Target Audience Profile: Critical for All Social Media Marketing Campaigns

Audience profiling is like building a persona but let me clarify. Many marketers go through a persona brainstorming exercise using qualitative insights and hope. First, they will create a document and include all the information they think applies to their target audience profile–demographic information like age, gender, location, income, interests, behavior, and attitudes. Then, they will spend hours trying to solidify and document their target market.

There isn’t any rigor or analysis used in the process. You can find and download a target audience profile template online, add your customer information and call it a day, but this is not the right way to build a buyer persona.

Don’t get me wrong. Target audience profiling requires qualitative analysis, research, and context, but it must be informed by analytics and social media data.

There is a clear distinction between a persona and an audience profile. Personas are built using audience research and include all the demographics listed above about a specific target market. An audience profile is created using data about a particular customer. I will get into more specifics with the audience profile example below. You can also get excellent insights from primary research.

But first, I started with a landscape analysis of blockchain and cybersecurity. Based on several parameters of measuring influence, I built an audience group of 600+ journalists, analysts, writers, authors, and columnists. This analysis can provide insights into an entire industry, informing customer marketing efforts and campaigns on all social media channels. Even the basic demographics can help inform targeted messaging, advertising, and market penetration.

What is an Audience Profile on Social Media?

Below is a target audience profile of Daniel Newman, a Principal Analyst of Futurum Research. The purpose of profiling audiences is to understand their interests, motivations, characteristics, and conversational patterns. While Daniel is only one person, his analytics can represent similar customer segments.

Audience Profile

What Information is Included in an Audience Profile?

Daniel’s target audience profile example only scratches the surface of the type of data included. Of course, basic demographics (age, gender, location) and psychographics (interests, behaviors) are always included in audience profiling, especially when analyzing the audience that follows Daniel on social media. In addition, profiling audiences’ media consumption is also a common data point included. This means we can determine which media outlets specific customers have an affinity for based on historical sharing patterns.

Daniels’s audience profile also shows a conversation analysis level over time. Over one year, you can see that his interest in blockchain has increased substantially. Conversational data shows what topics, trends, and stories are top of mind. Whether it’s just one person or a larger group of consumers, every audience profile should always have data like this. In addition, tracking podcasts, influencers, events, and affinities are common data points and should also be included.

Audience profiling for one individual does provide actionable insights for research and building an influencer marketing program. But there is a benefit from analyzing larger audiences as well. For example, you can see from the below data what industries the 600+ influencers are talking and writing about. But keep this in mind–this changes all the time and is dependent on several markets and business variables.

Audience Profile Example

Target audience profiling will also look at both the branded and unbranded conversation. The branded conversation explores what an audience is saying about specific companies in the industry. The unbranded conversation is “top of mind” for the audience regarding security.

Below you’ll see that 95% of their conversational volume is unbranded and represents an opportunity for brands to own the conversation. You’ll also notice which security companies are mentioned the most by the influencer group. Again, this is helpful for a share voice analysis.

Target Audience Profile

When building an audience profile, exploring the unbranded conversation in more detail is critical because this can uncover white space and be used for all marketing efforts.

The below data shows which security-related topics the audience is talking about the most, purely from a volume standpoint. Reviewing this data is valuable because you can use the trending topics when creating social posts, videos, bylines, blog posts, executive thought leadership, and brand messaging.

Audience Profile Sheet

A drill-down of the blockchain media conversation illustrates how important this topic has become over the last 12 months, specifically among target audience profiles. When Bitcoin started trading at over 11,000 dollars, the conversation skyrocketed.

This may seem like a lot of information. But building audience profiles like this one takes the guesswork out of marketing. It ensures that hope is no longer the strategy and that audience analysis is the infrastructure.

What Tools Can Be Used to Build an Audience Profile?

Several platforms on the market can help extract data to inform an audience profile. There are also free tools on the market that can be used, like primary research and studies by independent analysts and consulting groups.

Web Analytics: Analyzing website traffic and consumption can provide insight into what content is performing based on the specific audience profile. Google Analytics and Google Search Console are two free platforms that can be used in this type of analysis.

Social Media Analysis: Social media conversations and audience insights can be tracked using social listening platforms like Brandwatch and Pulsar Platform.

Audience Analysis: Building and analyzing different profiles on social media can be done with platforms like Audiense and Affinio.

Influencer Tracking: Identifying top influencers by industry or audience demographics can be done with platforms like Traackr or Onalytica.

Regardless of which platforms you use, building an audience profile informed by data will be critical to informing all marketing, advertising, and campaigns.


Can you build a complete audience profile?

Yes. It will involve analyzing social listening and influencer tracking platforms, primary research, and web analytics. It may also require some areas of competitive intelligence to see how the competition builds its audience profiles.

How often should brands do audience profiling?

Every 90-120 days. This ensures that you take advantage of competitive intelligence data to understand other influencers in the market. It also provides the market landscape has not changed dramatically, so it does not require an overhaul of all messaging, content, and strategy.

Do I have to do anything once the profile is created?

Yes. Once the profile is created, it should be used as a resource for understanding who your target audience is, what they care about, and where to find them online. It should also inform how you create content and messaging to meet the audience’s needs. Finally, it should be informed by data to understand why the audience is interested in the topic so that messaging can be adapted over time.

How long does customer profiling take?

Depending on your competitive intelligence, it could take anywhere between 5-7 days to build a strong audience profile. Then it’s up to you how often you want to update the customer profile (every 90-120 days is recommended).

Can I use profiling for other marketing campaigns besides content marketing?

Yes, you can use this for any digital marketing campaign that involves telling a story and engaging with the right audience.

Michael Brito

Michael Brito is a Digital OG. He’s been building brands online since Al Gore invented the Internet. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.