Cheap Tricks: Targeting your audience by exploiting free labor
Posted by aaronswrite
One of the most amusing features of language is the portmanteau. When two ideas can be fused together, it’s serendipitous when their spelling can be, too. It would never have been socially acceptable to wake up late and have dessert for your first meal of the day if no one ratified it by naming it “brunch.” A utensil that’s half spoon and half fork would never have caught on if “spork” wasn’t such a delightful word to say.
In the 1980s, a new portmanteau was coined by Alvin Toffler, a futurist. “Prosumption” isn’t as catchy as spork or brunch (and is clearly not as well-known seeing that it’s highlighted by my spellchecker). However, the concept of prosumption is at the core of what is advancing us exponentially in the digital age. It’s the act of simultaneously producing and consuming.
Everything we do while connected to an internet-enabled device (personal computers, cell phones, vehicles, smart TVs, card readers, voice assistive devices, and maybe even your kitchen appliances), produces data that can be collected and shared. While there are still heated battles over our right to privacy and ownership of the data we produce, most consumers are blissfully unaware of how much data they’re truly creating.
And thus the cycle continues: the gazillion points of data our fitbits and smart coffee makers are sending to someone, somewhere, enables these anonymous mysterious beings (probably working for Apple or Amazon) to continue creating more novelty items so we can purchase them in droves and go happily prosume some more.
As they say, if you can’t beat them, join them! Here are a few neat websites that have collected data from those prosuming sheep. Use the information wisely and ethically (and try really hard to tell yourself you’re not going to use it just to get a few more views and make a bit more money).
- Let’s start with Alexa.com. Now, you’ve got to know that Amazon has a lion’s share of data about their audience. While the tools on this site aren’t free, you could guess that the tools they’re selling are backed by some solid data. The tools can help you with content research, audience analysis, and competitor analysis as well as some of the more common SEO tools you tend to find with similar tools.
- For some quick and easy (and free!) insight into the age and gender of your audience, check out the no-frills demographics.io. Just enter in the keywords for your content and get some lightning-fast data. If you were curious, about 70% of the users who searched for packers, football, or Lambeau were males between the ages of 35-65. That might not be a shocker but, at the very least, it suggests the data is pretty accurate.
- Something I know you’re going to love is AnswerThePublic.com. Do you want to know what people are asking in search engines? This tool takes your given topic and runs search data for all the questions you could possibly think to ask. If the home page doesn’t pull you in, the intuitive infographs will. (For an added bonus, use this site in conjunction with the Keywords Everywhere browser extension—you’ll thank me later.)
Whether you’ve given up on your own sense of digital privacy or still fighting the good fight against the onset of the robot overlords, the data is out there. Hopefully you can find a way to use the data for good (and for profit, but mostly for good).
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