Using Demographics for Audience Profiling

Lauren Oliver


January 18, 2023 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

conceptual image with social connection, concept for using demographics for audience profiling, image via Wirestock on iStock.

As your brand grows, your audience expands along with you. While generating more customers is great, it can also make your marketing campaigns too broad if you don’t adapt them. Using demographics for audience profiling overcomes this and helps you create highly personalized marketing campaigns that capture your customers’ attention. Today, we’re diving into everything you need to know about using demographics for audience profiling with topics like:

What Is Audience Profiling?

Audience profiling helps you define who your target customers are by looking at different characteristics, including demographics and psychographics. So instead of treating marketing to a single group, audience profiling looks at your audience in groups based on similar online behaviors.

When developing audience profiles, you’ll gather a mix of data that shows you what users are doing when engaging with your brand. And demographics are one of the first places to start when building your audience profiles. Using demographics for audience profiling allows you to pinpoint the most valuable groups for your content marketing efforts.

Related reading: Audience Profile vs Customer Persona: Pick Your Fighter

Importance of Demographics for Audience Profiling

Demographics give you an easy way to build up different audience profiles. At the most fundamental level, we all fit into a range of demographic categories. These traits—like age, gender, location, and income—all help to give companies an idea of who we are.

The bottom line is that you’re not likely to find an audience profile that doesn’t include this info in some way. Overall, using demographics for profiling can help your team understand your audience better, leading to more effective and personalized content marketing campaigns. And this is just one advantage of several:

More Effective Segmentation

Marketing is more global than ever, which means that your customers can come from all sorts of locations, backgrounds, and cultures. But using a homogenous marketing strategy for all of these people won’t get your business anywhere, which is why it’s important to narrow down your target audience into specific groups.

This is where your team should start with demographics. The data provides a range of categories that your customers either do or don’t fit into. Some companies may use one core demographic as their defining factor. For example, they could market to people based on age as a single factor. In this case, these companies might market to the following age categories:

  • 18 to 24
  • 25 to 30
  • 31 to 35
  • 36 to 40
  • Over 40

While not every single person within these age categories will have the same preferences and buying habits, it’s an effective starting point. As your team gathers more information about your target customer base, you can build off of the individual demographics and create subcategories with psychographic influencers.

Related reading: Audience Profile vs Audience Segmentation: Are They Different?

Easier To Identify Target Audiences

When you split your customers into smaller categories, you might see trends specific to each group. For example, maybe you have a lot of customers based in North America between 25 and 30 years old. Or maybe your team notices geographic trends in customers who engage with a certain part of your business. Using demographics in this way makes it much easier to start identifying your most valuable groups.

Once you’ve identified the most ideal target groups, you can make sure to tailor future marketing campaigns to these segments. And more effective campaigns mean a higher chance of boosting conversions and your content marketing ROI.

More Personalized Campaigns

Using demographics, you can easily split people up into smaller groups. From there, you’ve narrowed the playing field to focus on highly-personalized marketing campaigns. In fact, a McKinsey study showed that personalized content delivers between five and eight times the ROI than broad campaigns—and can even lift sales by 10% or more.

This highlights the importance of using demographics for audience profiling to create your marketing content. But to make these personalized campaigns, you need to segment your target audience into unique groups that directly benefit from what your brand offers.

Improved Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty is difficult to gain and easy to lose. However, you can boost customer loyalty by using demographics to better understand your audience’s needs. Crafting messages based on demographics showcases exactly how your brand fulfills customers’ needs. While people aren’t going to trust your business instantly, building your content campaigns using these demographics can help you better address customer pain points, giving your business a better chance of converting readers to loyal customers.

Demographics for Audience Profiling vs Audience Analysis

It’s easy to confuse audience profiling and audience analysis. While they use similar methods, marketers use these tools in different situations, which deliver different results.

  • Audience profile: Profiles use demographic, psychographic, and behavioral information to identify who makes up your audience. It gives you a comprehensive overview of the entire audience, including demographic distributions, needs, values, and attributes.
  • Audience analysis: These use demographics and psychographic or situational information to break down an audience into smaller groups. An audience profile highlights clearly defined audience segments.

Both of these methods are effective for digging into your audience data. However, audience analysis is a more general overview, while audience profiling involves actually splitting the audience into groups. In most cases, you’ll run an audience analysis before building your audience profiles with the demographics.

