Demographics vs Psychographics in Content Marketing

Lauren Oliver


December 28, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

Niche marketing concept. Colorful figures of customers and chart. Concept for demographics vs psychographics.

Demographics and psychographics tell us everything we need to know about our customers. From basic information like their gender, age, and location, to their buying habits, personality type, and personal values, they help us to create a complete picture of the ideal customer. The more we know about someone, the better our audience segmentation can be. Let’s dive into demographics vs psychographics in content marketing and touch on the following:

Importance of Demographics vs Psychographics for Audience Segmentation

If you’re looking to create high-impact campaigns, then audience segmentation should be the first point on your agenda. To make effective segments, we need to turn to demographics and psychographics.

Consumers aren’t going to carefully read every ad that they come across. Most of the time, you will have less than a second to capture their attention. If they notice that an ad doesn’t directly apply to them, they’ll be gone before they get through your first sentence. Understanding what they’re interested in comes back to using demographics and psychographics. Both of these practices allow you to separate the target audience into smaller parts. So instead of grouping people based on their clicks on your website, you could create segments based on their locations, ages, and incomes.

These examples all fall into audience demographics, which should be your first step toward audience segmentation. But just because people share demographic similarities doesn’t mean they’ll all interact with your business the same way. That’s where audience psychographics come in. Further grouping people based on interests, spending habits, or lifestyle habits gets closer to the core of customer behavior.

At this point, everyone in marketing knows the power of personalization. And to personalize our marketing effectively, we need to get as close as possible to our audience through demographics and psychographics. As you use these forms of data, your segmentation begins to provide several benefits:

  • Improves accuracy: Demographics help us get off to a good start. Applying psychographics on top of them enables us to clearly define our audience into much smaller and more accurate segments.
  • Boosts customer loyalty: Customers that see a company catering to their individual needs and tastes are much more likely to remain loyal customers.
  • Creates compelling marketing: By using audience psychographics, your team can create content that appeals to each audience segment to increase customer connections and brand loyalty.
  • Shows you the “why” behind customer behavior: Psychographics also help you discover why people engage with your business or brand. By pinpointing these motivations, your team can accommodate audiences through better content plans.

Moving through demographic and psychographic segmentation, you create well-defined, specific categories to group your demographic segments. From there, personalized marketing will become a breeze.

Read more: What Are Audience Psychographics and Demographics?

Differences Between Demographics vs Psychographics

While both demographics and psychographics are necessary to form a complete picture of your target audience, there are several differences that your team should look for when collecting this data. Overall, the biggest difference between demographics vs psychographics comes down to tangible vs intangible information. Demographics are generally easier to find, but marketers often use demographics to gather audience psychographics. Check out several more differences between these two metrics:

Audience Demographics

Creating an audience segment around demographics is about identifying a person’s core qualities that help to categorize them. Using fairly concrete categories, you can define your audience by factors like age, gender, income, family structure, or another fairly permanent feature.

  • Age: Splitting your audience into age groups will help you target them more effectively. The tone of voice and marketing channels you select are going to vary greatly depending on the age ranges your brand targets.
  • Income: Salaries determine the amount of disposable income a person has. Someone with only a little left over each month won’t go for the same expensive purchases as someone making $250,000 a year.
  • Family: A person’s family and marital status can change their shopping habits. People with large families may not spend as much on the same items as a single college student who travels often.
  • Geographic location: Even if shoppers make purchases online, their geographic location can influence what they buy. Think about it: someone who lives in a colder climate would be way more likely to buy winter clothing than someone who lives in a region that doesn’t experience cold weather.

Audience Psychographics

We can group demographic audience segments even further by incorporating psychographic data. Researching information between demographics vs psychographics can include buying habits, values, lifestyle choices, and common activities will help us define our segment even more.

  • Buying habits: A person that only buys when there is a sale has very different habits from someone that tends to shop online several times a week.
  • Values: If a person intensely cares about sustainability or acts of charity, this could hugely impact their shopping habits.
  • Lifestyle choices: Someone that cares about fitness might have different consumer tastes than someone that places their priorities elsewhere.
  • Common activities: Does this person like to travel, stay home, hike, or play team sports? These habits can all influence the personality of a person and what marketing they respond to.

Related: How To Develop Audience Segmentation in the New Year

How To Find Audience Psychographics

Person typing on laptop. Concept for audience demographics vs psychographics.

Image via iStock by Galeanu Mihai

Before further segmenting our audience groups with psychographics, ensure a continual flow of new data. Your client base can morph and shape over time, so it’s crucial to understand how your audience changes. To do this, track and record psychographic data using these approaches:

1. Interview Customers

The best source of customer information is right from the source, so to speak. Gathering zero-party data—which comes from surveys and questionnaires—can clarify exactly who you’re engaging with. Most customers won’t just give out details about themselves for free. It’s good to offer them something in return, like a discount code or free samples. If you position surveys around your website in small batches, you can create engagement and find out just what motivates your website visitors.

Making sure of your social channels is incredibly helpful here. Your email subscribers and social media followers might already be interested in your brand. Asking them to fill out a short five-minute survey often results in a much higher response rate. By interviewing customers about themselves, you’re going right to the source. Zero-party data is difficult to obtain but well worth it when you can.

