Audience Insight – What it is and why you need it

Written by
Fifty Team

03 Feb, 2022

Every minute of every day, consumers and businesses are generating data on the web. It is hard to conceptualise how much data is being created but to put it into perspective, at the beginning of 2020, the number of bytes in the digital universe was 40 times bigger than the number of stars in the observable universe. And this number will only continue to grow. By 2025 it has been predicted that there will be 463 exabytes of data created each day globally – that’s the equivalent of producing 212,765,957 DVDs per day.

This data is at brands’ fingertips and can help them understand their customers better, but the exponential nature of it can feel insurmountable. How do you bring order to the complexity of the universe? That is where audience insight comes in. It is crucial that brands understand what audience insights are, so that they may begin to take advantage of them and find order in the chaos.

Audience Insights: What they are and why you need them

Audience insights enable brands to understand their customers’ motivations and behaviours by using artificial intelligence to parse through the billions of data points that exist on the internet to build a holistic picture of an audience.

Brands have always sought to understand their customers so that they could better serve them. In the past, they used tools such as surveys, focus groups, demographic research and ethnographies to build a picture of their audience. But these methodologies are time-consuming and expensive to conduct – and often have small sample sizes that are not truly reflective of an audience. For instance, people answering a survey may fit a demographic box, but demographics alone cannot provide a truly rich and holistic picture of your target audience since people do not consume simply based on their age or income bracket. There are so many other nuances that inform a customer’s path to purchase.

In recent years, social sentiment or listening has gained in popularity as a supplement to market research. The reasoning went that with consumers finding their voice on social media, companies no longer had to guess what they wanted. Their customers were telling them. Social listening solves the problem of scale that traditional research lacks, but it does not solve the issue of extrapolation. Sure, there is a lot of sentiment on the internet, but a lot of the noise being made tends to be a relatively small handful of users and often isn’t truly representative of their attitudes.

Social listening also leaves out the silent majority – the 90% of people who are active online but who do not comment or post, rather they simply observe. These internet users, frequently ignored, can be your most valuable asset. They may not be making all the noise, but they are engaged and ready to have brands engage with them.

Audience insights on the other hand is about understanding the behaviours of an audience. You begin with people, not with keywords as you might on social listening. It is about building an audience, understanding how consumers cluster together based on shared patterns, habits and behaviours. These insights can then inform marketing strategies and activations or help build influencer or sponsorship strategies.

It is crucial to have audience insights in order to stand out from a crowded digital marketplace where consumers are used to seeing a flurry of ads across the web. But having insights alone isn’t enough. Brands need to be able to action them.

Making insights actionable: FiftyAurora

In order to understand people without concentrating on the vocal minority, Fifty takes an entirely unique approach to audience insights. We have developed a cutting-edge platform that is large in scale – with insight into over 2.6bn consumers worldwide – while also offering granular understanding of people’s interests.

We use network science and graphing technology to build an understanding of human behaviour, based on people’s shared passions, behaviours and interests. Using machine learning and AI, we algorithmically identify patterns to reveal similar passions and cluster people into communities of shared interests that we call Tribes. We analyse each tribe’s granular behaviours, shared interests and content consumption through our entity classification engine to reveal unique topics, affinities and demographics. We use this granular and organic audience understanding to build a map of where these users can be reached uniquely.

What is strikingly different about Fifty’s audience insights is the combination of our platform with FiftyAurora, our award-winning, next-generation contextual engine. While other contextual targeting outfits use multilingual topic extraction, entity recognition, sentiment analysis, and page categorisation to understand a piece of content, FiftyAurora goes beyond this.

We add further weight and rank pages by using our audience understanding as an additional informational layer, setting us apart from any other contextual provider. By analysing audience affinities we can understand who might be reading a page, not just what topic it is about, without needing identifiers or cookies. This approach means we can serve campaigns based on the breadth of a Tribe’s interests rather than individual keyword targeting, making FiftyAurora a more efficient and effective solution.

Audience insights are a crucial first step in reaching your audience on the web. By combining audience understanding with contextual engines, you can create actionable insights that will deliver powerful and effective campaigns from the start.

To discover how Fifty can help your brand unlock the power of audience insights to reach new potential customers, get in touch with our Sales Team or book a free demo today.

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