Do you know your customers? It may seem like an obvious question, but at a time when audiences experience and engage with brands in more ways than ever before, do you really know?

Traditionally, customers are defined by age, gender, location and spending habits. But online, there are a whole host of other factors to consider and tools to gather the necessary data. What websites does your target audience visit? Which devices do they use? What are they saying on social media? What do they search for on Google? Who are their online influencers?

With this information, businesses can tailor marketing strategies, content, advertising and even products to specifically reach those more likely to convert, as well as target new consumers within similar demographics.

Here at Silverbean, our innovative Audience Mapping service involves collecting, analysing and interpreting data from a combination of leading profiling tools to enhance traffic and drive conversions for your brand. And at last week’s Festival of Marketing, YouGov, the UK’s top market research company, unveiled a potential game changer for brands and agencies…

Introducing YouGov Profiles

YouGov Profiles is a new audience segmentation tool that aims to “give marketers a richer and more detailed portrait of a customers’ entire life and the products or services they use.”

It joins 120,000 integrated data points from over 200,000 of YouGov’s most active UK panellists to show how every single member interacts and engages with traditional and new media channels. The data is updated continuously to help brands and agencies to assess consumer behaviour with “greater granularity, accuracy and immediacy.”

Stephan Shakespeare, YouGov Global CEO, said: “The market research industry has had nothing new to say to the creative marketing industry since the invention of the focus group.

“With YouGov Profiles, we now have a giant range of in-depth, up-to-the-moment, connected data that is reliable for the practical decisions of media management and inspiring for fresh creative angles.

“We can now construct a three-dimensional portrait of who customers are, how they behave and what drives the way they act. This is a revolutionary product and no other research company can boast the depth and richness of understanding of specific audiences.”

First Impressions

The detail of the data available within YouGov Profiles is like nothing we have seen before. Each profile is broken down into sections covering general demographics and lifestyle, brand usage and perceptions, attitudes and opinions, digital and social media behaviour, and media consumption, listing everything from the audience’s most visited websites to their favourite meals.

The profiles are not just restricted to brands either, with data available for specific celebrities, sports teams, animals, events, interests, television programmes, films, books and products.

Naturally, the first thing we did was search for Silverbean clients and their competitors to see if the results corresponded with our own thoughts and strategies. We quickly discovered that the data does have some inconsistencies, with only household names available (1,000 brands in total) and varying sample sizes depending on how popular the brand is.

Also, the tool uses Z-scores to calculate each result, which is a way of measuring the significance of two different groups (in this case people who like the chosen subject and their comparison set). If a Z-score is under 1 it’s rated weak, between 1 and 2 is medium, above 2 is strong, and above 4 is very strong. As you would expect, data that is more conclusive, such as location, gender and profession, is generally stronger than interests and opinions.

YouGov Screenshot

There has been a mixed reaction on social media, with many people posting about how accurate the profiles of their favourite musicians and brands are, while others, including Buzzfeed, have poked fun at some of the contradictions and anomalies in small data sets. Who knew that One Direction fans are slightly right-wing and big fans of DIY?

Nevertheless, the Profiler tool is still extremely useful and if applied in the right way, it could help brands and marketers to answer some important questions about their customers and where to find more of them online.

YouGov offer a premium version of the Profiles tool, which we are hoping to put through its paces in the coming weeks with a demo from Graeme Ford, Director of YouGov Profiles. But for now, we have taken a snapshot of two competing brands to show some of the information you can find to help define your target audience.