Part 2: Understanding Your Audience

June 8, 2016
AJ Casale, Vice President, Digital

Last week in our ongoing blog series, we looked at the importance of understanding your public affairs campaign’s overall objective when establishing your program and the strategies that branch off of achieving that goal. Now that we’ve shaped the foundation of a campaign, we need to better understand to whom the campaign is speaking. It’s about taking the data one step further and creating a story about both your audiences and the tactics that will speak to those audiences. Who is your audience?

With some baseline data provided through the audit of your current properties and engagement efforts to date, basic information regarding audience profiles can work as a starting point, but a deeper dive is needed to truly appreciate exactly who you are speaking to and even more importantly, how they want to hear from you. The question remains—where do you find that information?

Part 2: Understanding Your Audience

1. Audience Analysis

The first step in discerning what makes your audience tick is identifying their attributes. Deploying analytic tools provides vital information on the make-up of your audiences—everything from demographics and psychographics to voting habits and behaviors to media consumption patterns. This analysis can organize and categorize audiences and identify their relationship with your organization’s causes and values, determining both core target audiences and even outlier audiences—those individuals you many not necessarily think of as potential advocates but do in fact share similar values and views.

2. Social Listening

Understanding the broader conversation about your issues in digital spaces is crucial if you plan to take control of the narrative. Using social media monitoring tools, you have the ability to track the scope of the online conversation, the volume of the discussion, the keywords used, the platforms where the conversations are taking place, and the sentiment associated with the discussion. This monitoring gives you a visual of both your opposition’s tactics and communications, as well as how your audience reacts in these conversations, giving insight into what is and isn’t working.

3. Digital Footprint

Before you can make an impact online, you need to understand your current status – as well as your oppositions. Social media measurement tools, as well as the native platforms of social networks, will quantify the reach and influence of your current campaign. They can tell you how many people see your content and more importantly, how they interact with the content. Constantly reviewing and understanding your digital footprint can provide quick results on tactics used and allow responsive changes, when needed. It can also keep tabs on your opponents.

4. Advanced Site Analytics

Site analytics, derived from a visitor’s cookie profile, can give you a complete view of your web traffic. A tiny pixel in your site’s code can tell you more than just the regular Google Analytics metrics, like demographic data, political data, and top issue areas. This data helps you validate that you are indeed reaching the right audiences and how to optimize your sites’ content to better fit the values of your web traffic.

Organizations need to understand in great detail each audience that is interacting with their issue—either by visiting their campaign’s online properties or through other, outside means—and how best to engage them. It’s these strong digital solutions that will provide you with all of the tools needed to better know your audience and support the blueprint and foundation of your campaign. You’ve mapped out what needs to happen and built the infrastructure—now it’s about putting that plan into place. Check back in with us next week as we tackle top strategies to reach your audience!

Check out the rest of the tactics below: 

Part 1: Understanding Your Objective

Part 3: Staging the Conversation

Part 4: Engaging Your Audience

Part 5: Activating Your Audience


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