What characteristics go into the measurement of an online audience?

In previous posts we have discussed the importance of understanding your audience. But what are the different factors and characteristics that go into segmenting and differentiating between online customers? And how can we categorise and group these different characteristics?

There are a multitude of signals and factors to consider when measuring an audience. This data can be classified into three main types: Demographics, Behaviour and Customer Journey.

It is the combination of all three that allows marketers to successfully profile customers, create segments and efficiently market to relevant groups.

DEMOGRAPHICS – the where and the who

Demographic metrics describe who and where a person or group of people are. These factors include:

  • Geography – Location and rural diversity help determine most appropriate path to purchase such as online and through store
  • Household – Income, Family situation, Age and Property all help with assumptions on customer needs and wants
  • Likes and Dislikes – Understanding what media each group consumes and how open each group is to offers and contact preferences
Audience behaviour

An example of age, gender and location demographics data

BEHAVIOUR –  The how and the when

This type of information is the measure of the behaviour of consumers when online. These include the websites they visit, how long they spend there, what device they are on, and the keywords they use.

  • Web Analytics – Determines the products and content they are interested in and the upstream and how they found your brand
  • Email Behaviour – Shows when they engage with the brand and what topics they are interested in
  • Device Analytics – Shows how and when they interact with you during the day and what their preferred method of interaction is

Here’s an example of some of the measurable behavioural data available:

Web analytics

Email behaviour

CUSTOMER JOURNEY –  The why

This provides the granular detail of why a consumer interacts in a certain way and whether they buy products spontaneously or via multi-stage evaluations.

  • Path to Purchase – Understanding what decisions were made leading up to the purchase. What content was seen and engaged with?
  • Marketing Attribution – What marketing was responsible for the decision to spend. What importance should you place on each channel?
  • Social Presence – How did your customer talk about your brand and their purchase? Did they involve other people in the decision?
Customer journey

An example of just how complicated an average customer journey can be

How do brands make use of this information?

Demographics, behaviour and customer journey are the three types of measurement which should be applied to online traffic to define and refine audiences. Between them they cover all the measurable aspects of online consumers.

Everybody online is creating data, more so in the modern data-driven world, and it’s up to brands to harness the online intelligence available to ensure they are seeing as full a picture as possible of the people on their websites.

When a brand understands its customers it is able to tailor the experience to suit the preferences of that customer. Whether that’s personalisation, dynamic content, bespoke messaging or specific offers depends on the individual and company involved but the intention should be to more easily provide the customer with what they want.

If a brand knows who its ‘best fit’ customers are it can highlight the characteristics which define them and then concentrate on finding  ‘lookalikes’.

Experian Marketing Services is a leading global provider of consumer insights, targeting and data quality.

By helping marketers identify their best customers, find more of them, and then coordinate seamless and intelligent interactions across the most appropriate channels, Experian Marketing Services’ clients can deepen customer loyalty, strengthen brand advocacy and maximise profits.