What Is Target Audience? And Why Does it Matter?

What Is Target Audience?

A target audience is a group of people that will probably be interested in the offer or product that you are trying to sell them. The various members of this imaginary group will also most likely share some common traits, like their gender, age, marital status, job title, location, income, interests, and others.

Depending on the offer or product that you are trying to sell, the target audience could be broad or in a more niche market. For instance, if you are selling shoes, you would have a broad target audience, as all men and women wear shoes. However, if you are selling a certain type of shoes, like high-performance running shoes, then your target market would become a lot smaller and would consist of elite athletes probably between the ages of 20 and 40.

What Are the Different Types of Target Audiences? 

Target audiences can be broken up further into specific groups that are linked to location, interests, intent, and more. Let’s look at three examples of target audience categories.


This is pretty straightforward, you can split up your target audience based on the different areas that interest them, like their entertainment and hobbies. This will allow you to be more data-driven, create highly personalized messages and help you to connect better with your audience, which in turn will help your customers to become more loyal to your brand.

Purchase Intent

This defines different groups of people based on the specific product that they are looking for, like a car or new electronics. Understanding this will give you a better grasp of the pain points for your audience and enable you to send highly tailored messaging to them, addressing their specific needs.


Subcultures define groups of people that share a common experience or interest, like entertainment fandoms, music genres, or maybe even people who like politics. This can help you to understand some of the audience’s motivations behind purchases and allow you to connect with them better.

What Is Target Market? How Is It Different From Target Audience?

A target market is a group of customers that a company plans to reach or sell with specific marketing activities. This is slightly different from a target audience, which is a group within the target market that is being targeted with advertising. Essentially, the target audience is a more specific audience (or a custom audience) within the target market.

A target audience can be interchanged loosely with the target market, as the target audience will always be a part of the target market, but the target market is not always the same as the target audience.

Why Is Target Audience Important?

Target audience is important because it allows you to go beyond the data, for example, demographic information, if they are millennials, etc., and try to fully understand what role the target audience will play on the road to purchase. These roles can be separated into two categories: the decision-maker and the supporter.

The decision-maker will be the one that ultimately makes the purchase decisions, whereas the supporter will not be the one to make the final decision, but they will heavily influence whether the purchase is made.

How Do You Determine Target Audience?

In order to determine your target audience, the data that you have collected must be analyzed. This includes evaluating current purchase trends and buyers, analyzing data from current consumer engagements, and optimizing data as new information comes in.

Examine the Existing Customer Base

One of the main ways to determine your target audience is to look at who is already buying the service or product, or current customers. Their traits are what can be targeted to try and bring in new customers, like their age, their interests, and where they live.

Client Interviews

Carrying out interviews with customers and distributing customer surveys are great ways to learn what their interests are and gather more information. A great place to source this information is through social media platforms as well.

Conduct Market Research

Find the market research that has been carried out for your industry and identify any holes that exist that your product can fill. Find your product’s place in the market and that can be used to influence marketing strategies. You can also consider looking up a case study about your particular market.

Identify Sector Trends

Analyze the trends for particular products in your market and see what they are focusing their efforts on. This will allow you to hone in on what they are targeting and add in what gives your product its unique value.

Scout Your Competitors

Marketers often record the most valuable data by simply looking at what their competitors are doing. See who they are selling their products to, how they are doing it, and over what term. This will show you what works and what doesn’t and will hopefully give you information that you can utilize for your campaigns.

Try Starting by Thinking About Who Your Target Audience Isn’t

There will be many customers that are close to fitting into your target audience but will not respond to messaging. Be specific with who isn’t your target audience and who is. For example, if your target audience is men between the ages of 18 and 45, don’t waste money considering men who are older or younger.

Use First-Party Data: Email Subscribers, Google Analytics and Surveys

First-party data is data that you own that is collected directly from the customers. Google Analytics, for example, will provide you with extensive amounts of data around the people that are using your website. This will allow you to see what specific content they are engaging with and you can use this to tailor your marketing efforts and SEO. The same goes for building a list of email subscribers and carrying out surveys.

What Is a Persona?

Personas allow you to determine the personalities, needs, psychographic, and general demographics of your customers. They are a great way of diving into the various market segments of your target audience, especially if that product or service that you are providing has a broad target audience. Think about building a template of your ideal customer.

How Do You Build Customer Personas?

Customer personas are created using surveys, digital marketing, and general data that is recovered from potential buyers. This can include favorite television shows, hobbies, websites, likes, dislikes, and so on. The recommended amount of buyer personas that a marketer builds is between three and five.

What Is the Difference Between First-Party Data and Third-Party Data?

As touched on earlier, first-party data is collected by observing and tracking the behavior of users on a website and this is analyzed by marketers to influence their targeting efforts and build segmentation. Third-party data is data that you get from outside of your company, collected by web cookies from several sources. If you can see metrics on your Facebook or Instagram page, that’s great. However, you don’t truly own this audience. Facebook does. We recommend always trying to build first-party databases like email lists.

How Can You Use Third-Party Data To Determine Target Audience?

There are many ways to use third-party data to determine your target audience, as it provides valuable information regarding how potential customers act. Companies can learn where to find their target customers, how these customers like to be reached, what they engage with the most, and more. There are also plenty of ways that third-party data can be used within a marketing strategy or marketing plan with a platform like HubSpot, like providing specific insights, personalization information, refining audiences, and so on. This helps to get the marketing message across.

What Are Neilsen Ratings?

Neilsen ratings are used to predict how many different households watch a particular show, using statistical samplings. Prime-time television is an obvious way of reaching the most households possible, but these are very expensive spots. If you can find a niche show that targets just your target audience, they can be reached for a fraction of the prime-time pricing.

How Can You Reach Your Target Audience?

When marketing to today’s customers, two questions must be asked, when do you reach them and where do you reach them. Customers now more than ever are very good at tuning out marketing messages, so finding them at the right time and place is critical.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the act of producing, creating, and sharing high-quality content with your target audience. This can consist of blog articles, social posts, experiences, videos, online courses, events, and any type of content that doesn’t specifically advertise the product but raises awareness and interest around it.

Paid Media Marketing

Paid media marketing includes online, radio, and television marketing campaigns that are bought to quickly get your product in front of your target audience. A commonplace to find paid marketing is on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and through the various social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Earned Media

Earned media is gaining prominence thanks to the rise of social media and online public relations. It is attention generated for your product by various forms of media that you didn’t pay for. For example, if an influencer recommends a product from a small business or startup, but isn’t paid by them to recommend it.


Even when you have the right audience, views on TV commercials can’t be guaranteed, due to the various ways that customers watch TV. Maybe someone looks at their phone during commercials or gets up to go to the bathroom.

The best way of increasing the chance of views is to have commercials on during live television, where it is impossible for the people watching to fast forward. This is why live sports are still so valuable.


Similar to TV, many listeners switch radio stations when the commercials come on. This is why it is important to book advertisements at the beginning or end of the ad break. Radio is a great way to target local listeners on local radio, but bear in mind that there will be many listeners that are most likely outside of your target audience.

Conclusion: Why Define a Target Audience?

Ultimately, establishing your target audience is all about relevancy. If your product or service matches the needs and/or wants of an audience, it is more than likely that the product or service will sell. If you are targeting “everyone,” it is making it very hard to reach your audience on a deeper level.

Everyone is different and so are their interests, so reaching someone and getting them to buy a product that is designed for everyone is extremely difficult. You are also connecting with your target audience, which in turn makes them loyal customers to you and makes them much more likely to turn around and recommend your product to others. By reaching them on a deep level, it is possible to turn your customers into advocates of the brand.