Target Audience - Are you Writing for the Right Market?

by humagaia

Are you sure your target market audience is available where you are writing online? Each writing site has its own developed demographic. Are you in the right place?

Don't get me wrong, I do not wish to put you off writing at any particular site. If you feel comfortable there by all means stay and enjoy what you are doing. My question to you is really - have you based your decision, with regard to where you write, on aesthetic considerations or upon the demographic of the visitors to that site?

If your only consideration is aesthetics: how easy it is to produce certain types of article, then what I am about to say is probably not something that you would much care to consider.

If you are looking to secure an income from your target market audience then you should read on (I know, a bit pretentious of me, but hey ho, that's life).

If you do not know what your target market audience is, then you should jump off this article to read 'Writing to your Target Audience' by LakeEerieArtists.

Welcome back, if you went there.

From now on I believe I can assume that you know what a target audience is. You are now able to define who you have been targeting, if anyone. Knowing what it is, and who you are marketing to, is how you build your brand online.

Writing articles, making comments (see also: 'Why comment' and 'How to Comment' by Humagaia), developing a niche and a following within that niche, are all part of ensuring that the search engines will see you as a player 

target audience

within that niche, and enhance your standing in their estimation when considering where to place your offerings in their SERPs.

But is it enough to know who your target audience is?

What audience is available to you?

Not only must you know who you are targeting, you must also know that audience is within your grasp, at the site where you are writing.

Example: I would not write articles about knitting if I were writing on a technology site (perhaps I would, if it was about producing a computer program to develop knitting patterns), but you get my drift, I hope.

Knowing who the audience is, for a site, a fundamental to developing your best chance to attract that audience to your articles. The search engines would likely disregard a knitting article from a techie site. I know, it's harsh, but what goes on around 'you', that is 'the crowd you hang with', also determines a portion of your 'carried kudos' (the baggage that the search engines know about) within the search algorithms that you are so desperate to influence in a positive way.

If you have written at Hubpages, I am sure you have in your mind that this is the case. How much baggage does each of us carry that has 'content farm' written on it? We may not believe it to be so, but that matters not in the great Google scheme of things. If there is a 'sandbox effect', then it will affect everyone who writes there, in some way or another.

So how do you get to know who worships at the altar of any particular site? Who views the articles that are written there? Who the actual audience is, for that which has already been written?

The audience already available to you.

Now, this is the easy bit!

If a site has been around long enough to have garnered an audience, then there are sites where you can find some analysis that has already been undertaken, that has determined, roughly speaking, who wanders down the lonely path to view the offering in the garden of pleasure that we call our community.

To some extent you can get a feeling for who might frequent our church, by scanning the categories on a site, to see what type of articles have been written. The subject matter can easily be judged. The capability of the writers can also be judged, by entering some of their domains.

How the search engines view the site will be exactly as you view it. If it seems spammy and full of copied content then the SE's will also see that. If the articles are aimed at game-players, or music-lovers, or techie types, then the SE's will know that also. If the articles are aimed at the young, old, those from a particular country, or with a particular requirement of information, then likewise the SE's will determine that. With the advent of personalised Google+ search this is becoming much more relevant.

What I am trying to get across, and only you can know if I am being successful, is that, before you write anywhere you should check to see whether that place is a (sic.) right place for you to write. Writing sites are designed to allow the broadest cross-section of writers to produce. It is the first arrivals that determine how that site will develop. What they have written will have determined the audience of the site. Note I say 'site' here and not the audience for 'your articles'.

So how do you determine the site demographics using analysis that has already been undertaken? 

I undertake site analysis at Alexa. Why? Because it is established and I know about it - and so do you, probably. Why do I suggest you use it? Well, maybe it is because I am an affiliate - just click banner now please.

Alexa Data Comparisons

So what does it tell me about Wizzley, Squidoo, Hubpages etc. - I'm just going to concentrate on these three. Alexa tells me that:

Hubpages

Hubpages is an established site with a high traffic rank that has fallen, but seems to be recovering recently. It has a high following from the Philippines, Pakistan, India, Nigeria and Bangladesh. There are some very established writers there, who are very happy with their lot, and have a large following: kathrynvercillo, ryankett, anamikar and pattyenglishms receive almost 1% each of the visitors to Hubpages (the site itself gets 20%).

The types of article produced are diverse and individual articles can receive high visitor numbers (as a %age of total visitors to the site), such as 'profitable business ideas' (0.88%), 'best infant car seat' (0.18%), 'Christmas messages' (0.15%), 'types of computer' (0.13%), 'louis vuitton handbags' (0.13%), 'oau admission list' (0.12%), 'learning web designing perfectly' (0.12%) and 'calculate self employment taxes' (0.12%) show that diversity, and the level of visitor numbers that individual articles can obtain.

Join HubPages

Only 24% of the traffic to Hubpages comes from search engines. The audience in relation to the internet as a whole is generally young, in the 18-24 age group; female; with some college education; viewing from home. Bounce rate is 62%.

