Audience – the people who watch, read, or listen to something
— Source: Merriam-Webster
The dictionary’s first definition for an audience is:
“a group of people who gather together to listen to something (such as a concert) or watch something …”
But its second definition applies to you. And so I must ask, are you familiar with your audience?
When I ask authors whether they know who their audience is, I’m surprised when some of them reply, “everyone should read my book” or “everyone will like my book.”
Well, not exactly. If you write grammar manuals or cookbooks, you may be under the false impression that everyone needs your book. But everyone won’t buy it or even think that a grammar reference, dystopian novel, or low-fat cookbook would be worth its purchase price.
Similarly, not everyone enjoys romance, fantasy, crime noir, and fantasy novels or literary fiction.
Crime, mystery, and thriller books can be a hoot to read. But not everyone will read those genres let alone pick up a paperback or pay a buck to add one of those novels to an ereader. And, although there are plenty of older adults who enjoy young adult novels, the actual readership of those books is younger.
So I ask you: Who is your audience? Are your readers comprised of women between the ages of 30 and 45 or middle-grade readers or science fiction buffs? Michael Hyatt has said that his ideal audience is comprised of men who make at least $75,000 and are a certain age, which I can’t recall right now. But you get my point. He’s very specific in identifying and then targeting his audience.
When I started my still unpublished novel in 2000, an editor asked me whom my readers were. To be frank, I had no idea. Now I know who my readers would be: historical fiction aficionados and those who love to read about Spain or Spanish historical events. And I think my prospective readers will be primarily women over the age of 35. When I return to that manuscript, I’ll have those readers in mind as I finish it.
Whether you think you know whom your readers are, or if you have no idea who they might be, don’t worry. There’s a relatively easy way to verify readership. Let’s look at three options you can consider, although Facebook and Google Analytics are the best resources.
Insights: Facebook Analytics
Let’s start with Facebook’s Insights, which are only available to authors with a Facebook page.
Click Insights. You’ll find the link above your banner image. Clicking Insights will take you to your analytics. Next, click People in the left-hand menu. This is what will appear after your click People:
From this information, I now know that my Facebook fans – and very likely the people who read my books – are primarily women who are between the ages of 45 and 64.
This next graphic shows in descending order the countries my readers are from. I would suspect that most are from the United States, and they are.
As an aside, I use the above information whenever I create a Facebook ad. For example, I always select the United States for geographic region and the 45 – 64 age group. For testing, I separate men from women in my ad sets.
Let’s look at Twitter next.
To access your analytics on Twitter, go to this link in your search bar: https://analytics.twitter.com. Look at the top menu and click Audiences.
When you arrive at Audiences, make sure that you’ve selected Your Followers from the drop-down menu.
The wealth of information here will astound you. Here’s what you’ll find:
- Your audience’s interests
- Consumer buying habits
- Household incomes
- Net worth
By the way, even the information that appears superfluous can be helpful when purchasing advertising.
The big blue and white graph will detail your follower growth over the last three months.
The next menu to explore is this one:
The demographics tab is the one you’ll want to study. Some information is repeated from the initial overview so let’s look at what else is here.
- You’ll learn the predominant language of your followers.
- You’ll find your followers’ country where they currently reside.
- You’ll discover which region they live in. In my case, the number one region is England followed by California and then Texas.
What is useful is the gender information, which for me, matches my Facebook Insights’ data.
If you have a website with a self-hosted blog (versus using the blogging sites Blogger or WordPress.com), you need Google Analytics. Sure, the information at first may seem overwhelming, but this is a treasure trove of data. Today we’re only going to focus on a couple of items.
Let’s look at your website visitor demographics. Using the menu on the left, click Demographics. You’ll find this tab beneath Audience.
On the overview page, each of the left-hand sections in blue is hyperlinked and will reveal deeper levels of information. There are additional categories beneath the ones in the image below – such as browser and operating system – but today let’s narrow our approach. Immediately, you’ll see the languages that your website visitors speak. Demographics will appear like this:
When you click Age, you can see the data on a chart.
You can also see the age categories of your website visitors in descending order in this chart.
Also, you can view another graph, showing you on which days of a recent week people of different ages visited your website.
In the chart of ages above, the blue font is hyperlinked, and you can click each age category to uncover additional details about your readers, such as the number of sessions people in that age group enjoyed on your site and the genders of people in each age group.
Just looking through this narrow prism, what can I conclude now? Far more women than men visit my website and my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter. In addition, the age categories on Facebook match the age categories on Google Analytics, and they match the ages of people who hire me for social media management work and training.
Whether you are confident that you know your audience well or not, analytics are important to review. In the case of Twitter and Facebook, your analytics will measure your posts’ performance, growth of your account, and return on investment of your time on those networks. Google Analytics’ results should match your social media analytics, but even if they don’t, enjoy this collection of data.
One last tidbit: If you want to know which social media networks refer traffic to your website, go to Google Analytics, click Acquisition –> Social.
Will you use this information to determine who your audience is? Let us know in the comments.