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Our 4 Favourite Audience Research Tools to Better Understand Your Customers

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Date

Dec 07, 2023

Read Time

min read

Category

Insight

Date

Dec 07, 2023

Read Time

min read

Category

Insight

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SparkToro Meltwater Semrush Reddit

If you don’t understand your audience, how can you properly engage with them?

Too many companies forget about their audience. Instead, they do the marketing they want, through the channels they want, using the messaging they want. The result? A marketing strategy that just doesn’t work.

To maximise your marketing, you need to truly know your audience. Audience research, audience analysis… whatever you call it. It’s about understanding what makes your audience tick. But how do you actually do it?

In this blog, we’ve pulled together our four favourite audience research tools to make understanding your customers as easy and insightful as possible.

Our Favourite Audience Research Tools:

SparkToro

If you haven’t heard of SparkToro yet, you’re missing out.

SparkToro is an audience research tool that does most of the hard work for you. It identifies where your audience is, who they’re engaging with and what they’re talking about. It sources data from across social media, websites and other online content – compiling it all into easy-to-use audience profiles. You can search for an audience on SparkToro by:

  • What they talk about
  • Words they use in their bio
  • A social account they follow
  • A website they visit
  • A hashtag they use

SparkToro then provides an in-depth insight into your chosen audience. The words and phrases they use, the social accounts they follow, the websites they visit, the news outlets they read and the podcasts they listen to.

Sound good? It really is. We’ve found that SparkToro is an invaluable tool for audience research, especially at the start of a project. It’s perfect for identifying exactly where your audience gets their information – which can sometimes be the hardest step.

SparkToro pricing: both free & paid plans available

Meltwater

Meltwater is a media intelligence and monitoring tool. Is it slightly less widely known than some audience research tools? Maybe. But this doesn’t mean it’s any less effective or insightful. In fact, we’d argue it’s one of the best. Put very simply, Meltwater shows you what people, brands and media outlets are talking about.

You can search for mentions of keywords across media channels, socials, websites, and even TV and radio. It displays all the instances your keywords have appeared across these channels. This makes it an exceptionally good media monitoring platform (and perfect for a PR agency) – but it does so much more.

For each search, Meltwater provides topic analysis, author demographics, trends… even the most used emojis. We’ve found it’s a particularly effective audience research tool for understanding how your audience posts on social media (X/Twitter in particular, but also TikTok). You can quickly identify themes and sentiment across thousands of posts, while pulling out specific qualitative examples to add some flavour to your audience analysis.

screenshot from meltwater

Meltwater pricing: paid plans only (but it’s worth it!)

Semrush

If social media posts are how people want to be seen by others, how people search on Google is how they truly think. It’s where they ask questions when they think no one’s looking. Search data can reveal an incredible amount about your audience, their priorities and their intent. But how do you find this data?

There are thousands of tools out there, but our favourite is Semrush. It’s an all-in-one tool that includes pretty much everything you could need for SEO. But the feature that’s perfect for audience research is the keyword tool. Not only is it an essential for everyone involved in SEO, it can bolster your audience research with details on:

  • The general words and phrases your audience are searching for
  • The websites they’re visiting, and the search terms that are sending them there
  • The questions they’re asking
  • The brands they’re looking for

We typically use Semrush alongside AnswerThePublic – which provides additional insight into the how people are searching. Using both tools, we can identify exactly what our target audience wants to know, and how our client can provide the answers.

screenshot from semrush

Semrush pricing: limited free plan, we’d recommend one of the paid plans

AnswerThePublic pricing: free plan includes 3 searches a day, paid plans required for more

Reddit

Reddit’s a network of online communities that discuss everything and anything. And it’s a goldmine for audience insights.

Reddit has more than 50 million extremely engaged (and extremely honest) daily users. They post in communities focused on different topics, called subreddits – and there’s almost definitely a subreddit aligned with your brand’s offering.

Anonymous profiles mean people say exactly what they think. Whether it’s how they really feel about their job, what they’re struggling with in life or some photos of bread stapled to trees – Reddit is the perfect place to find out what makes your audience tick.

However, Reddit isn’t used by everyone. Only 13% of users are aged 50 and above, and a big proportion of them are based in the US. So before losing yourself in subreddits – make sure your target audience is actually on there.

screenshot from reddit

Reddit pricing: Free

With these tools in your audience research toolbox, you’ve got everything you need to better understand and engage with your customers. Good luck on your audience research endeavours!

Searching for an agency that ‘gets you’ and will get cracking?

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