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In 2011, Coca-Cola was looking for a ‘truly disruptive idea’ that would help them connect with Australia’s young adults over the summer.
After listening to five agencies pitch concepts, they picked an idea that involved changing the traditional wrapping around the Coca-Cola bottle to say ‘Share a Coke with…’ and a popular name - inviting customers to share a Coke with someone they loved or had lost touch with.
Image: Share a Coke with a Friend with labels reading Kylie and Jason on two coke bottles. Ad image from shareacoke.com.au. Source:
on their hands, recalling the instinctual, childlike reaction to seeing their name on a Coke bottle. They got down to work, printing 150 of the country’s most popular names in Australia on Coke bottle labels - a first in the brand’s 130-year history.
“My reaction was childlike,” “I knew many others would have the same reaction.”
Lucie Austin, director of marketing for Coca-Cola South Pacific in 2011.
And their customers loved it too.
The summer of 2011 saw Coke selling over 250 million named bottles and cans in a nation of just under 23 million, making 2011 one of the most successful summers for the brand for sales and improving brand impressions of Coke.
Spurred by its initial success, the campaign also reached more than 70 countries. Coca-Cola became a means of expressing emotions in a playful, social way.
Share a Coke is an excellent case study to illustrate the benefits of detailed audience analysis.
How did Share a Coke work so well?
Coca-Cola’s research in Australia showed that teens and young adults felt that while the brand was ‘big and iconic,’ many felt it had become predictable and weren’t talking to them at eye level. Being able to relate to a brand was especially important in Australia, where people resonate with brands who can relate to them on the same level.
That’s how Share a Coke was born. Introducing first names on their packaging brought the brand to the same level as their fans.
Understanding your audience is not a new concept.
For businesses, every product development roadmap, marketing initiative, customer engagement messaging, or sales outreach effort starts with understanding the people you want to reach and then catering to your message accordingly.
Unpersonalized marketing is annoying, but personalized marketing drives fantastic business results. Your target audience expects personalized marketing. For instance, according to a 2021
, 45% of consumers say they’re likely to take their business elsewhere if brands cannot offer a personalized experience.
And one tool that can help you craft your next winning campaign is detailed audience analysis.
This step-by-step guide will cover the characteristics of audience analysis, how to do it effectively, and templates to help you along while crafting your next engagement message.
What is audience analysis?
Audience analysis is collecting structured information to help you understand the background and needs of your audience. Businesses use this process to get clarity on their current and potential customer or answer a research question tied to business goals to help them decide.
You’ll ask these questions to help you form a detailed picture of your target market throughout the process.
Who am I targeting, and what do they look like?
How does their immediate environment affect how they perceive my message?
How do they think and behave?
What challenges do they need to overcome?
What messaging will they resonate with?
How do they consume these messages?
Do they have any objections to my proposed solution? How can I overcome these objections?
Audience analysis may be helpful to some teams for strategy and execution.
Marketing and sales teams Audience templates help them craft a personalized message that resonates in their outreach and campaigns using the proper channels.
Customer-facing teams: Detailed analysis helps this group deliver support that’s more in touch with what their customers look for. Getting audience analysis right helps your
Product development and user experience teams: They rely on audience analysis to ensure they are designing a product that will be well-received and used by their target audience.
Business executives: Help with market analysis to support a go-to-market campaign or plot a company's strategic direction. It can also inform the overall direction of the business to ensure the business delivers what its current or potential customers want.
Public speakers: Preparing for a speech or panel session? Audience analysis helps cater your message to your audience.
Why is detailed audience analysis critical?
You’ll understand your target audience better.
If everyone is a priority, no one is a priority.
Audience analysis helps teams highlight what’s critical to their priority audience. It helps surface unmet needs and hidden motivations you may not find with a less thorough approach.
Like how Coca-Cola tailored its Share a Coke campaign to appeal to young adults and teenagers in Australia by bringing across a personal, relatable touch, crafting your messaging to speak to an audience of one brings vague messaging into focus.
Personalized approach to marketing and product development
The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) named
in the world in 2021, executives worldwide will expect these marketing dollars to deliver positive business results.
By knowing your potential audience (and spending the time to let the research guide your decisions), you can focus on the content and elements that matter. You’ll deliver initiatives that are of higher quality and more likely to give a positive ROI on your efforts, helping you justify your quarterly or yearly advertising ad spend budgets.