How To Use Demographics for Audience Profiling

When creating audience profiles, you always want to start with demographics. While psychographics comes later, gathering this information about your customers makes the first step much easier. Here’s a general process your team can follow to use demographics for audience profiles:

1. Collect the Data

Collect the demographic information you need to build your profiles, first. You may already have a centralized database of customer information that you can turn to, but if you’re not sure where to begin, there are a few places you can start to collect customer data, including:

Website Analytics

Your website is a treasure trove of customer information. You can farm both demographic and psychographic data from your website, making this a go-to location when you’re looking for data. While you may have a personalized system or tool for monitoring analytics, Google Analytics and Google Search Console are both highly effective for gathering these insights.

As you collect data over time, you’ll be able to see a range of analytics from your site, including general metrics like total clicks, session length, and time spent on the page. While these metrics are important to an overall content marketing campaign, they’re not the insights your team needs for audience profiling. Instead, you’ll want the demographic data—ages, locations, income levels, genders—as well as the devices customers use to access your site.

Social Media Analytics

If you have a business account on social, you’ll have access to demographic data at the click of a button through your social media dashboards. On Instagram, for example, you can access the ages, genders, locations, and activity timeframes of your brand’s followers. While this type of info isn’t as in-depth as the data you collect from your website, social still makes an effective tool for getting an idea of your audience demographics.

It’s crucial you’re collecting demographic data across all of the social media sites your brand is active on. Then, organize it into a social audience or treat each platform differently. However, looking at each platform separately results in better personalization. After all, your LinkedIn audience might be slightly different from your audience on TikTok.

Sales Insights

Your sales team also has customer data you can use for audience profiling. Although much of this type of data is collected manually, the personal interactions and feedback they have with customers give you valuable zero-party data. This zero-party data is information that your customers provide directly to your business. So in a sales call, for instance, customers typically share information about themselves, their business needs, locations, and other demographic data.

Audience Insights

Similar to asking your team, you can increase the amount of demographic data you have by asking the audience. This strategy works especially well for audiences that already show loyalty to your business. For example, readers who’ve signed up for an email newsletter have already freely given you information, so they may be inclined to give a little more. Reach out to your email mailing list with a demographic survey or create polls on social to grab attention, encourage engagement, and learn more about your target audience.

2. Organize Data in One Location

Across these four methods, you should now have a range of customer data at your fingertips. From there, we need to make sure that it is as accessible as possible. If your data is split between many different locations, you’re creating what is known as a data silo structure. This is where data is inaccessible to everyone in your business, as it’s fragmented across many platforms.

To get around this, you should make sure you have a centralized CRM platform. Many of the leading CRMs have integrations that can pull data from all of the above methods. When using your platform, collect all of your data in one place to make it more accessible when building your audience profiles.

3. Start Segmenting

Moving through your demographics, group people based on shared factors. Depending on your company and what products or services you offer, it might make sense to define your audience profiles based on any number of features. For example, you could:

  • Segment based on age: Age is normally the first place to look when using demographic data. While useful and potentially informative, don’t put all your eggs in this basket.
  • Segment according to income: Income can radically influence the types of products customers look for, compare, and purchase. This is a good place to start with demographic segmentation, depending on your business offering.
  • Segment by family status: Demographic data that shows a customer is married or has children can make different products attractive to them when compared to an individual.

These are just three ways to use demographic data for audience profiling. Ultimately, the way your team approaches grouping your customers depends on the goals and unique value propositions of your brand.

4. Create Profiles Specific To Each Segment

You have your segments grouped, with demographics leading the way. Now what? It’s important to create profiles for each unique segment. For example, one of your defined segments might include people who are between 35 and 40 years old, married with no kids, and earn an average income of $250,000 per year.

While this might only be a small portion of your audience, they would be ideal candidates for higher-cost products and services. With this insight, you can create a marketing campaign that follows tiered pricing or accommodates higher-income customers.

You might also compare social media demographics to determine which marketing channel is the most effective for each of your audience segments. By crafting a personalized message for each of your demographic audience profiles, you create a campaign that has a higher chance of converting customers and boosting loyalty and retention.

Related: How to Create an Audience Profile in 7 Steps

5. Measure and Adapt

No marketing campaign is complete without measuring performance and success. It’s important you continue to monitor and collect data on the success of your marketing campaigns within each specific audience. Several metrics that can help your team measure and adapt your audience profiles include engagement with specific topics, conversions with certain content types, and positive feedback on social. Using this data, continue to refine your messaging over time. While this can be a long process, accommodating each audience profile results in better, more high-quality marketing materials.

Demographic data is one of the fundamental pillars of an effective audience profile. And in content marketing, personalized campaigns lead to increased conversions, engagement, and revenue. If you need some help getting started with audience profiles, be sure to reach out to CopyPress. We’ll schedule your strategy call and discuss how our content marketing services can help your business or agency reach its goals.

Author Image - Lauren Oliver
Lauren Oliver

Content Manager at CopyPress

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