33% of visitors come from the US; 21% from India; 6% from the UK; 3.5% from Canada; then diminishing percentages for Pakistan, Philippines, Australia, Nigeria, South Africa and Indonesia (in that order).

The hubpages.com URL was established on 22nd April 2001 but was not used as it is now. In January 2006 it was re-established as a directory. Then in December 2006 the site requested author sign-ups for the Beta version of the current site.

By 13th August 2007 the site was in operation with some of the first writers being: 'Arizona', 'Sci-Fi', 'Features of a web 2.0 site', learn Irish in Manchester', 'Anderlon', Andamon Adventures', 'jstankevicz', 'geek', and 'Goga', with top authors being 'rodtrent', 'eConsultant', 'YoJDawg', 'Ralph Deeds', 'thewilliamspress' and the founder 'pauledmonson'.

Squidoo

Squidoo is higher ranked than Hubpages with an Alexa Traffic Rank rising from 222 to 204 in a month. It is highly rated in Slovenia, Philippines, Pakistan, India and Australia. Top articles are 'stuwain ubuntu', ubuntu fr stuwain', 'how to use twitter', wedding card content', cara membuat blog'. 

Squidoo logo

The site URL was established in August 2001, but requests for authors to participate in Beta was not forthcoming until November 2005. The site went live in December the same year. By the end of December over 10k lenses had been written and $1200 earned. 

As with Hubpages the audience demographic is biased towards young (18-24); female; with some college education; browsing from home. Less males than for the general browsing public arrive at the site. Over 65's numbers are much less for Squidoo than generally. Bounce rate is 56%.

33% of visitors come from the US; 17% from India; 6.4% from the UK; then 3.2% or less from Canada, Pakistan, Australia, Philippines, Indonesia, Germany and Italy (1.4%) respectively. Only 21.2% of site visitors come from search engines.

Wizzley

Wizzley is a much younger site, having been developed from PageWizz.com in Germany. There is also a PageWizz.com for France. Wizzley was built with SEO in mind and is aimed at quality authors (maybe disenfranchised from other free article sites) with a requirement to earn a long-term passive income. 

Humagaia at Wizzley

Me at Wizzley
Me at Wizzley
Humagaia "Paint" screenshot

Wizzley has a 3-month global Alexa Rank in the 26,000nds and a US ranking in the 12,000nds, but is rising quickly (above 25,000 at date).

Wizzley currently ranks well in Kenya, Serbia, Philippines, Czech Republic and Australia. It does not have sub-domains (except for m.wizzley.com, it's mobile offering). The articles with the highest search traffic currently are: 'which is better pokemon black or white', 'angry birds wallpaper', 'project wonderful', 'channel data business process', ' the world of downton abbey book', and 'sympathetic gift'.

The site demographic is positively biased for females with children; browsing from home; in the 25-54 age range; with a college education; with household income between $30k and $100k. It is negatively biased in the 18-24 and 55+ age ranges; males; and for those browsing from school or work. Bounce rate is ~42%.

39% of visitors come from the US; 11.6% from India; 9.2% from UK; 6.4% from Germany; ~4% each from Australia, Philippines, Canada and Russia; and just over 1% each from Czech Republic and Serbia. A high proportion (almost 6%) of search queries that land on the site are for 'Wizzley' itself.

So what can be deduced from this data?

Comparing Hubpages, Squidoo & Wizzley

Hubpages relies on search engine traffic much more so than the other two sites, Wizzley only getting 8.5% to 11% of it's traffic from this source. This means that around 90% of traffic arriving at your articles on Wizzley will be generated from directories, social media, bookmarking sites, commenting (see 'Why comment?') and other internet properties. You will do well to utilize the buttons on your article page (see 'Why Tweet?') and those on other writers' articles, until such time as the search engines give Wizzley articles more kudos. This will come with time. In the meantime, if you rely entirely on getting free search traffic you may not do so well, in terms of search engine traffic, at Wizzley.

Wizzley gets 39% of traffic from the US, whilst Squidoo and Hubpages get 33%. This means that the Wizzley US audience is greater, such that marketing to that audience is better targeted. The same is true for the UK, Canada, Australia where there is at least a 20% positive difference between the Wizzley audience and that of the other two. Europe is also a positive environment to market to.

Hubpages and Squidoo have a high proportion of visitors from low income countries in Asia. This means that average adsense value may be lower than for Wizzley. If you write for adsense income your returns per 1,000 views may well be higher at Wizzley, and may make up for the lower visitor footfall.

The audience demographics for Hubpages and Squidoo roughly equate: 18-24 female with some college education, browsing from home. Wizzley is differentiated in that, although the demographic is biased towards females browsing from home, they are more likely to be between 25 and 54 (somewhat older than for the other two), with a higher education background, and with children. This means that they are likely to have more household income that will be spent on their children and household requirements. They may also be more inclined to read and utilize information aimed at school work. Marketing these sorts of product and information may find you a customer base.