Three types of audience analysis categories:
How do you carry out a thorough audience analysis process?
There are three types of audience analysis techniques you can tap on:
Demographic analysis: Who your audience is
Psychographic analysis: How your audience regards your topic
Situational analysis: Environmental factors that may influence how your target audience perceives your message
Let’s go through each technique.
1. Demographic analysis
Demographics talk about the hard ‘facts.’ These include factors that we can statistically analyze. Use this method when you need to understand and plan for consumer product preferences based on broad quantitative population characteristics.
Age and gender: Gender affects predominant communication styles, personal experiences, and preferences, whereas age influences personal expenditure habits, the products categories they prefer, and how they shop. For example, older populations may spend less on nightlife, fast food, and apparel but more on household products, luxury goods, and leisure activities.
Location: Location factors into where your target audience lives. What’s the average cost of living? How does their living environment affect their habits and preferences? These questions help you think about location.
Financial health: Financial health affects an audience’s average purchasing power attitudes towards saving and spending and overall attitudes towards money, affecting how you price your product or communicate your product’s value to your target audience.
Education level: Educational levels relate to occupation. It reflects the type of information a demographic is exposed to or even its access to jobs.
Occupation: Occupations reflect an audience’s interests and where they may spend a significant chunk of their daily lives. It may also show personal values and interests. Each occupation has its jargon, specific references, and lifestyle characteristics, so be sure to factor these into your analysis.
Socio-economic level: Closely tied to occupation, financial health, and education, socio-economic groups relate to sensitive factors like class and what products a person may afford comfortably.
Tip: Context matters. Insensitive marketing and offensive messaging can damage your brand image. Be sensitive to your target audience profile. For example, messaging about luxury cars or high annual salaries would be insensitive to an audience who struggle to make payments on a second-hand car.
2. Psychographic analysis
The psychographic analysis focuses on your target audience's inner lives and is less tangible than the hard facts of demographic analysis.
Understanding your audience’s inner motivations and crafting messaging to communicate these internal motivations, fears and desires will give your message a higher chance of resonating.
Qualitative methods like interviews, focus groups, and directly speaking to your target audience can help uncover these factors.
Interests and hobbies: What activities does your target audience take part in? These determine what they deem necessary or what they’re willing to spend money on
Behaviors: Describes how someone acts. It relates to how they purchase, what products they use, and how often they buy a product.
Beliefs and values: Beliefs are statements your target audience holds true. In contrast, values are personal guiding principles (similar to a set of values) that drive our behavior, decision-making, and personality. These constructs influence your target audience's behavior, whether they know anything about your sector and what may cause them to purchase a product or participate in a campaign.
Lifestyle: Lifestyle relates to a person’s perception of how they spend their time or how they see themself within society. Demographical factors like occupation, social class, or financial habits may influence this.
Attitudes: A person’s beliefs and values influence attitudes. These determine how someone responds to a person (a singer or influential figure), object (owning a luxury handbag), behavior (attending group fitness classes), or concept (altruism or supporting a cause). Attitudes are stable but may change slowly.
Pain points: The challenges people are trying to overcome or solve. You can communicate how your brand, campaign, or product can address these challenges and pain points. Understanding your target audience's pain points and how they think is an essential part of audience analysis.
Needs: Fulfilling needs drive human motivation and desire to take action.
categorizes needs into five categories: physical, safety, love and belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization. Understanding which type your target audience desires and what they look for helps you craft a message that resonates.
Image: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: a 5-layered pyramid with physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization in order from the base. (
Situational audience analysis focuses on characteristics related to a specific situation that affects your audience’s state of mind, attention, and ability to absorb your message.
Audience size: How many people are you planning to reach? Consider the medium your message you are using to communicate your message and how your audience will encounter your message. For example, your statement for a billboard on a bustling New York City Times Square, seen by thousands of people, will differ from an opt-in email campaign sent directly to email inboxes.
Survey context: Why and how your audience encounters your message may affect how familiar they are with your industry, company, and offerings. Consider if there are any concerns the audience may have that affect how they perceive your message.
