights accommodation and nightlife options.
4. Increase Value of Partnerships
Co-branding can help you reach engaged audiences within another brand’s passionate community. But first, marketers must evaluate audience overlap and market opportunity to reduce risk and increase the value of partnerships.
Auto Brands and the Race to GoPro
As user generated content has taken off over the past couple of years, GoPro has strategically positioned themselves as THE go-to-medium for video marketing.
Their partnership with Red Bull is a prime example of successful cross-promotion and product innovation, bringing consumers a unique point of view into Red Bull’s extreme sporting events.
But how successful have their other partnerships been?
In this section, we look at the GoPro’s relationship and crossover with auto brands.
GoPro had signed a partnership with Ford to run the video series campaign, ‘Unstoppable Life’, in June 2016. A way to track this campaign’s effectiveness is to understand the brand’s audience overlap, compared to Ford’s competitors.
One month before the campaign (leading up to the 18th June), GoPro’s audience was actually most likely to visit Toyota’s website, followed by Ford and Volkswagen (which were all over-indexed compared to the standard online population).
In the one month after the video campaign (leading up to the 23rd July), Ford saw a significant rise from GoPro’s audience (from 188% to 254% index). This crossover had overtaken the likes of Toyota, Volkswagen and Hyundai.
However, when we look at the more recent months (such as February 2017), this rise in overlap was short lived for GoPro and Ford. Toyota and Volkswagen again shows greater share.
Particularly as the automotive market sets to toughen over 2017, GoPro and Ford could look to relaunch a more sustained partnership campaign.
5. Hone Your Channel Strategy
Your website drives traffic from hundreds of sources — email, search, social media, blogs and more. Identifying your strongest channel drivers allows you to double down on what’s working. Audience insights can help you optimise traffic from your best channels.
Flying Higher Than the Rest
In this chapter, we look at one of the most popular commercial airlines in the UK – Virgin Atlantic – against two of its biggest competitors, British Airways and Thomson. Below there are three key sources of traffic to Virgin Atlantic. As you can see, all three airlines rely heavily on traffic from search engines. However, Virgin falls behind in regards to traffic from social.
Market Share by Route
How do these airlines also compare for key travel routes?
One of the most popular search term last year in travel was “flights to Orlando”. Let’s see what demographic is looking for this search term, or variations of it, and see which channels this audience comes from.
Virgin Atlantic receives the lowest level of traffic occurrences for “flights to Orlando” searches out of the three airlines, particularly in comparison to British Airways. Virgin Atlantic could then compare offer, price and channel strategy to understand why this is the case.
When we delve into the “flights to Orlando” audience, Virgin Atlantic is more reliant on search, compared to British Airway’s higher reliance on social. Virgin Atlantic could then investigate British Airway’s social campaigns to see what appeals to this audience, to win market share.