How to Use Audience Analysis for Successful Communication
Market analysis is important to anyone who is creating communication for a small or large audience. Before beginning composition or creation, it must be understood who will be on the receiving end of the message.
Defining and describing the reader, viewer or listener of written, visual or oral communication is the purpose of audience analysis. The creator of the communication should consider their audience when crafting the message in order to reach the target audience and portray the intended information. Understanding the interests and needs of the audience are important before drafting the communication to be sure that their expectations are met. If the analysis is not completed, there is a chance that the communication will not reach its audience.
How to Begin
The first step in audience analysis begins before the creation phase is started; the writer or director should consider who will be reading the article or watching the film. The demographic profile of the audience is key to understanding and reaching the right targets. Are the viewers young, old, male or female? Determining what the audience is hoping to get from the piece is also significant. Do they want to learn something new or be entertained? It is also important to understand where and how the audience can best be reached.
Understanding the Audience
Gathering data about an audience requires research into details about them. There are several theories about the best way to gather this information depending on the goals of the piece. If the piece is creative, understanding how to reach and entertain the audience is important. However if the piece is informational, considering how the audience will understand the information is key. The creator must know the language skills and current knowledge level of the audience in order to properly convey the message.
Several techniques can be used to gather the information needed for a complete analysis of the audience. Depending on the type of communication, the assignment could also come with a full understanding of the target audience, for example if the project was an article for an existing magazine. However, if the market is not ready-made, the first step is demographic research, which can be conducted using census data or included with other techniques. Surveys, interviews and focus groups with potential audience members can provide important information about the needs of the audience. This research should be performed online or face-to-face.
However, analyzing the audience is not always a simple task. For example in developing communication that is expected to be for the general population, the group may be too large and broad to easily describe. There is the same drawback with a creative piece as the specific needs of the audience beyond simple entertainment may not be clearly understood. In these circumstances it might be helpful for the creator to imagine what kind of person might be interested in the piece and then tailor the communication to that invented audience.
Audience analysis is an important tool in crafting an audio, visual or written piece that reaches and influences the target market. Understanding the audience is one of the most crucial keys to achieving success in communication.