2. Engage on Social Media

Social media dashboards have a range of demographic and psychographic data that your team can use. Social media accounts allow and even promote individuals to create in-depth profiles about themselves. Beyond just gender, age, and location, a social media profile can give you insight into likes, dislikes, and lifestyle habits.

Someone’s “Following” tab on Twitter or Facebook can show you their interests. If a person responds more to a specific type of marketing or content form, then you can piece together small elements of this psychographic data. As more tools evolve, using social media to understand your audience is now easier than ever. You can measure things like customer behavior and post engagement on social media and add this data to your psychographics.

3. Review Your Web Analytics

Tools like Google Analytics are also essential for collecting demographics and psychographics. The truth is, your website is one of the leading data providers when looking for audience insights. Your landing and product pages all have a stream of data around bounce rates, time spent on the page, click-through rates (CTRs), and conversion rates.

By tracing different user segments and how they spend time on your website, you can build up a picture of their shopping habits. Maybe one group loves to browse when you have a sale. Or another group might spend lots of time reading through your blogs before committing to a purchase. Knowing the on-site habits of different groups will help you gather psychographic data. From there, you can customize your site to give certain segments exactly what they’re looking for.

4. Use AI and Natural Processing Language (NLP) Tools

NLP is one of the most recent methods of gathering psychographic data. You can use NLP tools to create a picture of how online audiences receive your brand. By analyzing user sentiment and emotion around your company, you can trace what certain users actually think about your company. This technology is still evolving but has very promising beginnings. Jason Baldridge, a research scientist at Google, has recently been lecturing about consumer insight and NLP at Stanford University.

Early findings suggest that we can use AI and NLP tools to gather insights via social media that traditional data collection tools would overlook. As psychographic data is concerned with personality, detecting changes in attitude and opinion through language is vital. Although a newer method, social listening with NLP tools can guide you toward creating impactful audience segments.

5. Analyze Sales Data

Another important element of psychographics is a buyer’s consumer personality. The typical buying habits customers show over time are indicators of future purchases. On your website, you’ll gather data connected to sales. Using this information, you can segment your audience based on their purchase habits. Knowing what causes someone to buy will help you craft campaigns that move them through each stage of the marketing funnel.

Instead of hoping your campaign works, marketing based on psychographics can drive conversions. Collect as much data as possible from your sales history. Trace a user from the moment they click onto your site right until the moment they check out. Their pathway, speed of purchase, and cart value all tell you a lot more than you may first expect.

6. Use CRM Tools

CRM tools are exceptional for getting an overview of every single interaction between a customer and your business. They’re expansive platforms that offer you the ability to track a range of important metrics. Many of these metrics will relate directly to customer behavior and habits.

Using your CRM, your team can create customer subgroups based on their behaviors and interactions with your brand or business. Whether they opened a certain email or clicked on a specific blog, CRMs can tell you everything. Noticing trends in user behavior will help you to collect information on their psychological build. Not only will you find out more about your customers, but you’ll also find out why they engage in certain ways.

Where Do I Find Audience Demographics?

Audience demographics are most people’s first point of contact with their audience. As these qualities are normally observable details that are submitted freely by the user when signing up for a service, demographic data is readily available. Most online platforms will have a Business Demographics tab where they can see the people that make up their audience. Take Instagram as an example. A business can find information about gender demographics, age ranges, and geographic locations where their followers are based.

Almost all social media apps record demographic data when someone signs up. A user will have to signal their age and gender at the very least. On business-specific platforms, you can even find information about people’s current salaries on the demographics page. These free-to-access demographic summaries can become your initial point for data collection. Beyond social media, you’re able to turn to:

  • Marketing data: Analyzing your marketing data can give you insight into the demographics of visitors to your pages.
  • Sign-up portals: If you allow users to sign up for an account with your business, you can ask for additional demographic data.
  • Surveys: Like psychographic data, you can send out surveys that help you get to know your audience on a deeper level.

Unlike audience demographics, psychographic data can be more challenging to find. In most cases, this is because of how nuanced this type of information can be. Tracking someone’s values and lifestyle habits isn’t as easy or as straightforward as gathering data about age, purchase history, and location.

Read more: Using Psychographics for Audience Segmentation

What Do I Do with Psychographic Data?

Apply the psychographics as your team gathers this data. Demographics vs psychographics are much easier to come across, meaning you most likely already have audience segments based on this. From there, we suggest that you:

  • Consolidate: If you’re collecting audience psychographic data from all of the above methods, you should bring everything into one central data warehouse.
  • Identify trends: Looking across your data, try and see if you notice any trends across customers.
  • Find opportunities: If certain customers have routinely responded to a particular marketing strategy, look to see if you can reproduce more of that with personalized marketing.
  • Create detailed segments: Break your demographic audience segments down even further, placing your newly found psychographic groups on top of your initial data.

When it comes to creating personalized campaigns, the closer to the unique user, the better. As a marketing team, you’ll have to find the balance between personalization and budget. After all, you can’t make an ad for every single customer. However, you could make 20 small variations for 20 different audience segments.

The more demographic and psychographic data you find, the better equipped you will be to segment your audience. As an audience segment becomes narrower, your ability to personalize marketing materials increases. With higher CTRs, increased conversion, and boosted brand loyalty, marketing to small segments is a win-win situation.

Author Image - Lauren Oliver
Lauren Oliver

Content Manager at CopyPress

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