Building An Engaged Audience Through Research
by Lane Cochrane, on Jul 17, 2013
Over the last few years, as the volume, complexity, and utility of digital data has increased, the online research space has struggled to keep pace. Online research has focused on singular metrics or methods to try and solve multiple business challenges. Different objectives require different solutions. That’s why iperceptions has been working hard on developing solutions to meet specific business challenges.
Media and content sites are a great example. Customer feedback tools and research frameworks often provide an e-commerce approach trying to move customers towards a singular conversion, thinking more along the lines of a one to one relationship between product and customer. Audience sites renew engagement one visit at a time in a perpetual process to drive loyalty. And an engaged audience will drive the advertising business model.
Audience building is not restricted to media. Social platforms fuel the need for brands to build advocates aligned to the brand proposition. For brands, an engaged fan base will create the two step flow of influence marketing that will continue to build market equity.
Making a particular site ‘Top of Mind’ and increasing loyalty is an activity in constant renewal. Audience building sites strive for share of consumption from users whose behavior is based on life-stage, interests, and significant events. Audience building begins with segmentation of key personas and an understanding of the consumption patterns of each. Many times content that will reinforce engagement and loyalty is missed as the user tries to navigate a site unresponsive to their persona.
Traditional behavior measures of engagement are equally unsympathetic to understanding the user. In between time on site, page views and the ‘prize’ of return visits, are the attitudinal metrics that explain what kind of visit just happened, and how likely they are to visit again. Integrating traditional measures with measure of ’Relevance’, ‘Uniqueness’, ’Alignment’ and ‘Trust’ they would understand how well they are really doing. Tracking true user engagement provides a measure of the health of a site and its ability to sustain and grow its audience.
Choice is both a blessing and a curse for today’s audience. The competitive repetoire for content consumers is vast. Consumers will not make mutually exclusive choices like they may make in product selection - they will make adjustments in their allocation of time and interest based on what is delivered. Consumers want choice but will reward consistently relevant content in an effort to manage the choice. They will not easily give up a trusted site built on real user alignment. Understanding the repertoire and the strengths and weaknesses of each will help align content and activities to avoid audience leak.
Audience building begins with segmentation of the audience to optimize the critical experiences sought. It comprises a measure of audience health that includes the attitudinal metrics that lead to future visits. And it includes an understanding of the competitive repertoire of the consumer and what drives the choices being made. Most importantly, it integrates with behavior data to drive targeting and personalization strategies that make the data actionable and has become the expectation of the digital consumer.