Step To the Tune of Your Audience — Deep Demographic Profiling

No matter what the demographic research project, if we don’t walk away from it having increased knowledge of our audience, we’ve failed as marketers. True, much of the time thinking sideways plays to our advantage as we strive to reach past the obvious for a richer definition those audiences we target.

Let’s say we’re given the assignment of profiling a niche target audience with which we have little to no knowledge about to identify opportunities. It makes sense to ask:

  • What is the history of this niche audience?
  • Where online does this audience hang out?
  • What peripheral interests are shared among this group?
  • What types of offline publications are there?

Dubstep Demographic Research

Let’s examine an audience near and dear to me, the Dubstep community. Let’s take a close look into the world of Dubstep, the sub-genre of electronic music hailing from the U.K., and the community surrounding it. There are few key areas we will focus on identifying for this research project:

  • Websites
  • Record labels
  • Artists
  • Blogs
  • Forums
  • Radio stations
  • Magazines

Give Yourself a Brief History Lesson

First stop, Wikipedia. Whether you’re looking to gain a general understanding or are mining for surrounding topics, Wikipedia is almost always a fruitful and simple resource to tap. From this step we’re able to document a long list of artists, albums, and a magazine.

Dubstep Wikipedia Page

Cruise SERPs at a high level and document communities and popular sites along the way.

Dubstep SERPs

Mine related searches for other ideas.

Searches related to dubstep artists

Have a look at some of the more popular publications and dubstep communities in DoubleClick Ad Planner to get an idea of its popularity, as well as what other sites your audience frequents.

DoubleClick Ad Planner Profile

Then check out the DoubleClick statistics.

Traffic statistics

Audience Interests

Sites also visited

Hmm, as expected, I see some .uk’s in there. I wonder what those SERPs look like. The Firefox unpersonalized search plug-in used here is by Yoast, and installation is pretty simple.

Unpersonalized Search Plug-in

It would be nice if we could get a glimpse of true unpersonalized U.K. SERPs by cruising under a spoofed IP, but this still gives helpful results.

Check Those Backlinks

Further insight can be gained by analyzing backlinks of popular and relevant sites. Here I’ve accessed Yahoo Site Explorer through the Search Status plug-in.

Search Status Plug-in

Yahoo Site Explorer Backlinks

You may want to take a holistic approach and run through some additional backlink analysis tools.

Open Site Explorer:

Open Site Explorer

Majestic SEO:

Majestic SEO

Deep Dive Down the Rabbit Hole

Directories, in many instances, can be the key to getting a clear view of various publications, communities, stations, magazines, etc. Fortunately, it looks like somebody has done a lot of our work for us.

Dubstep Directory


Now we’re in the salt mines, documenting URLs and vetting them for quality and relevance. Taking it out as far as we can is a matter of reaching past the obvious to perhaps peripheral shared interests of our target audience.

Take, for example, our Dubstep community — the sub-genre is heavily urban and for many is reflected in the way they dress. Could there be clothing lines targeted toward this audience? I think so.


Does anybody show interest for DirtySmart on Facebook? Yup, and although the sample is small, these are the right 2,040 friends.

Estimated Reach Estimated Reach

Excel Dubstep Magazine URLs

We’ve dug deep for a more than cursory understanding of the history behind Dubstep, community hang out spots, shared audience interests, as well as offline publications.

Once documented, we’re left with extensive demographic research that could have several different applications. Although the process may be a strenuous one, this research will feed many facets of an online campaign, from content networks and straight up ad buys to Facebook paid ads and advising venues for engagement.

Join us for SES Toronto June 9-11, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency Toronto. The event will be packed with sessions covering topics such as PPC management, keyword research, SEO, social media, local, mobile, link building, duplicate content, multiple site issues, video optimization, site optimization, usability and more while offering high-level strategy, big picture, keynotes, an exhibit floor with companies that can help you grow your business, networking events, parties and more.

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