Next-generation Consumer Insight: Understanding the science behind Fifty

Written by
Fifty Team

24 Aug, 2021

How many ads do you think consumers see every day? A couple hundred? A couple thousand? Wrong. People lay their eyes on up to 10,000 ads per day. That offers ample opportunity for a brand to get exposure, but exposure doesn’t matter if you’re reaching the wrong types of people. In the age of attention scarcity, targeting the right customer, at the right time, on the right platform has never been more critical.

In many ways, it has become easier to target customers because people are self-generating behavioural data by the minute. As you are reading this, people are opening web browsers, following accounts on Twitter and searching in Google. There are about 3.397 billion active social network users around the globe, and by 2020 internet users will each produce 1.7MB of data every second – that’s equivalent to producing a 400-page novel.

Marketers are expected to create action based off of this data, but how can they wade through it all to target more efficiently and accurately? Gone are the days of campaigns and media planning strategies based on intuition. Traditional market research can be too cumbersome and slow to deal with the needs of marketers in the digital era. What is needed is responsive, reliable and rapid analysis of the mountains of data that is generated from the internet.

This paper will explore why companies can no longer rely solely on antiquated methods of research, and how audience intelligence can make this abundance of complex data not only intelligible but actionable.

Market Research 3.0: The Next Generation of Insight

For brands, the first step in understanding their customer base is often to undertake market research. They tend to rely on methods such as focus groups, surveys and ethnography or use data points like cookies or financials and their own CRM to create customer personas. While all valid, these are time-consuming and expensive methods, which (most of the time) result in a small segment of the population being used to represent the whole. Take surveys for instance – have you ever wondered who are the people answering these questions? They might fit the demographic check box you are looking at, but demographics alone cannot provide a truly rich and holistic picture of your target audience.

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 by a relatively small handful of users and often isn’t truly representative of their attitudes. If comments on social networks are the gateway to a person’s soul, trolls would probably stop trolling. But more importantly, 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.

In order to understand people without concentrating on the vocal minority, Fifty takes an entirely unique approach to audience intelligence. 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. This is because our panel does not focus on what people say, but who they follow. And who they follow, says a lot about who they are.

Take Fifty’s CEO Simon Shaw for instance, he has over 25k followers on Twitter (not too shabby, Simon) and follows 7.5k. From even a cursory examination, we can tell that he is interested in technology startups, digital innovation and sailing. From that we can begin to build a picture of who he might be as a consumer, and where we might be able to target him.

Using billions of data points, our customer intelligence platform can quickly discover a community of people, who have shared passions and preferences, which then builds up into a consumer profile. It’s the next generation of insight, that allows businesses, whether they be media planners, buyers or marketing creatives, to segment their audience based on naturally-occurring communities.

Audience Intelligence: How to Understand People

We firmly believe that Fifty’s technology allows businesses to make better decisions by understanding people better. But how? Well, we can do this because our proprietary platform pulls from different data sources in order to build a holistic picture of online-dwelling tribes.

Let’s talk about tribes for a second. It’s a word we use with purpose. Humanity has been organising itself into tribes for millennia, the internet just changed the visibility of those tribes. So, what does it mean to belong to a tribe? Online, a tribe can be identified by a set of shared traits. It is a community of people who have similar passions, interests, networks and behaviour. They follow the same type of people and companies, and enjoy the same type of things.

If we look at a network graph, we can see millions of nodes – or little dots on the screen. Those dots? Yeah those are people, and all the lines or graph edges between the nodes? Those represent an overlap between those people – a connection if you will. And if there are enough connections, all those nodes begin to cluster together to become a tribe. What is important to understand is that we don’t determine the nodes or the graph edges. It is the common passions, interests, beliefs, friends of real people that cause them to cluster. Our platform uses network science to uncover these connections between people on the internet to find tribes that already exist. As such, our science mimics how people connect in the real world. We are not creating tribes at Fifty. We are unearthing them.

In order to do this, we feed queries into our panel of over 2.6 billion online profiles, using strategic filtering to separate the wheat from the chaff (i.e. no bots or dormant accounts). Segmentation is then purely mathematical with the Fifty platform vibrantly building clusters based on people’s self-identified interests. But what does that mean? Mathematical segmentation sounds impressive, but it can be difficult to grasp the magnitude of what the Fifty platform does when it heads out on a search.

As soon as the parameters are defined, our AI-powered platform begins to crunch massive amounts of data sets. It sets out on a hunt in the Cloud, for shared traits across billions of passions and beliefs of your target audience. When we say billions, even that is hard to conceptualise. To ground it in the physical world – imagine if we printed out a record of the data on our platform; we would have over 100 billion pieces of paper to analyse. If we stacked those pages on our desk, it would burst through our ceiling, zoom past the ozone layer and sit 28x higher than the International Space Station, which by the way, orbits the Earth at a distance of 400 km. So that’s a lot of data crunching, often in a matter of minutes. The end result is a visualisation that not only shows individual profiles (nodes) and all the connections (edges) between them, but also reveals the intricacies of human interaction and behaviour.

Fifty offers the speed, scale and the precision of machine learning to find these patterns across billions of data points and makes them digestible. We humanise the complex in order for brands to better target and engage not only their core, but also new customers. Our platform allows you to find new opportunities, while also discovering unknown traits about your current audience.

How to Activate Audience Intelligence

In the competition to capture consumer attention and engagement, it is crucial for brands to have a nuanced picture of who their audience is. Fifty enables brands to do just that, achieving an unbeatable scale and depth of audience intelligence.

With massive data sets, we can understand billions of people, performing large-scale studies that don’t risk making assumptions based on a small sample size. But it’s not just the breadth of our platform that makes us distinctive. We firmly believe that who we are is what we are interested in. Social data allows us to tap into how people are self-identifying online. We do not come to the data with preconceived notions or predetermined tribes – we let the data speak for itself.

Our cluster networks use various inputs – social, CRM and web – to analyse a complex web of information and then deliver it in a simple, accurate and beautiful visualisation. We can understand the silent majority and reveal insights about your customers that perhaps you never knew, and even unearth new customers that were hovering in the background. And then we can activate that intelligence, solving brand questions and problems quickly and efficiently. The power of our intelligence is such that we have created our own digital media product around it, creating bespoke PPC, programmatic and social advertising for brands. Our panel can also be used to identify gaps in your audience, map influencers or conduct competitor analysis – and that’s just a hint of Fifty’s many use cases.

At its core, Fifty allows brands to better engage with their communities, customising their messaging to specific segments in a more accurate way than previously thought possible. We simplify the complex, to ensure that you are speaking to the right people, in the right way, at the right time. That is the science, and the magic, of Fifty.

Fifty can help you understand your audience, get in touch today.

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