Interest level: Did your audience volunteer to receive your message, or are they required to be present to see your message? The answer may affect how much time you have to capture their attention and get your point across.
How to do audience analysis: A step-by-step audience analysis guide
We’ve outlined the 11 steps to conducting a thorough audience analysis:
Step 1: Define your research question and constraints
Step 2: Identify any conditions that may affect your research process
Step 3: Choose your audience analysis method
Step 4: Brainstorm and identify potential target audiences
Step 5: Identify characteristics of your priority audience
Step 6: Understand the audience’s expectations
Step 7: Determine topical awareness and the audience’s knowledge
Step 8: Understand barriers and facilitators that can influence customer behavior
Step 9: Identify influences in your niche that speak to your priority audience
Step 10: Find prime communication channels to reach your priority audience
Step 11: Test and refine your audience profiles
Step 1. Define your research question and constraints
Audience analysis can become as broad or as narrow as you want. New businesses can do a general overview to understand their target market, whereas more established companies can focus on specific questions.
Therefore, start with defining your objectives and scope of research as this sets the tone for the rest of your target audience analysis and guides you to what questions to ask next in your audience analysis method.
An ideal research question considers a clearly defined scope of research and what business goal you are trying to achieve through this research.
Step 2. Identify any constraints that may affect your research process
All audience analysis projects aren’t created equal, and knowing the limitations influencing your research process will help you deliver results more effectively.
Some typical constraints to get you started:
Talent and staffing
Step 3. Choose your audience analysis method
Next, pick your analysis and data collection method to perform your audience analysis. Depending on the data you’re looking for, you may need to test different methods or combine different ways to see which one is the most effective at answering the question you’re posing.
Some typical methods to do audience analysis:
Audience interviews and focus groups: Dive deep into your individual customers' pain points and desires in their own words. Perfect for uncovering psychographic data or finding out the language your target audience uses.
Surveys and questionnaires: These tried-and-tested methods are great for uncovering demographic data or finding challenges and pain points to narrow down your target audience or aid you in the
Online research: Crawling online review sites or forums to discover how people talk about your product category and express their challenges. Useful to find behavioral information or gaps in the market.
Using existing and secondary research: Reviewing external data can help complement your primary research methods to form a fuller picture of your target audience.
Web analytics and heat maps: Looking at your digital properties like Google Analytics or examining website analytics can tell you how people are already behaving on your site. You can also use Google Analytics to get demographic details about your visitors and information on their interests.
Audience analytics and social media listening tools: Can help uncover effective marketing channels and audience influencers, which will come in handy when defining your communication channels or marketing strategy.
Step 4. Brainstorm and identify potential target audiences
After the groundwork of the first three steps, it’s time to identify the group of people in the best position to answer your research question.
This step identifies all potential groups to help you achieve your research goals. Think of this as a brainstorming step where you consider all relevant audiences for your product or service, including what you already know about your
You’ll refine this list into clearly defined market segments in the next step.
Step 5. Identify characteristics of your priority audience
After identifying all potential target audiences, work to prioritize the essential ones. Use common traits to segment your audiences into smaller groups. You can use the demographic and psychographic characteristics identified above to create your segments.
Other traits to think about:
Communication channels your brand is active on, and whether your priority audiences actively use them
Shared interests within audience segments based on behavioral and psychographic data
Other communication opportunities like where they already spend time or activities they participate in
Step 6. Understand the audience’s expectations
Consider what your audience expects in return for their attention when listening to your message or reading your copy will help you tailor your news for maximum impact.
Three common audience expectations of any communications effort
Information: To learn something new
Persuasive: To be persuaded into action
Inspirational: To be inspired
Violating or not meeting these expectations may risk offending your audience and weakening your credibility.
Be wary, especially of messaging that may:
Insult a target group
Stereotype or discriminate against a group, especially along gender, age, racial, religious, or ethnic lines
Unintended references to triggering events
Have sexual or religious undertones
7. Determine topical awareness and audience’s knowledge
What does your audience already know about the product, service, or concept you’re talking about? How do they feel or think about it?
It’s easy to underestimate or overestimate an audience’s awareness of a topic. For example, your marketing messages will be less effective with technical jargon if you speak to an audience that isn’t well-versed in the specific terminology. Similarly, covering basic details for a professional audience may not work as well.
