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Know Your Audience Inside Out: How Target Audience Research Can Strengthen Your Marketing Strategy.

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

Any good marketing strategy, from traditional, right through to social, digital and everything in between, should be supported by a solid understanding of your target audience.

You may have beautiful, high-quality creative content, copy and a structured implementation plan to match. You may have even pinpointed your target audience based on historical sales data and your aspirational client base. Still, if you have only identified your target audience in this way without further research, it might fall short of the mark.

A deep understanding of your target audience is what drives an excellent marketing strategy – knowing their lifestyle, behaviour, attitudes, opinions, likes, dislikes, fears, anxieties and pain points is what enables you to connect with them and turn a connection into a conversion. This can only come from researching a range of qualitative and quantitative demographic, behavioural and motivational data.

So, we know that target audience research is a vital preliminary step and ongoing requirement of any robust social marketing strategy. We know that we should use a range of data sources to create a well-rounded picture of our potential customer. But where should we be looking, what should we be looking for, and how can we use this data to understand our target audience? Luckily, in today's data age, there is a wealth of audience information available.

Demographic Data

Collecting a range of demographic data is a great way to flesh out your target audience's foundational details and begin building an understanding of who these people are from the ground up.

Say you own a makeup e-commerce brand, and based on your historical sales data, you know that your target audience is women living in Australia aged 18 to 24. Looking at demographic data will allow you to understand what employment roles these women predominantly occupy, what percentage of them have a tertiary education, the most common income level, and the like. From this, you can create a basic image of your ideal customer, informing how you market your brand.

Government census data, surveys and administrative records are all reliable, publicly available sources. Consider the sourcing of target audience demographics like age, race, ethnicity, gender, marital status, income, education and employment as the starting point – this data can then be built upon and analysed in conjunction with more data sources.

Behavioural Data


Now that you understand who your customer is, it's essential to know how they behave. In this digital age, behavioural data mainly refers to page views, email sign-ups, clicks, registrations, shopping behaviour and social platform interactions like shares and engagement. This is essentially any action made on a social media platform or website.

Unfortunately, you'll never be able to see exactly who is visiting your website or social media page and how their individual experience plays out unless they have filled out a form and provided details. Asking users to create an account with your website upon entry is a great way to bypass this issue and enable access to user-identified behavioural data.

This aside, analytics platforms like Google Analytics display a breakdown of website audience demographics alongside website behaviour. Assuming the primary visitors to your website or social media page identify as your target audience, you can use the behavioural data available to personalise and cater the experience specific to their predominant habits.

Optimise your strategy to retain visitors on your website; create more content that produces high engagement; understand where users are falling off in the marketing funnel; and adjust accordingly with remarketing strategies.

While this is quite a granular approach, platform usage reports and media surveys can provide better insight into how your target audience members behave in their overarching online and offline behaviour. For example, a social media usage report might tell you that Australian women aged 18 to 24 are predominant users of Instagram & Snapchat, most active in the morning and early evening, and consume informative and educational video content daily in high volume.

This data can be used to inform your content formats, paid advertising strategy, and posting schedule.

Motivational Data

We have the 'who', we have the 'what', and now we need the 'why'. Motivational data is what allows us to establish a deep, nuanced understanding of our target audience. It provides insight into factors that influence people's attitudes and beliefs. In a nutshell, it helps us understand why people go about their lives in the way they do and what drives them to make certain decisions.

While behavioural data helps ensure you reach your target audience in the right place at the right time, motivational data is crucial to ensure the audience receives the right messaging – the kind that will resonate with them.

Market research reports, industry reports, pulse surveys, academic research, and interviews are reliable sources for motivational data.

For example, take your audience of Australian women, aged between 18 and 24, who are highly active on Instagram and Snapchat and love watching videos on social media. Market research from Deloitte will inform you that women of this age are likely to support ethical, inclusive businesses that give back to the community. Data pulled from the Australia Talks Data Explorer Survey tells us these women take the most pride in their appearance of all women under 65. Simultaneously, data pulled from a cosmetics industry report may inform you that women among this age group value cosmetics as a vehicle for self-care and authenticity.

From this data, you can begin to understand what kind of content your target audience will enjoy, what messaging they will find value in and, importantly, what they look for in a brand and what influences their purchase decisions.

Putting it all together

By researching demographic, behavioural, and motivational data, you can form a multifaceted understanding of your target audience that goes beyond the surface level. A combination of these three data types will help you align your strategy accordingly to ensure engagement with your brand and increase the likelihood of achieving your set objectives.

The aim of the game is to understand what makes your target audience tick so that you can optimise their experience and reach them in the right place, at the right time, with the right message again and again.

Do you need a helping hand in researching the data to understand your target audience? Let's chat about how we can effectively target your audience to grow your business.


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