BEST 2021 TARGET AUDIENCE ANALYSIS GUIDE


Complete Guide | Target Audience Analysis with Templates and Samples | All You Need to Know for 2021

A target audience analysis is one of the most important assessments you need to complete to understand any type of targeted audience group.

  • How do you identify underserved markets to capitalize on?
  • In what ways can you personalize your user experience?
  • Within an organization, how can you identify the audience groups and individuals that are impacted by a project?
  • How can you be sure you’re sending the right marketing message to the right external groups?
  • When a business is going through a change, how can you identify the targeted audience that needs to be engaged, communicated with, and trained?
  • How can you segment and understand various audience groups for a wide range of reasons including marketing, promotions, sales, engagement, tracking, and many more?

These are all questions that a target audience assessment can answer. 

Depending on what you are aiming to do, and which audience you are interested in analyzing, this guide provides you with everything you need. It covers target audience analysis for internal projects, as well as external target assessments.

The output from your target audience assessment will enable you to quickly identify the who, what, when, and how of a particular audience, and these details will then be used to plan your audience engagement and outreach strategic plans. 

This free guide provides you with a step-by-step overview and everything you need to know for conducting the best kinds of target audience analysis for 2021, and beyond. It references target audience examples, target audience demographics, templates, and samples that you can leverage.

Sample Target Analysis Toolkit with Templates & Dashboards

TARGET AUDIENCE ANALYSIS & ENGAGEMENT MANAGEMENT TOOL-min

AGS Cloud Target Audience Assessment Tool


Is This Guide Designed for You?

There is a wide range of organizations and professions that need to conduct effective target audience analysis on a one-time or on an ongoing basis.

This target audience assessment guide has been developed for:

  • Organizational Change Managers who are conducting internal impacted employee and manager analysis.
  • Small and medium-sized businesses that are marketing, selling, or providing services to specific types of consumers.
  • Large, enterprise organizations that are targeting a wide range of consumer groups.
  • Marketing Managers and Specialists that are targeting specific groups of consumers.
  • Advertising Managers who are looking to segment-specific audience groups.
  • HR or other departments within an organization that need to assess employee groups on a regular basis.
  • Content Management Specialists who engage with users, readers, and content seekers
  • SEO / SME / Social Media Specialists who engage with individuals and groups online
  • Speakers and event hosts that address a large audience of people
  • Local, state, or federal government workers who are targeting specific audience groups
  • And many more

Why is Target Audience Analysis Important?

Whether you’re evaluating audiences inside an organization or customer audiences outside your company, knowing the traits, likes, dislikes, and what those audiences see as important is vital if you want to engage with them in a meaningful way.

Here are some of the reasons it’s important to perform a target audience analysis and understand your audiences.

Improve the Effectiveness of Marketing

Do you have one general email list for all leads that your business generates? If so, this can lead to less effective marketing and more time and money spent on marketing than needs to be.

For example, if you sell paint products, some of your customers may be homeowners and some may be contractors. Each of these groups is going to react to different things. An email about DIY painting isn’t going to interest your contractor audience because they’re trying to get more business. Likewise, you wouldn’t want to offer a deep contractor discount to a consumer audience that is going to purchase much less paint over time.

Doing a target audience assessment can help you identify who your customer audiences are so you can properly segment them and send marketing that speaks to their specific wants, needs, and pain point solutions.  

Personalization of Experience

Over the last several years, personalization of the customer experience has become one of the most important metrics by which customers gauge a business. Thanks to tracking and online analytics, people are now used to having personalized recommendations, emails, and website experiences based upon their likes and dislikes.

According to an article in Forbes, 80% of surveyed consumers say they’re more likely to purchase from a company that offers a personalized experience.

In order to properly personalize the customer experience, you need to understand your audiences. For example, you don’t want to have a paid Facebook Messenger ad for dog toys going out to the cat lovers that follow your page.

Determine Your Target Markets

You can spend a lot of time and money marketing to the wrong audiences for your products and services if you don’t know who they are. It’s like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.

A target audience analysis helps you understand who it is that needs your products or services, what’s important to them, and what problems they face that your solutions could resolve.

An assessment of your target audiences gives you a roadmap for your marketing strategy and can also inform new products and services that would prove lucrative. It can also help you uncover target markets that you never realized were there. 

Enhance Success of Program/Project Communications

If you’re working on a project for an organizational change, a social work outreach, a new government policy, or something else, it’s important to know the audiences you’ll be interacting with. If you understand the differences between target audiences, you can better hone your message to be more effective.

For example, if you are communicating a policy change for an organization, it’s helpful to know if a particular department is likely to welcome a change or be more resistant based upon their audience type. This can inform your resistance mitigation strategy proactively. 

Target Audience Analysis Template - Excel


 Target Audience Examples

Depending on your profession or sector, a target audience assessment gives you insights that will allow you to effectively plan your engagement, outreach, marketing, advertising, communications, or relationship building.

In essence, an audience analysis ensures more consistency in your messaging and engagement, so you can build stronger relationships with targeted audience groups.

Below is a list of sample target audience groups that are normally targeted for an audience analysis

  1. Employees and managers that will be impacted by a change. Often referred to as internal target audience groups
  2. Age-based target audience
  3. Geographical, regional, or local target audience
  4. Social-based audience
  5. Job role based audience
  6. Income-based audience segments
  7. Gender segmented audience
  8. Similar interests – based audience
  9. Audience groups with similar problems, concerns, needs, and aspirations
  10. Family base or relationship status segment audience
  11. Personality-driven target audience
  12. Similar socioeconomic status

The target audience examples provided above are just a sample list of target audience demographics. There is a tremendous number of target customer or target audience assessments that can be performed using the step-by-step approach outlined in this guide.


Conducting the Best Target Audience Analysis

Click below to be taken directly to the type of target group analysis you are interested in.

