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While there are many great premium data brokers that provide detailed insights on demographics and behavior, not all of these resources are accessible to small or mid-size companies with smaller budgets. Sure, the AdWords Keyword Planner provides some free data about demographics, but there’s often a wide margin of “unknown” data, and it’s not as useful for determining things like purchase behavior or browsing behavior. Likewise, Google Analytics data only provides audience insights about your visitors, which may not be as helpful for newer or smaller websites, or startups that have not yet launched a website. Here are five free resources to get insights about your brand’s target audience.

1: Consumer Barometer

Good for: Ecommerce behavior insights, Mobile behavior insights

Google’s Consumer Barometer graph builder tool is a fantastic resource when it comes to ecommerce user insights. The easy-to-use interface lets you customize your demographic segments by age, location, gender, and other options. You can then view data for your selected segments by choosing “Questions” about devices or shopping behavior. As an added bonus, you can export your insights into either CSV or PNG to combine with other data sets or tools, or you can generate a share link directly to a graph.

2: Facebook Audience Insights

Facebook Audience Insights

Good for: Discovering potential audiences

Facebook’s Audience Insights tool can be found in the Business Manager under Menu -> All Tools -> Plan -> Audience Insights. This tool is great for discovering who your target audience is, what other interests they have, as well as demographic statistics such as household income, education level, and marital status. Additionally, Facebook offers insights on “Lifestyle” categories, based on Acxiom’s “Personicx Clusters” system. While the information here is undoubtedly valuable, keep in mind that it’s based on Facebook users – so if your audience isn’t on Facebook, you may want to take this with a grain of salt. There is also no option to export insights to CSV for use in other data visualization tools.

3: Google Trends

Google Trends

Good for: Discovering potential audiences, Researching seasonality & trends

Google Trends is an old favorite, and for good reason; it provides free data about the popularity and usage of a keyword or topic. Once you’ve done your keyword research, you can use this tool to find information about the popularity of a keyword or topic by location, as well as seasonal patterns or interest trends. As with Consumer Barometer, Google offers easy options to share or export this data for use with other data sets or tools.

4: Similar Web

Similar Web

Good For: Identifying competitor audiences, Researching audience behavior

While there are a few features that are only available with a premium plan, there is still quite a bit of valuable information available for free on Similar Web. If you know who your competitors are, you can plug their url into this website to see where traffic comes from, and where users go before or after visiting your competitor. This is especially handy for smaller or new websites that lack historical data.

5: Alexa

Alexa

Good For: Identifying competitor audiences, Researching audience behavior

It’s true that most features on Alexa are paid, but if you scroll all the way to the bottom, you’ll see an area to search for websites. Like Similar Web, you can plug in a website to get competitor audience behavior. One important bit of information you can get from Alexa is the browsing location from an audience. This can provide important information on how your website should be optimized. For example, the age bracket of an audience may indicate primarily mobile traffic, but if that audience is browsing your (or your competitor’s) website while at work, then it’s much more likely that they are browsing on desktop – that’s an important distinction to know when designing or optimizing a website.

Putting It All Together

These tools serve as great starting points to identify your brand’s target audience, but that’s only the first step towards a comprehensive strategy. When combined with an effective design and marketing strategy, these tools can help you make the most of your resources.

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Kiyo Wiesnoski
Digital Media Analyst at | More Posts

Kiyo Wiesnoski is a Media Analyst at Adlava, a web design & digital marketing agency headquartered in Las Vegas. She is the current office champion of person-with-most-Hello-Kitty-things-on-desk competition. She is also the founder and sole participant of said competition.