What Are Audience Psychographics and Demographics?

Lauren Oliver


December 8, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

A Marketing analysis with psychographics in the notepad. Concept for understanding psychographics and demographics in marketing.

It can take only seconds for a customer to decide if they like your brand messaging and tone of voice. And with such a short time span, you can’t leave your marketing strategy up to chance. This is why audience psychographics and demographics are so critical to gaining insight into who your brand is marketing to and what these audiences like as consumers and humans. Today, we’re exploring how you can collect this data about your audience and use it to improve your marketing strategy and brand messaging with topics like:

What Are Audience Psychographics and Demographics?

Even skilled marketers confuse psychographics and demographics. Often, people classify psychographics under demographics instead of using two separate terms. Demographics are the statistical data you collect about your audience and tell you WHO you’re marketing to. Psychographic information is data about your audience that relates to their psychological characteristics, like goals or attitudes. They tell you WHY your audience does what they do, such as making certain purchasing decisions.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between a Psychographic and a Demographic?

To test whether a piece of audience data is demographic or psychographic, look at the IAO variables. IAO stands for:

  • Interests
  • Activities
  • Opinions

If your data fits into one of these categories, it’s psychographics. Also, psychographic data often involves an element of audience choice or control. Your audience’s needs, desires, habits, and lifestyles all fall under the psychographic umbrella. In contrast, demographic data is often statistical. It looks at things like the population and verifiable data about the specific groups that make it up.

It’s usually harder and more time-consuming to collect psychographic data. Your team has to create surveys, talk to audience members, or do one-on-one research to learn more about an individual’s IAO points. To find demographic data, you can use government resources like census data or information from your analysis tools, like Google Analytics.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Google Data

Types of Audience Demographics

Demographic data tells you the most surface-level information about your audience. They include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Education level
  • Political affiliations
  • Ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Marital status

Most websites, apps, and other programs collect this data organically from their users. These programs get the information from user input and opt-in actions, such as turning on location services or linking a program to a social media profile.

Types of Audience Psychographics

Audience psychographics helps you understand your customers on a deeper level. Reducing someone to their age, location, and ethnicity won’t tell you much about how to attract them to your brand with your marketing. Treating customers as real people who have certain preferences and different tastes makes it easier to connect with them. Through this type of hyper-personalization in marketing, businesses and brands use psychographics to uncover details about their audiences, like:

  • Personality
  • Lifestyle
  • Interests
  • Opinions
  • Beliefs
  • Attitudes
  • Values
  • Believed social status

5 Ways To Use Audience Psychographics and Demographics

Statistics showing results and success from personalizing marketing based on demographics and psychographics.

Image via McKinsey & Company

Psychographic and demographic data allow us to better understand the type of customer we’re dealing with. As you can see from McKinsey & Company, using personalization in a marketing strategy decreased the acquisition cost for new customers by up to 50% in 2016—and this could be even higher today. Beyond that, clients and consumers now expect a level of personalization from brands before they even consider a partnership or purchase.

Here are some examples of how you can use demographics and psychographics to enhance your marketing strategy and give the audience what they want and what they expect from your campaigns:

1. Push Demographics Further with Psychographics

No one moves through life at the same pace. Just because two people are of a similar age and live in the same location does not guarantee they’ll want the same things. Although demographics tell us a lot, they’re not enough to give you the secret keys to attracting the right target audience for your brand. That’s where using demographics and psychographics together is better than using one alone. By exploring the interests, activities, and hobbies of each demographic segment, you can understand each group further.

Take Olay’s first Super Bowl campaign as an example of how the two data sets work together. The company knew enough about its demographics, that the brand appeals mostly to middle-aged to older women. But through psychographic study, it also found a lot of its consumers were also interested in horror movies. The “Killer Skin” campaign followed actress Sarah Michelle Gellar through a 90s-style horror short. Her character wasn’t able to use Face ID to unlock her phone and call the police because using Olay’s skincare products made her unrecognizably youthful.

2. Target Demographics Based on Shopping Persona

Every audience segment shares similar characteristics. You can develop client or customer personas from your demographic and psychographic data to get a better idea of both who you’re targeting in each group and why you’re targeting them with a specific campaign. Some examples of personas you may create include:

  • Last-minute buyer: This audience segment loves flash sales and event sales. That limited-time pressure and fear of missing out add to their interest and conversion.
  • Researcher: This audience segment wants to know everything about a product or service before they buy. Brands should have ample documentation, long product descriptions, and informational articles for this segment to explore to keep them interested in your products and services.
  • Value seeker: These buyers absolutely love finding products at discount prices. What’s expensive at the retail price suddenly becomes a steal if there’s a sale sticker on the product.

Understanding the type of buyer persona your customer segments fit into will help you market more effectively to them.

Related: FAQ: What Is Audience Segmentation?

3. Steal Competitor Traffic

If members of your target audience are already buying or using products and services similar to yours, you can leverage the hard work your competitors have already done and steal their traffic. It sounds shady, and maybe it is, but it’s not illegal. It’s simply crafty marketing. Once you know what the competition is doing, you can discover how to make your products and services sound bigger, better, and more appealing. Knowing more about your audience’s psychographics can help.

Dollar Shave Club took advantage of this method on Facebook. At launch, Gillette was its biggest competitor in the razor market. The company created Facebook ads that directly compared Dollar Shave Club products and services to Gillette ones and shared reasons loyal users should switch. The ads went over well with audiences and helped Dollar Shave Club grow as a brand by building off the marketing work Gillette had done for years.

Using the CopyPress competitor content analysis tool, you can get even more insights into the content marketing strategies of your competitors. Review their target keywords and any growth opportunities for your brand by requesting your free report today.

4. Make Relevant Offerings to Specific User Groups

Using psychographic information helps you offer more specific recommendations to different user groups. For example, at the bottom of a product page, you could recommend additional products and services that people in the same demographic and psychographic personas purchased. Instead of hoping that a user moves through pages of products and selects one they like, you can tailor their viewing experience.

5. Create Popular Content By Type

Graph displaying the content types audiences like to see, representing psychographics and demographics in content marketing.

Image via MarketingTech

Once you understand both the demographics and psychographics that routinely interact with your business, you can reverse-engineer popular content. Certain user groups respond better to distinct content formats.

Look at the graphic above. It shows that younger audiences prefer video and social image content, while older audiences often prefer emails and newsletters. This demographic data helps you choose the right content types for each audience segment. After you’ve selected a content type, you can use your psychographic information to plan the content messages.

Discovering points of interest can give you the tools you need to make world-class content for your audience. This will help streamline your content marketing strategy while also pandering directly to your ideal audience.

Get Guided Help To Make Audience Psychographics Count

Finding and understanding audience psychographics and demographics are a core part of running an effective marketing campaign. To get help from a dedicated strategy team to guide all of your content campaigns with this helpful data, contact CopyPress for a consultation. With years of experience, we’ve created a high-impact content strategy for countless businesses. If you’re looking to make the most of the data that your company collects, schedule your 1:1 strategy call today.

Author Image - Lauren Oliver
Lauren Oliver

Content Manager at CopyPress

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