Target Audience Examples and Samples

A gender-based group discussing their target audience research


What is a Target Audience Analysis

An audience analysis is a process of assessing a target audience for the purpose of engaging with that audience and fulfilling key objectives, goals, and mandates.

This process really involves understanding the intricate details of the particular audience (What, who, when, how, and why). For example: Where are they located? What attributes do they have that will allow you to segment them into specific buckets? What do they do? What impacts them? What group or groups do they belong to? etc.


Target Audience Definition

What is the official definition of a target audience?

A target audience is any group of people or entities that you plan to engage with to provide a service, product, idea, or operations to. It involves an internal target audience of employees and managers, as well as an external audience that includes customers, vendors, suppliers, and 3rd parties.


Internal Target Audience Analysis


Internal target audience research involves analyzing internal employees and managers of your organization.

Conducting an audience assessment for a project, program, HR, operational, transformational change, or for a business initiative allows you to identify the employees, managers, departments, divisions, customers, 3rd parties (suppliers, vendors, etc.) that will be impacted by this change or directional shift. 

  • For projects, these individuals, often referred to as “impacted users,” will be your targeted audience for your project management or change management communications, engagement, training, readiness support, go-live, and post go-live change reinforcement activities.
  • For non-project initiatives – for example, the HR or CEO department wanting to assess specific divisions for any number of reasons – the people or groups within those divisions will be the targeted audience. 

Below are the steps for conducting an internal-based audience review.

Step 1: Get a Comprehensive Dataset of Employees and Managers

The first step in the internal audience assessment process is to work with your organization’s HR, IT, Operations, or the relevant department to get a data dump/list/CSV/Excel download of all employees working for the company. This list will be referred to as the “Comprehensive Employee and Manager List”

This comprehensive list can then be used again and again as your universe of potential audience for a wide range of projects, over a long period of time. On a regular basis, make sure to refresh this list.

If a comprehensive list is not feasible for legal, control, priority, practical, or technical reasons then you should aim to gather the bare minimum list of employees and managers who are expected to be impacted as well as those that could potentially be impacted – referred to as the “Universal List of Impacted Employees & Managers”.

This data will be a key component of your audience analysis process and will be used extensively during step three of the internal target audience analysis process. 

It is essential that you get the complete data of potential employees, managers, and other parties. You might need to go through an approval process by HR or the corporate department managing this information. 

If your assessment involves demographics, market, industry, social or other target audience, then you should ensure that you have access to a best-in-class provider of data, research, and analysis database that has a comprehensive list of everyone or group that could possibly be part of your target audience.

When you get the data-dump of data, ensure the below:

  • The data should include a field or column that contains an identifying number (i.e., employee ID). As an alternative, most practitioners use employee emails as a unique identifier for each person.
  • Note that this data dump must be kept highly confidential and only shared on a “need-to-know” basis.

Enter key pieces of employee information into a template. You can create this target audience template by yourself from scratch using the information presented on this page. In addition, you can review and leverage Airiodion Global Services’ Audience Assessment & Management Tool which includes a streamlined, industry-standard internal audience assessment template with predefined fields and columns.

Target Audience Analysis Template

AGS Target Audience Software Application

Step 2: Identify Impacted Groups, Job Roles & Functions

The next step (which can be done in parallel to Step 1, or even before Step 1, if needed) is to understand which groups, job titles, and job roles will be impacted by the business or organizational change.

Step #2 is when you gather job functions, roles, and titles that will be impacted. Step 3, below, is when you identify the specific individuals that have the job functions, roles, and titles that are impacted. 

To find the job roles, functions, and groups that will be impacted, complete this checklist:

  • Meet with project managers, stakeholders, project resources, subject matter experts (SMEs), and any other resource to identify which groups and job roles will be impacted by the change
  • Review project documents (charter, scope documents, functional decomposition) to identify groups and job roles that will be impacted
  • Review the Change Impact Assessment that has been completed or is in the process of being completed to identify impacted groups and job roles
  • For system, software, or technology solution implementations, request the list(s) of system users from the system owners or from IT. Use this list as your initial indication of target audiences  

Step 3: Identify Specific Employees and Managers

As mentioned above, Step #2 is when you gather information on any job function, role, division, department, or group that will be impacted. Step 3, is when you identify the specific individuals that are part of that division, department, or group. As well as those that have the job functions, roles, and titles that are impacted.

When you send communications, do training, or perform other engagements, you don’t provide these to job titles, or roles, or departments, rather you provide these to the people that have these job titles or job roles, or who are part of these departments.

As such, you need to identify the people. What are their names? Emails? Contact details? etc. To do this, you need to cross-reference the list of impacted functions with the names of people that fall under the impacted functions. 

Review your “Comprehensive Employee and Manager” or “Universal List of Impacted Employees & Managers” lists – gathered during Step 1. Find the individuals that fall under the buckets above, and then add these individuals to your audience analysis template.

For example, the sample employees in the illustrative image below are all part of the Accounting department that will be impacted by a change, and so these are the people that need to be entered into the audience analysis template for further review and assessment.

Employee-and-Manager-List-Target-Group-Analysis

Quick Q&A:

  • Question: Can’t I just use the same comprehensive or universal list for my target audience analysis? Why do I need separate files?
  • Answer: Sure you can use the same comprehensive or universal file for all aspects of your assessment. But then you’ll need to constantly be filtering out the non impacted employees and managers. To cut down on the noise, it’s much better to just copy and paste the information you need into a separate “target audience analysis template” document.

Here is another target audience example.

In this example (see screenshot below), any individual with an Engineering Manager title or job role was expected to be impacted by a change.

As such, you will need to review your “Comprehensive Employee and Manager” or “Universal List of Impacted Employees & Managers” lists and then copy these individuals’ information, and paste that information to your target audience assessment template.

Audience Analysis Examples and Samples - AGS

And here is one last example. 

