Why and how businesses should review their online audience regularly
Here at Clicky, we recommend that businesses review and evaluate their online audience at least every 6 months.
Over the past year, online activity has changed dramatically, in large part due to the impact of coronavirus.
Changing consumer behaviours
With whole countries being locked down and millions of people being stuck at home, it’s no wonder that more and more people now go online for activities they would previously have done in person.
Online shopping is on the increase
As a result of coronavirus, people have increased the frequency of their online shopping by 34%. In addition, 17.2 million brits, almost 25% of the population, now say they will make a permanent switch to online shopping – according to a report by Alvarez & Marsal and Retail Economics.
Device switch up
While the last few years has seen a dramatic increase in smartphone usage, during lockdown people put down their phones and turned their laptops back on.
The New York Times reported that Facebook saw a 27% increase in traffic to their website, compared to just 1.1% on the app. YouTube similarly saw a 15.3% increase in website traffic, and a 4.5% decrease in app traffic.
With more time at home, sat around with nothing to do, people are spending more time actively engaging with websites, rather than quickly browsing on their phone.
More time spent researching means a greater opportunity to convince website visitors about the value of your product, but is your website optimised to suit the needs of these early funnel users?
Being sat at home without much to do, people are more likely than ever to splash out on an impulse buy. Purchase intent for these kinds of transactions is highest among millennials, and those with a higher disposable income, according to Mckinsey & Company. While this is may seem obvious, it could mean that the promotional campaign you developed at the start of 2020 is targeting a group of users who are now tightening their purse strings, while completely overlooking an easily convertible demographic.
Higher-income earners and millennials are more likely than ever to make nonessential impulse purchases.
These are three ways in which the online audience has changed for all businesses in the last 6 months. But there are also likely to be changes happening at an individual level. Here at Clicky, we have seen the typical audience change dramatically for many of our clients, whether that be younger people engaging with health and wellbeing brands, or holiday booking shift from group holidays to small bookings.
In order to make sure you are meeting the needs of the people who are actually engaging with your brand, and to ensure you are spending your time and budget effectively, it has never been more important to review who your online audience is, how they interact with your brand, and what they are looking for online.
How To Review Your Online Audience
There are a couple of different ways you can go about reviewing your audience – how they behave on your website and what they are looking for from your business.
The first is using Google Analytics.
If you have Google Analytics set up, it should be your primary source of data when reviewing your online audience. This is because it literally tracks every action each and every user makes on your site. When set up correctly, Google Analytics can tell us the age, gender, location and interests of those users who are most likely to make a purchase, what content they find valuable, and how long it takes a customer to move through the purchase funnel from consideration to conversion.
By using Google Analytics to identify those users who are most likely to convert, you can optimise your marketing mix to cater to their specific needs, rather than using broad and often expensive promotional tactics that may deliver little return.
Another great way to review the audience that is engaging with your brand beyond your website is to review the insights provided by your social channels.
Facebook, for example, provides in-depth insight into who is following your brand pages, and who is most likely to engage with your content. By comparing different date ranges, you can see how your audience demographics have changed over time.
We often find for our clients that the types of people who engage on social media are not necessarily the same as those that are converting on the website. This is because customers are more likely to engage with social media accounts at the earlier stages of the purchase funnel.
By understanding how your social audience differs from your ‘core’, most-likely-to-purchase audience, you can develop tailored campaigns that focus on building brand awareness on social media, while your website remains optimised to engage and convert those users who are ready to purchase.
An example of how the audience that engages on social media can look vastly different to those that visit the website.
Surveys and questionnaires
Finally, while quantitative data can tell you a lot about who your audience is and how they act, when it comes to learning more about what your audience is looking for from your brand there is no substitute for good old fashioned qualitative research.
By using surveys and questionnaires, you can source a wealth of information from your customers. Creating your own surveys allows you to devise your own questions that are specific to your business needs. This might be investigating customer desires for new product development, or ways to optimise your website based on individual customer experiences.
Qualitative research doesn’t have to cost the earth either – customers will very often be happy to share their thoughts in exchange for a small incentive, whether that be a small discount, or entry into a prize draw. The impact of these incentives on the bottom line is often considerably less than any other promotional activity you are undertaking.
You could leverage your existing email database to contact previous customers and ask for their thoughts, or build in a feedback loop to the purchase confirmation emails that get sent to every new customer.
We have explored three readily available options, but there are a number of additional platforms that can provide even deeper insight into your audiences for a cost.
However you choose to do it, it is vital to the ongoing success and viability of your business that you regularly review your audience, amending and evolving your strategy to suit the changing needs and actions of your customers. The world is a very different place than it was 12 months ago, and is likely to change even more in the following months. You should expect your customers to do the same.