Consider reviewing the key terms and concepts you use in your messaging to ensure they are appropriate for the knowledge of your audience.
8. Understand barriers and facilitators that can influence customer behavior
Are there things that hinder or encourage your priority audience to take a desired action or become your customer? For example, if you’re in e-commerce, a potential customer may not complete their order as your checkout page loads too slowly or doesn’t have a return policy in place.
Use feedback from your customers, especially in focus groups or 1:1 interviews, to uncover these barriers and refine your digital experience or marketing strategy.
9. Identify influencers in your niche that speak to your priority audience
Influencer marketing is growing faster than ever before. It grew to
, driven by the rise of short-form video content platforms and social media consumption from the pandemic.
There’s a reason influencers in a specific niche or industry have become authoritative marketing channels on their own.
Their followers trust what they say about a brand.
They help their audience choose the right products and shape brand perceptions.
It’s worthwhile spending some time to find the right influencers that both align with your brand values and speak to your priority audience.
To find relevant influencers for your marketing campaigns, look at the content your priority audience engages with on social media. Shortlist influencers who align with your target audience’s interests and share common interests with your brand.
10. Find prime communication channels to reach your priority audience
Which communication channels are most appropriate for your business? Ideally, you’ll want to go to where your priority audience is, which affects how you decide to communicate your message and the overall strategy.
For example, if you want to reach a younger audience, live-streaming platforms like Twitch may be a good idea to consider as part of your marketing strategy. Or use a more relaxed tone on channels like Twitter for your social media content.
Tip: Consider focusing on a specific audience and diversifying your content to appeal to the strengths of each channel if your brand is active on multiple marketing channels
11. Test and refine your audience profiles
If you’ve followed all the previous steps, you should have a comprehensive picture of your priority audience. Your last step is to create a cohesive story of your priority audience and turn them into a buyer or customer persona.
A persona is an invented profile of a product’s typical customer. It’s used to inspire customer empathy and help product managers visualize key characteristics, emotional drivers, and pain points of a specific type of user. -
A persona document pulls together your previous research on behavioral and demographic data. It aims to create a fictionalized but accurate picture of a real person in your head to guide business decision-making.
page, you’ll see additional columns added to your target audiences table that you filled out in step 1. Clicking the icon in each of these columns allows you to write additional notes and attributes about your target audiences. You’ll see the bullet point templates in the
page, you get a full layout of each target audience based on all the research you’ve done.
Make your communication relevant with the unique insights from audience analysis.
Personalized communication is a must-have for brands who want to excel at communication.
With the unique insights from a detailed audience analysis project, you can get clarity on how the people you want to reach, think, feel, and behave to power any form of communication or strategic efforts for your business.
Feeling confident to put together your next audience analysis proposal?
If not, don’t worry!
Coda’s step-by-step audience analysis template and resources throughout this guide is here to help you structure guide your research and thinking process.
Now, go forward and add that extra spice to your communications!
Audience analysis template FAQs
When to conduct audience analysis?
Consider conducting audience analysis as you begin a new marketing or communications initiative. It can be done as part of a project scoping exercise or go-to-market campaign.
What are relevant use cases for audience analysis?
Marketing and sales teams can use audience analysis to help them craft a message that resonates while informing outreach strategy. Business executives and stakeholders tap on audience analysis to create go-to-market plans, business pivots, or product launches. Product development teams can tap on audience analysis to design new features or a prerequisite for planning a product roadmap.
Audience analysis is also relevant for public speaking and social and behavior change communication (SBCC).
What are the different types of audience analysis?
There are three types of audience analysis:
Demographic analysis: Who your audience is
Psychographic analysis: How your audience regards your topic
Situational analysis: Environmental factors that may influence how your target audience perceives your message
Which is the best type of audience analysis?
There is no single best type of audience analysis, as audience analysis usually involves multiple techniques, depending on the scope and depth of the research required.
How long does an audience analysis take?
Allocate about 3-4 weeks for audience analysis, factoring in time to gather responses and allocate resources, depending on the research question.
Coda is an all-in-one doc for your team’s unique processes — the rituals that help you succeed. Teams that use Coda get rid of hundreds of documents, spreadsheets, and even bespoke apps, to work quickly and clearly in one place. This template is a Coda doc. Click around to explore.