In this example below, all users within the US are expected to be impacted by a change, and so you’ll need to copy the details of all these individuals and paste this information onto your audience assessment template.

Target Audience Demographics - Geographic List and Segmentation

You can copy and enter all of the information referenced above into the AGS Audience Analysis Template Database. An Audience Analysis Template Database is a well-defined spreadsheet that you can use to capture, analyze, and manage your project’s targeted audience. You can also use your firm’s preferred software or tool of choice.

Click below to obtain an Audience Analysis & Management Database Template. As an alternative, you can create this template by yourself from scratch, if needed.

TARGET AUDIENCE ANALYSIS & ENGAGEMENT MANAGEMENT TOOL-min

Step 4: Validate the Audience Analysis Data

 Next, complete the below tasks:

  • Validate your gathered target audience information with Project Team members (Business Analysts, Program Managers, Program Managers, SMEs, Sponsors, Business Unit Managers, and other program resources) to ensure that you have gathered the right level of details.
  • Use your targeted audience lists to plan out your communications, engagement events, and training plans.
  • Share the lists with your program’s Change Champion Network and others who can help cascade communications.

Plan to revisit and refine the audience analysis periodically as the project progresses and more information is discovered and further defined.

audience analysis - organizational change management

Let us know if you have any questions: Contact AGS (Airiodion Global Services).


External Audience – Target Customer Analysis


Identifying and understanding your external target audience groups guides the process for marketing your brand, products, services, and operations in the most cost-effective and efficient way that ensures the best return on investment (ROI). So, how do you get started?

Your Objectives Will Drive the Type of Audience Assessment That You Conduct

There is a wide range of different types of audience analysis that can be conducted, and your objectives for wanting to understand this audience will drive the scale, type, and level of your assessment.

For example, if you are part of a government, non-profit, or social program, then you will be assessing specific demographics to better understand segments within these demographics to ensure that the government or social program is implemented appropriately to the right groups.

If you are a small-mid sized business or large organization, you will be assessing existing or potential consumers from a sales, marketing, advertising, or outreach perspective.

If you are an SEO/SEM/Social Media Specialist, advertising firm, marketing specialist, content provider, online specialist, or consultancy, you will be conducting your audience analysis from a wide range of reasons (promotions, increasing user engagement, targeting the right groups for advertising or marketing, increasing traffic to a site or platform by targeting the right audience, and many more). 

Irrespective of the type of audience analysis that you are performing, this section of the guide will walk you through best practices, samples, and steps for conducting your target audience segmentation and assessment.

Click below to be taken directly to the type of external target group analysis you are interested in or scroll down to read through them all.

Let us know if you have any questions: Contact AGS (Airiodion Global Services).


Advertising or Marketing Organization – Conducting a Target Audience Analysis for Client Audiences

Advertising and marketing companies are looking in-depth into multiple different audience types and then segmenting them to meet a variety of client needs. They need to be experts on audience analysis if they want to see their clients’ campaigns succeed.

These organizations use vast data sets of a variety of attributes, more so than companies who are simply looking for their own target audiences. This is because advertising and marketing firms work with clients from all walks of life and need to already have an idea of which audience types may match their needs.

Marketing and advertising firms will look at things beyond just basic demographics (age, gender, location, etc.), and go further into the audience segment, looking at things like psychographic attributes (values, opinions, beliefs), behaviors, interests, and activities. 

Below are the steps that an advertising or marketing organization should take when conducting a target audience analysis for clients.

Step 1: Conduct In-Depth Interview with Client

The first step in the process of doing a target audience assessment for a marketing and advertising firm will be to gather the necessary data from the client to identify which types of audiences might fit that client’s products and services.

This is best conducted using a two-pronged approach:

  • Questionnaire: First, send a questionnaire with detailed questions about products, services, pricing, market, sales goals, product attributes, etc. to the client so their team can fill out the information and return it back to you.
  • Meeting: Second, meet in person or via video call with the client and the client’s team (sales, marketing, R&D, etc.) to discuss the client’s questionnaire and gather any other additional information that will help narrow down potential target groups.

Step 2: Identify Potential Audiences

Next, you should review the data provided by the client about their products or services through the questionnaire and the follow-up meeting to identify potential target groups to research further. In this step, you want to cast a wide net to identify as many potential target audience groups as possible, even if they’re considered “long shots.”

Additionally, you will identify potential audience groups by reviewing other data available on the market, website activities of customers, and online trends, using tools such as:

  • Industry reports
  • Website/social media analytics & tracking
  • Keyword search trend reports (on sites like Google Trends)
  • Reviewing competitor websites

You can think of this as the top of your audience assessment funnel. During Step 4, you’ll be researching to refine your list, so what ends up coming out of the funnel will be fewer target audiences than you initially identified in this step.

Why identify even the long shots? Because you have a better chance at finding niche audience groups that might not be as obvious but may prove to be very beneficial because your client’s competitors aren’t marketing to them.

The goal in this step is to come up with as many potential audiences that may want to buy the client’s products or services as possible.

For example, if the client sells high-end, hand-crafted steamer trunks and custom luggage, some potential target audiences you might identify could be:

  • Executives/CEOs
  • Individuals/families with income over $300,000/year
  • Airline crew members
  • Cruise lines (as a reseller)
  • “Snowbirds” that winter in South Florida
  • Celebrities
  • Museums (long shot, but high-end trunks may be perfect for safely shipping museum pieces)

Step 3: Enter Potential Audiences Into Assessment Template

When researching the potential audiences you identified in Step 2, you’re going to need a  place to enter your findings and aggregate them into comprehensive analytics that makes sense to your customer. For example, you don’t want to just tell a customer, “Museums are going to be a great niche market for your steamer trunks,” you want to be able to back that up with some reporting. Such as showing that Museums spend X amount on specialty shipping containers per year.

