Social media “lurkers” – those that elect to silently digest social content rather than actively comment – leave a trail of behavioral data – follows, app, article, and web views. Their digital body language, so to speak, can be read, revealing the interests, affinities, attitudes, and lifestyle choices that connect and define niche audiences. 


If you are reading this, you are likely a Marketer or Insight or Analytics Professional. For a moment, take off your professional cap. First, be a regular human:

When at a party meeting new people, when do you share your age, race, religion, education level? Rarely at the first exchange. People don’t define themselves in demographic terms. Interests, rather than demographics, connect and motivate people.

Now, be a social media user:

How often are you commenting, tweeting, replying, etc.? If you are like most people, it’s infrequent. But, if you were to admit it, you probably spend a considerable chunk of time browsing social media and the web. 

This social browsing data can be collected and analyzed to determine the interests and affinities that motivate consumers. With Audience Intelligence, businesses can use these insights to build products, experiences, and messages that resonate deeply with consumers.

What is Audience Intelligence?

Audience Intelligence goes beyond what consumers say, collecting online behaviors like follows, connections, app usage, and article and web views. After structuring and segmenting this behavioral data, Audience Intelligence reveals and visualizes consumer groups’ unique interests – who they listen to, how they get their information, their brand affinities, lifestyle choices, preferences, and beliefs.

Offering a deeper consumer understanding, Audience Intelligence helps Brands pinpoint what makes their audience unique and connected. Brands use this information to deliver more meaningful messages and products across the channels that matter most.


What is Social Media Segmentation?

Audience Intelligence defines the tools and software that enable social media segmentation. A term coined by Forrester (more here), Social Media Segmentation groups consumers based on shared online or social behaviors and interests. According to Forrester, Social Media Segmentation includes three key elements :

  • First, it deals with consumers, not customers. 
  • Secondly and related, rather than 1st party data, social media segmentation data includes digital, social media. As an example, ‘the corpus of profiles; connections; social actions such as likes, shares, or faves.’
  • Lastly, the defining characteristics of these segments, or audiences, are NOT defined by demographic data. Instead, they are represented by the audience’s distinct behaviors, interests, and affinities.

What is Tribe Marketing?

For a while now, Marketers think about consumers in terms of tribes. The basic definition of tribes: “Tribes arise when consumers identify as a group based more on common collective behaviors, interests and lifestyle choice rather than demographics.” (Nikki Baird – Forbes)

Tribe Marketing is the process of identifying and segmenting consumers across shared passions and lifestyles, and building a brand, messaging, and product that reflects, empower, educate, and unify the behaviors and people within said tribes. 

In effect, ‘Tribe Marketing’ is the end-to-end process that includes audience intelligence, consumer segmentation, and, critically, the final step of creating tailored communications, experiences, and products.

To illustrate, consider the power of ‘Tribe Marketing’ with the following example from the above article:

“A great example of this is Tommy Bahama. It would be easy to represent the brand as an empty-nester corporate executive longing for Margaritaville. That’s built mostly on demographics. But for many years now, the brand has been promising the essence of “the beach life” – whether man or woman, corporate exec, or stay-at-home parent. If Tommy Bahama limited itself to only targeting male executives in snowy climates, the brand would never have developed the popular restaurants. It would’ve defined itself out of half a market while it was at it.” – Nikki Baird

Cultural Insights

‘Cultural Insights’ is a trending, popular concept among Insight Professionals and Marketers, especially applied to social intelligence. Recently, Steph Pickerill at SI Labs wrote an interesting piece that you can find here.

Cultural research – the process of finding insights – looks at the shared norms, beliefs, language, interests, and passions of societies or distinct groups of people. Because culture is often silent and inferred across individuals, cultural research requires immersion, in-depth analysis, and multiple perspectives or data-points.

Therefore, because humans aggregate and socialize online, Audience Intelligence offers a unique lens for achieving cultural understanding. With Audience Intelligence, one can identify the shared interests, lifestyle choices, thought leaders, and information channels that define and support online communities and their distinct cultures.  

While ‘Tribe Marketing’ and ‘Cultural Research or Insights’ share similarities, they differ in that:

  • Above all, Tribe Marketing tends to define consumer segments based on brand affinity or interest. In the above example, the target audience is Tommy Bahama consumers. Differently, culture looks at broad audience definitions, like ‘skateboarding,’ as an example.
  • As such, culture is more closely tied to an individual’s sense of identity. Sticking with the example, ‘I am a skateboarder’ rather than ‘I am a Tommy Bahama fan.’

Audience Intelligence Benefits

Audience Intelligence and Social Media Segmentation offer several strategic and tactical benefits.

Consumer Insights:

Deepen consumer understanding 

As discussed, by surfacing consumer affinities and lifestyle choices, Audience Intelligence reveals a consumer context that is clearer, more actionable, and more consistent with human identity and motivation.

Keep pace with an ever-changing consumer

Due to its real-time nature, social media-based Audience Intelligence allows Brands to keep their finger on the pulse of rapidly changing consumer needs and preferences. Especially as consumers live out more of their lives on the web – as pronounced by the current pandemic – Audience Intelligence is a critical tool.

Precision Marketing:

Campaigns and content

With a clearer understanding of your consumers, Audience Intelligence helps you craft more resonant campaigns and content that champion, educate, and support your audience’s lifestyle. Over time, by producing such meaningful content, Marketers stand to strengthen brand affinity.

Partner selection

Of course, your audience interacts with other brands when exercising their unique behaviors and interests. Co-sponsoring with the right brands increases engagement, further strengthens brand affinity and identity, and sends a clear signal to consumers that you acknowledge, understand, and support their way of life.

Influencer identification

Like partner selection, audience Intelligence can show you the macro and micro-influencers who are most effective in catching your consumers’ attention and spreading key messages or trends. Identifying key influencers helps you amplify your message and authentically support your audience’s behaviors.

Media mix

Additionally, by showing you where consumers prefer to receive their news and information, Audience Intelligence can inform the best media and web channels for distributing your messages.

Event sponsorship

Lastly, but importantly, your audience seeks human to human interaction. Because Audience Intelligence can surface your target audience’s most popular in-person experiences, Brands can use this information to select the most impactful events to sponsor. By facilitating interactions between like-minded people, Brands can tap into a feeling of shared connectedness in a real, tangible way.

Audience Intelligence With Synthesio’s Profiler

Profiler, by Synthesio, powers Audience Intelligence insights by leveraging the largest behavioral dataset in the world, the Facebook suite. By channeling the over 3 Billion Users across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, Profiler uniquely goes beyond demographic data. It captures likes, shares, follows, clicking and app behavior, and article views, website views, and more.

Indeed, leading brands use Profiler to segment audiences, identify unique, shared characteristics, and build tailored and engaging marketing plans.

Asahi harnesses social-based audience analysis.

Rosa Halford, Global Insights Manager, Asahi International

“Profiler by Synthesio gives easy access to rich insights on any audience. Beyond general interests, it allows us to get under the skin of specific consumer segments and bring our personas to life. This way, we ensure that our marketing strategy and all of our initiatives are grounded in our consumers’ reality.”

Need more proof that audience analysis makes a splash?

Download our case study and discover how Asahi used Profiler by Synthesio to back its marketing planning with data and powerful audience insights

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