This type of data analysis requires an assessment template. You can use the AGS Audience Analysis Template Database or you can create your own spreadsheet from scratch to use for your audience assessment. You’ll want to create columns for multiple demographics that you’ll be looking at.

For this assessment you’ll be looking at groups as a whole, so come up with easy-to-understand names for your potential audience groups that are descriptive, but not too long. You can use something like, “Corporate Executives, Male” and “S. Florida Snowbirds Over 60.”

Example of the AGS External Audience Assessment Template

External Audience Assessment Template

Step 4: Research Potential Audiences

Next, you’ll research your potential target audiences to see if they do in fact match up with the products or services offered by your client. Research by marketing and advertising firms is typically conducted in a few different ways to gather the most insights possible about each customer segment.

Target audience research methods include:

  • Market surveys and interviews (You’ll often see these being conducted in shopping malls or online)
  • Use of existing data and market analysis
  • Focus groups
  • Direct behavior observation
  • Competitor analysis
  • Digital tools (such as Google’s In-Market Audience Targeting)

What data are you looking for?

This can vary according to your client and their needs, but it will be a combination of demographic and psychographic information. Here are some of the standard differentiators that help define different audience types:

Demographic:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Income level
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Level of education
  • Occupation
  • Buying statistics
  • # of children
  • Skills

Psychographic:

  • Interests/hobbies
  • Behaviors
  • Values
  • Opinions
  • Religion/beliefs
  • Lifestyle/health
  • Priorities
  • Pain points/frustrations

Example of some of the psychographic details gathered in AGS’ External Audience Assessment Toolkit

Inputting target audience group psychographics

When going through this data-gathering phase, you want to pay close attention to consumer buying statistics and behavior as it relates to the product/services offered by your client. This type of data is perfect to use in comprehensive charts and graphs that you include with each audience profile.

Step 5: Create Profiles for the Best Target Audience Groups

Now, you’ll be reviewing the data you’ve gathered to identify the best target audience groups for your clients and creating profiles for each. Some potential audiences that you initially identified might not pan out when you look at their data and buying behaviors. Other audiences may be a better fit than you initially thought.

During this process, you’ll be comparing audience groups to see which are the most viable. You may decide that some are not worth creating full marketing campaigns to address. This process will also help you find the highest priority audience groups that look to be the most fruitful, and which should be given more time, money, and attention in marketing campaigns.

You’ll be analyzing all the data collected in Step 4, cross-referencing with the products or services your client sells, and then coming up with detailed profiles of each target audience type in your final report to the client.

Some of the details you’ll want to include in your target audience profiles report are:

  • Name for each target audience
  • Detailed demographic information 
  • Detailed psychographic information
  • Information on buying behavior related to client’s products/services
  • Analysis of why this is a good target audience
  • Purchase statistics (graphs, charts) 
  • The target audience’s pain points that are solved by the client’s product/service
  • Suggestions for marketing keywords/key phrases to use to engage this audience

If you’ve used a spreadsheet audience assessment template or a Target Audience Analysis Software, outputting the data needed for each target audience profile can be done easily. With the right analytics set up, you can have much of the report content at the click of a button.

External Target Audience Assessment

Target Customer Analysis for External Audience

Let us know if you have any questions: Contact AGS (Airiodion Global Services).


Small, Mid-sized, or Large Organization – Conducting a Target Audience Analysis for Your Audience

Whether you have a small business, are in charge of marketing for a large multinational corporation, or somewhere in between the two, it’s important to understand the target audiences for your organization’s products or services.

It’s also vital to conduct ongoing target audience analysis because these audiences may change over time due to internal or external factors.

If you don’t regularly assess for the continued marketability of your current target audiences and look for new ones, your business could easily stagnate and lose sales because you can easily miss an important change in audience behavior.

Target audiences can change due to changes in the economy, new policies, trends, or other factors.

It’s important to know as much as possible about your company’s target audiences to inform your marketing and sales channels and effectively serve existing clients.

Following, are the steps to conducting a target audience assessment for your small, mid-sized, or large organization.

Step 1: Define the Problems Your Product/Service Solves

First, you want to define the problems that your product or service solves. You want to look at this from a customer perspective because that’s how a potential buyer will judge your offerings.

For example, rather than listing out product benefits, list out product SOLUTIONS. Here is the difference for a home cleaning service to give you an idea of the perspective you’re looking for:

  • Benefit: We’re open late and on weekends.
  • Solution: Get help when you need it, even late nights and weekends. 
  • Benefit: Housekeepers have background checks.
  • Solution: You don’t have to worry about security, housekeeper background checks are mandatory.

By defining your products and services by problem/solution, you can more easily drill down into your target audiences. For instance, who may need late-night housekeeping? Shift workers. Who may be worried about security? Seniors that are home by themselves.

You can see how defining the problem that your offerings solve can create a direct path to defining your potential target audience groups.

Step 2: Determine the Data Points You’re Going to Gather

Next, you’ll want to define what information is important when defining your target customers. If you don’t begin with some type of structure, then you can end up without a clear profile when it comes to your audience types.

It helps to use a tool designed for assessing target audiences, such as the AGS Audience Analysis Template Database. This provides you with pre-designated attributes that you can gather to better define your audiences and what’s important to them.

You want to gather three types of data:

  • Demographic information (age, gender, location, occupation, etc.)
  • Psychographic information (values, beliefs, behaviors, priorities)
  • Quantitative data on buying behavior (sourced online or through your own sales)

If you’re using an audience assessment analysis template, you can simply use a group of columns for each of the three types of information above, each containing sub-columns for the various attributes in each section that you want to capture. By using a spreadsheet format to input your data, you will then have the ability to create meaningful analytics, such as bar charts, that correlate buying behavior with other audience attributes.

Step 3: Analyze Your Current Customers 

If you have an existing business and have already been selling products or services, then you can gain valuable insights by analyzing your current customers. You want to break down your sales according to the types of audience attributes mentioned in Step 2, so you can determine audience profiles based upon who is already purchasing from you.

For example, if you sell men’s razors, you might assume that any women that buy your razors are purchasing them for a man.

However, if you survey your customers and ask if they’re purchasing for themselves or others, you may come to find out that women appreciate your razor’s performance and are actually buying your product for themselves. You’ve uncovered an audience type that you never knew you had.

This knowledge can then inform your marketing campaigns to target more of that target audience, who has been finding your products on their own.

In addition to the standard demographic and psychographic information that you’ve identified to gather, look at things like:

  • How often do certain customer types purchase?
  • Where customers prefer to buy (in person, online)?
  • What landing pages are driving customers more frequently to the shopping cart?
  • What referral methods drive sales (Facebook, Google Ads, Guest Blog, etc.)?
  • What are their buying motivations?

There are a few different ways you can analyze your current customers for an audience assessment:

  • Surveys: Sending market surveys to your customers helps you gain a better understanding of who is attracted to the solution that your products/services provide.
  • Form Questions: By adding one or two questions to your website forms, you can better categorize your visitors and buyers into audiences. For example, offering a choice for “how you found us” or “occupation.”
  • Website Analytics: Using tools like Google Analytics, you can learn what keywords purchasers are using to get to your site, their location, and other demographic information.
  • Hot Maps: Hot maps are a website tracking tool that maps out scrolling and clicking patterns. Using a hot map, you can determine things like which call-to-action message is motivating which audiences.

What questions should you include in a customer market survey? There are multiple survey templates out there that can help you assess target customer types. Some are designed to determine brand awareness and others are simply demographic in nature.

AGS includes a sample Customer Market Survey questionnaire that you can use and send to your own customers in our Audience Analysis Template Toolkit.

Illustration: Consumer Market Survey for surveying your consumer market

Customer Market Suvery - Markting Audience Asssessment

Market Survey – Duplicate and use it as your own – Target Assessment Tool.

As you gather the survey answers and other data from your customer analysis, enter these into your Audience Analysis Database or spreadsheet. This allows you to define customer personas by capturing this data in a structured framework and you can then more easily analyze it to prioritize audiences according to buying potential.

Step 4: Research Competitors In Your Market

Next, you’ll want to do some competitor research to identify any potential target customer audience groups you may have missed. Your competitors may already be selling to a niche market that you haven’t yet identified.

Identify your top 3 to 4 competitors and then thoroughly research their website to see what audiences they’re targeting. You can often identify this in “industries we serve” menu options and similar.

You can also find important information on a competitor’s target audiences by reviewing their social media posts and using keyword search tools that allow you to view the keywords a competitor is using on their website. 

For each potential target audience you uncover through your market research, enter them into your Audience Assessment Template Tool or spreadsheet along with the ones you’ve identified from Step 3. Use the same list of data points that you identified in Step 2 to assess these audience groups.

Collecting the same data points for each potential target audience allows you to keep a consistent profile for each audience type and it makes it easier to compare one audience type to another.

Step 5: Create Profiles for Your Target Audiences

Now, based upon the research you’ve done to identify the problems that your products/services solve, analysis of potential audiences from current customers, and doing competitive analysis, you should be able to define your target audiences.

If you’ve been putting this information into a Target Audience Analysis Tool or spreadsheet up to this point, then most of the work will be done for you, and you’ll just need to analyze the data.

As a reminder, you’re defining your customer audience profiles based upon:

  • Problems that your products/services solve and who has that problem
  • Customers who are buying your products/services already
  • Website visitors/leads, those that show interest in your solutions
  • Audience groups that your competitors market to

Having analytics that can show you different audiences and sales statistics side-by-side in a pie chart or bar graph can be a big help when it comes to identifying which target audience groups are most profitable and how you should prioritize them in your marketing.

Target Audience Profile Example

Example of Audience Profile from a Target Audience Assessment

For each target audience group, put together an Audience Profile that will describe the audience, their buying behaviors, opinions, demographics, and the other data that you’ve collected.

Step 6: Test & Refine Audiences 

Once you begin marketing to the target audiences that you’ve identified, continue to refine them and collect data.

You may find that one audience, such as Seniors between 65-85, is a good audience, but can be refined further for better marketing response if you split it into two audiences, one married and the other single.

You may also discover that a target group isn’t as profitable as you initially thought, in which case you may want to use fewer marketing resources for them.

Continuous testing and refining of your audiences will ensure that you’re continuing to speak to audience pain points and are improving your audience communications.

Let us know if you have any questions: Contact AGS (Airiodion Global Services).


Government, Non-Profit or Social Organizations – Conducting a Target Audience Analysis for Your Audience

Audience analysis is done by governments, non-profits, and social organizations for the purpose of identifying key audiences for social programs or for policy/program messaging and communications.

For example, organizers of a new social program offering free laptops for those in need in a certain underserved area, might not know who would be most helped by the technology. Doing a target audience analysis might uncover several potential groups, including:

  • Elementary-aged children
  • Small business owners/entrepreneurs
  • Women leaving abusive relationships and entering the workforce

This information allows an organization to shape its social program to best meet the needs of the community.

A target audience assessment may be used by governments or non-profits to understand how to communicate a new policy to a group in a way that would have the best awareness and encourage the desired behaviors or response. This is often referred to as a target audience analysis for social and behavior change communication (SBCC). 

For example, if there were a new policy that allowed small businesses to get interest-free loans if employing local residents, how does that message get out and to whom?

Identifying potential audiences can guide the organization in communication efforts to determine where target audiences receive news and information (social media, local community group, etc.).

Following, are the steps for conducting a target audience assessment for government, non-profit, or social organizations.

Step 1: Identify Potential Target Audiences

Based upon the policy or program that is being developed or needs to be communicated, you’ll want to identify potential target audiences. These will be groups that are impacted by the program/policy, both directly and indirectly.

The goal is to cast a wide net of any potential audience, so you can then look at the impact and demographic factors to further narrow down the list of those most impacted and also identify the primary audience.

To identify potential target audiences for a program or policy, ask the following questions:

  • Which groups are being impacted by this policy/program?
  • Which groups can impact the outcome/goal of the policy/program?
  • Which groups have asked questions about the content of this policy/program?
  • Which groups is this policy/program intended to help?
  • Which groups are connected to those the policy/program is designed to help?

Once you’ve identified potential target audiences, it is helpful to name the groups (i.e. “Young mothers aged 24 and under”, “Medical worker volunteers”, etc.) and enter these into a Target Audience Analysis Tool or spreadsheet. This will then give you a place to input demographic, psychographic, and other information about each audience to further define them.

Step 2: Select the Priority Audience

You’ll most likely have several potential target audiences that are going to be impacted in some way by the policy or program. In order to concentrate your communication efforts for the most benefit, you’ll next need to identify the primary audience.

This will be your most important audience to communicate to. This doesn’t mean you won’t still communicate with other target audiences, but the priority audience will be where you put most of your resources.

When choosing which target audience is the most important, you’re going to look at three main factors:

  • Who is most impacted by this policy/project?
  • Who can most impact the goal of the policy/project?
  • How many people are in the target audience?

Someone that is most impacted by a policy change or a project may not end up being the priority audience if there is another group that has more impact on the goal of the project.

For example, if you have a social program that is distributing mosquito nets to fight against malaria, you could have three target audiences:

  1. Families in unprotected living conditions that nets are designed to help
  2. Healthcare workers needed to help distribute the nets
  3. Local government needed to facilitate the net shipments

Audience 1 may be the one most impacted by the planned project to distribute nets, but they have a low ability to impact the project.

Audience 2 is moderately impacted, where it may not directly impact their own living conditions, but will mean fewer patients to treat for malaria. Plus Audience 2 has a high ability to impact the project since they will be the main distributor for the nets and have the most influence on Audience 1.

Audience 3 has a low benefit from the project and a mid-level ability to impact the project. Their help will facilitate distribution, but it can be accomplished in other ways as well.

Social Audience Impact Assessment Example

Example of Analysis in Target Audience Analysis Tool 

So in this analysis, Audience 2 would be the priority audience due to both the benefit received from the program and their ability to impact the program.

When you have two audiences that have similar benefits received and impact on a policy or project, you can use the audience size to gauge the priority audience, with the larger audience having a higher priority.

Step 3: Document Audience Demographic/Psychographic Information

Next, you’re going to be gathering details for each target audience, with a focus on your priority audience, to facilitate your communications. First, you’ll want to document the demographic and psychographic information for each audience.

Demographics will include things like age, location, household size, etc. and psychographic will include behavior, habits, values, etc. By gathering and documenting this information, you’ll be better able to decide on the most effective communication channels for your audiences.

It’s important to know the best ways, locations, and methods with which to communicate policy or program information to your target audiences so you can improve the outcome of your intended project.

You can use the following methods to gather demographic, psychographic, and communication channel information:

  • Observation
  • Interviews/surveys of audience
  • Interviews/surveys of a connected audience (such as teachers for audience information on students)
  • Social assessment surveys that have previously documented this audience type
  • Online/offline research on the audience group

The types of data you collect can differ according to your policy or project. However, there is typically some standard demographic and psychographic information that is collected regardless of the project.

It’s important to have a place to enter this data next to your audience group, so you can use it to create a profile at the end of the process. You can use a spreadsheet that you create yourself, or use AGS’ Target Audience Analysis Tool to collect your data and see meaningful analytics.

Suggested demographic data to collect:

  • Gender
  • Age range
  • Household size
  • Income level
  • Ethnicity
  • Occupation
  • Religion
  • Education level
  • Geographic location

Suggested psychographic data to collect:

  • Values
  • Interests/hobbies
  • Attitudes
  • Personality traits
  • Lifestyle
  • Needs/concerns
  • Hopes/aspirations

Step 4: Identify Ideational Factors (Facilitators/Barriers)

One of the main reasons a target audience impact assessment for a government, non-profit, or social program or policy is done is to tailor facets of the program to the audience to facilitate the best outcome. Factors can include communications, service availability, scope, and more.

To facilitate the outcome you want, you need to identify ideational facilitators and barriers for each audience. These can typically be grouped by four factors:

  • Awareness: Does your priority audience have a clear awareness of your program/policy? Are there barriers to their awareness?
  • Acceptability: Are the values and beliefs of a group going to impact how they accept your program/policy? How you can use these beliefs in your favor to make your solution more acceptable?
  • Accessibility: Does using your solution have accessibility barriers (i.e. too far to travel to get the offered service)? Is the program service available when it’s convenient to your target audiences?
  • Affordability: What is the cost in money, travel, time off work, etc. to take advantage of your program or solution? Is it reasonably affordable for the priority audience you’re trying to help?

Identifying facilitators and barriers for each target audience, and especially your priority audience, will help with proactive planning to overcome barriers and take advantage of facilitators so your project outcome can have a better chance of success.

Priority Audience Analysis for Social Program

Step 5: Identify Key Communication Opportunities

Another column that you should add to your analysis spreadsheet for target audience assessment for a social program or policy is for communication opportunities. If you are using AGS’ Audience Analysis Toolkit, then you’ll have this column available to use to enter the best ways to communicate your message to each identified audience.

Based upon the demographic and psychographic data you’ve collected on your target audiences, what are the best methods of communicating your message to them?

For each one, list all potential methods for communication. Some potential methods to include are:

  • Podcasts
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Local community organizations
  • Online live event
  • Health clinics
  • Schools
  • Influencer audiences

Step 6: Create Audience Profiles

Finally, your last step will be to gather all the data you’ve collected to create your audience profiles. Each profile should include the data collected in Steps 3 through 5 for those pertinent audiences you identified in Step 1. 

As a reminder, this will include:

  • Audience Name
  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Ideational Facilitators & Barriers
  • Best Communication Channels

Begin with your priority audience that you identified in Step 2, and then continue with other important impacted audiences. You may find that some of the initial audiences you identified in Step 1 are no longer targets based upon your collection of data during the process.

If you’ve used a spreadsheet or Target Audience Assessment Toolkit, you can easily export this data per each audience type and have it collated onto a Target Audience Profile labeled for each audience type.

If you decide to use the Target Audience Assessment Toolkit from AGS, one of the bonus features you’ll find inside is a PowerPoint template with 6 different audience profile templates that you can use to create target audience profile cards for presentations and other activities. 

Example of AGS Target Audience Profile Template for Social Projects.

Target Audience Profile Template

Let us know if you have any questions: Contact AGS (Airiodion Global Services).


SEO/SEM/Social Media Specialist, Content Producer, or Online Specialists  – Conducting a Target Audience Analysis for Your Audience

Target audience analysis for content creators, SEO/SEM specialists, social media marketers, and other online marketers involves identifying potential buyers for a product or service. It can also include identifying targeted receivers for a specific message, such as promoting a charity event. 

Beyond researching audience demographics and studying sales behaviors, this group looks intently at digital footprints, keywords, and online behaviors.

Living in the online marketing world, content/SEO/social media specialists are looking for ways to position a message to reach the right audiences when they’re connected to the internet. This is often where consumers go first to find and research products and services.

According to Google, 53% of U.S. shoppers say they always do research first before making a purchase.

If marketers have identified target audiences correctly, they can help their clients’ products and services be in the right place at the right time to reach a target audience. They do this by optimizing product/service outreach in search results, search ads, and creating engaging content that will drive leads and sales.

Following, are the steps that SEO/SEM/social media specialists and other online content marketers can take to do a target audience analysis.

Step 1: Learn About the Product/Service Being Marketed

If an SEO, social media, or other content provider specialist doesn’t learn enough about the product/service they’re marketing, it can be easy for them to miss potential target audiences. They may also miss the mark when it comes to the message for an audience and pertinent keywords to use for reaching that audience.

For example, if you are marketing a smart plug for a client, but don’t learn that the smart plug has integration with Slack, you could miss a vital marketing message that would help sell the product to remote workers using that cloud platform.

Before you jump right into searching through website analytics to identify target audiences, it’s important to connect with your client to learn as much as you can about the product/services you’re going to be creating content, keywords, social posts, or digital ad copy for.

This is best conducted using a two-pronged approach:

  • Questionnaire: First, send a questionnaire with detailed questions about products, services, pricing, market, sales goals, product attributes, etc. to the client so their team can fill out the information and return it back to you.
  • Meeting: Second, meet in person or via video call with the client and the client’s team (sales, marketing, R&D, etc.) to discuss the client’s questionnaire and gather any other additional information that will help narrow down potential target groups

This step will inform the rest of the process and ensure no important audience groups or messages are missed.

Step 2: Identify Known Audiences

When doing content marketing, SEO/SEM  marketing, and social media marketing, you are dealing with two different audience categories. These are:

  • Known audiences: Customers and those that have converted to a lead (You have details about them and know they want the product/service)
  • Unknown audiences: Groups that interact with the client online in some way, but that haven’t been defined (Website visitors, social media followers, people that search a certain keyword, etc.)

Begin by identifying audiences in the known audience category. These will include those that purchase the products/services already or those who have shown interest in the product by inquiring through chat, webform, phone call, or other methods.

To identify known audiences, you’ll need to collect information such as:

  • Sales statistics based upon buyer type
  • Survey details from the company (that you gathered in Step 1)
  • Lead/prospect information from the company’s CRM program 

It’s important to have a template where you can catalog the information that you collect, including the audience name and various information about the audience that you’ll use to fill out an audience profile. You can use AGS’ Target Audience Analysis Toolkit, which will make it easy to fill in all the necessary information about your target audiences. Or you can also create a spreadsheet template on your own and add all the necessary columns to hold your data.

Step 3: Identify Unknown Audiences

Now, you’ll identify unknown audiences. These will be people that have an interest in the client’s products or services based upon their digital footprint, either on search engines and social media services or by directly visiting the client’s website or social profiles.

This step involves extensive analytics analysis from multiple sources to find those unknown audiences and classify them. Luckily, there are several tools you can utilize that will provide you with visitor and demographic data you can use to identify these audiences.

Some of the collection methods you can use include:

  • Website Analytics:  Tools like Google Analytics provide extensive visitor information, including referring site, referring keyword, visitor demographics, location, and more to help you identify an audience type.
  • SEO/SEM Tools: Tools like SEMrush and Tiny Ranker allow you to identify which keywords a client site is ranking for, and more importantly, which keywords their competitors are having success with.
  • Social Media Followers: Analyze a client’s social media followers to uncover audience types. One tactic is to send out social surveys or ask questions in social posts designed to group followers into categories that are meaningful to your efforts.
  • Search Trend Tools: Google Trends and similar tools allow you to search on a keyword and gain insights into the popularity of that term in different regions.

SEO Target Audience Analysis

Google Trends can help online marketers know which geographic locations contain target audiences.

Once you’ve identified unknown audiences through your research, add these new target audiences to the spreadsheet or Target Audience Analysis Toolkit that you’re using alongside the known audiences that you identified in Step 2.

Step 4: Collect Demographic & Psychographic Information About Audiences

Next, you’ll begin collecting the data that you need to create audience profiles on each identified target audience. This information will include both demographic details and psychographic information.

Demographics are the basic facts about a target audience, such as their location, gender, and income level. Psychographics are more about feelings, behaviors, and values. Demographics help you target where to send a message and psychographics help you shape that message to better speak to your audience.

For example, if your client is selling high-end earbuds, a target audience might be college-educated, knowledge workers that are males between the ages of 25-55, in the U.S. Those demographics will help you target where your online advertising is aimed.

Knowing that the target group values high-quality and tends to care about their appearance more than other audiences (psychographics), can help you tailor online content to the audience. For example, you may mention how sleek the earbuds are, that they don’t detract from the appearance and that they’re made from quality materials.

Suggested demographic data to collect:

  • Gender
  • Age range
  • Household size
  • Income level
  • Buying statistics
  • Occupation
  • Number of children
  • Education level
  • Geographic location
  • Preferred social platforms

Suggested psychographic data to collect:

  • Values
  • Interests/hobbies
  • Social media platform use
  • Personality traits
  • Lifestyle
  • Pain points
  • Priorities
  • Preferred devices

Once you chose the demographic and psychographic details you’re going to collect, you’ll want to make columns for them in your spreadsheet next to each target audience that you input in Steps 2 and 3. Or if you are using a premade template for target audience analysis, you should have a choice of columns already there for you to use.

Fill in this data for each target audience.

Step 5: Develop a Keyword List for Each Audience

An additional step that target audience analysis for online, content, social media, and SEO/SEM marketing needs to include is to identify pertinent keywords for each audience. These are in addition to the general keywords that will be used for the product or service for all audiences.

For example, if you’re selling high-quality earbuds, then some of the general product keywords you’ll use for all audiences might be: earbuds, high-end earbuds, etc.

To further speak to your target audiences, you’ll want to come up with keywords that hit on their pain points and priorities, such as:

  • Young, male professionals, keywords: sleek earbuds, luxury earbuds
  • Seniors, keywords: easy to use earbuds, comfortable earbuds
  • Busy moms of young kids, keywords: waterproof earbuds, safe earbuds

Review the demographic and psychographic data that you’ve collected to identify a list of keywords you can use in digital content to target each audience group.

Enter these keywords into your spreadsheet or target audience analysis template, which will allow you to easily access them when needed for marketing activities and attach them to the appropriate target audience.

Step 6: Create Target Audience Profiles

Finally, you’ll use the information you’ve collected to put together target audience profiles. If you’ve put all your data into a Target Audience Assessment Template or spreadsheet, then you should be able to easily generate these audience profiles from that data.

Each target audience profile should include:

  • Audience name
  • Demographics of audience
  • Psychographics of audience
  • Audience keyword list

Being that these audience profiles are being used for online marketing and/or outreach, you may also want to call out in a special area of the profile the online behavior information, such as the preferred social media platforms of the target audience, which can inform social marketing.

It’s also helpful to include a chart for any pertinent buying behaviors related to the products, services, or messages of your client. For example, how much this audience group typically spends annually on personal technology like earbuds.

Create a profile for each target audience, which will then be used as a guide for all online outreach and marketing activities. This will power more customized, targeted, and engaging SEO/SEM, social media, and content marketing activities.

Target Audience Assessment Template

Audience Assessment Made Easy – AGS Target Audience Analysis Toolkit


Target Audience Analysis Toolkit

When conducting your target audience assessment, it is imperative that you use software, an audience analysis tool, or an audience analysis spreadsheet to document all the details that make up each target audience profile.

You can try to develop this type of sheet yourself for the specific type of audience analysis you need to do. Or you can use ready-made software that includes internal audience analysis and all four external audience analysis types that are mentioned in this guide.

The AGS Target Audience Analysis Tool includes several best-in-class audience assessment database templates, samples, a 360-degree analytics view of internal target audiences and external audience profiles, and much more that you can leverage to simplify and optimize your audience assessments.

Click below to purchase this tool and for instant access that will allow you to get started right away.

TARGET AUDIENCE ANALYSIS & ENGAGEMENT MANAGEMENT TOOL-min

AGS Target Audience Analysis Toolkit


Target Audience Analysis FAQs

How do you identify your target audience?

Identifying your target audiences involves reviewing current customers, looking at trends, doing a competitive analysis, and analyzing who is searching for your products and services. Steps include: Step 1: Define the Problems Your Product/Service Solves, Step 2: Determine the Data Points You're Going to Gather, Step 3: Analyze Your Current Customers, Step 4: Research Competitors In Your Market, Step 5: Create Profiles for Your Target Audiences, Step 6: Test & Refine Audiences,

What is included in Target Audience?

A target audience assessment will result in an audience profile being created for each group you've identified. The target audience profile will typically include: * Audience name * Demographics of audience * Psychographics of audience * Pain points/opportunities * Pertinent buying statistics

What does target audience mean?

A target audience is any group of people or entities that you plan to engage with to provide a service, product, idea, or operations to. It involves an internal target audience of employees and managers, as well as an external audience that includes customers, vendors, suppliers, and 3rd parties.

What is the primary target audience?

The primary target audience is the one that is most likely to purchase a product or service when compared to other target audiences. Knowing the primary target audience informs where a company spends marketing dollars. In the case of a government, non-profit, or social program target audience analysis, the primary or priority audience is the one that is impacted the most by a program or policy and that can also impact the goal of that program or policy. This will be the group that is given priority in audience communication targeting.


External image sources:

  • https://www.pexels.com/photo/group-of-people-watching-on-laptop-1595385/
  • https://www.pexels.com/photo/women-sitting-on-chairs-inside-a-room-3719037/
  • https://pixabay.com/photos/krakow-poland-krakow-poland-square-2746886/
  • https://unsplash.com/photos/k3QuwsnSbkk
  • https://www.pexels.com/photo/group-of-people-near-wall-2422290/


Authors: Ogbe Airiodion (Senior Change Management Lead) and Francesca Crolley (AGS Cloud Content Producer)
Content on Airiodion Global Services (AGS)'s Airiodion.com website is copyrighted. Questions? Contact Airiodion Global Services (AGS) .

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