The bounce rates (where only 1 article is read for each visit) are high for Squidoo and higher for Hubpages. At 42% Wizzleys' bounce rate is just 2/3rds of that for Hubpages. This means that, once on the site, visitors are much more likely to browse additional pages. Whether this means that they do not go off and do their buying on Amazon is speculative.

Interlinking articles may be better provided for by the Wizzley modules, or the community better understands that linking articles within the site mimics what the search engines are looking for on the internet in general. A healthy linking strategy, whilst the search engines decide whether articles on the site are worthy of higher ranking kudos, is paramount for earnings for each of us, and the site in general. This is how we pay for the privilege of writing at Wizzley.

US Flag
UK & USA Flags - Dot Matrix
Flag of Canada
Brisbane, Australia
German flag
Flag of Russia

Conclusion

All in all, Wizzley fairs best for most demographics. The only two drawbacks are the age of the site and the number of active writers producing quality content that satisfies the needs. As the site gains more active writers, who understand the audience that is available to them, the better outcome for us all.

So, go away and start writing for the right market - our target audience.

If you don't already write here, then...........................

Come and join us

Write at Wizzley

Wizzley

Are you writing for this audience?

If not, why not?

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Updated: on 02/17/2012, humagaia
 
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humagaia on 02/13/2012

The missing 55+ age group is missing from Wizzley because it is missing. What I mean by that is that my stats are based against the norm i.e. of those 55+ that do surf, much less of that group come to Wizzley than they go elsewhere, on average. My stats do not show that they are missing as a whole per se. Just that they do not seem to use the platforms we write on to obtain their fix.
It is relevant therefore, that if you are writing for that demographic, your articles / blogs should perhaps be produced on sites where that demographic does it's socialising. Your method of finding where your target audience resides can be undertaken using sites like Alexa. Type in each site you find that may be hiding them, the pensioners residences of the internet, and see if the audience demographics section shows you a big green graphical representation that they are there.
This is similarly true for any demographic for which you think you might be missing the target.

Guest on 02/12/2012

Thank you for sharing the results of your research. Rather than being a disadvantage, I think relying on social media for traffic is a more stable form of development but perhaps only because it seems more personal than the vast unknown algorithms of the googleverse. The 55+ group seems to be missing almost everywhere so perhaps that is a computer literacy issue. They are one part of my target group and I've been looking for ways of simplifying to make the experience less intimidating... back to the drawing board for a bit.

humagaia on 02/11/2012

@LEA - I agree with you entirely with regard to the data painting a picture for the whole site, but failing to be of complete relevance when it comes to individual writers. But then each of us can look, and do look, at the 'Statistics' page on Wizzley. That gives the information that you rightly note is missing from my article.
Your target audience will benefit Wizzley, all of us, and gradually have an influence on the demographic of this site, as will mine, and anyone else that joins and makes an impact. That is the way of data: it changes perspective every millisecond. Nothing is stationary. Merely looking at it, changes it.
My take on the data, at that point in time, was that Wizzley was differentiated from S and G in significant ways, that could be taken advantage of by some, or all, of us.
It is a pleasure to link to relevant information, that I believe is presented to the benefit of anyone that reads my articles. Yours fulfilled that criterion. Why would I not link to it?
Thanks for your considered input - it adds to the overall push and shows that you are writing for your right market.

lakeerieartists on 02/11/2012

Your look at the statistics gives an interesting picture that most of us do not see or realize. I do think that some of the information is invisible though when you look at it this way. Because individual authors have different percentages of visits from the sources that you mention.

For instance over the 500 plus articles that I have on Squidoo, my search engine traffic (per Google Analytics) accounts for 64% of my traffic, with the majority of that coming from the United States.

Of course, my writing is targeted to a U.S. audience, and even more so, to a U.S. audience in a climate with four seasons.

And thanks for the link to my article. :)

humagaia on 02/11/2012

Hey @Mum - great to have you come by. I know you are busy: 50+ articles in 2 months, and nearly at the magic 100 author score, way to go girl!
I like numbers. They tell a story. They speak to me.
I see trends in green........red fortune too.
I see 'em bloom ........ for me and for you
And I think to myself........what a wonderful world.
Sorry sidetracked there.
Site comparisons are a great way to delve into the depths of what is happening; where we stand; and what we can strive towards. Having these data at our fingertips can hone our minds to the task ahead. If we know where we are headed we can plan to get there. Putting together short-, medium-, and long-term plans in place, gets us to our destination, whilst allowing us to stop off and enjoy the scenery along the way. And know where we need to stop to fill up with petrol (sorry gas).
Forewarned is forearmed.
Glad to do the leg-work, glad to let everyone know.
You keep on doing what you have been doing - it will assist us all, as well as yourself and your family - I know that is what you are doing it for. Be blessed.

MuminBusiness on 02/11/2012

Great Article. It is nice to get an idea of how all the numbers stack up. You did great work comparing the sites. Thanks

humagaia on 02/11/2012

@Brenda - don't, please don't narrow your target market. Just be aware of the information above and, perhaps, modify your writing slightly. I am not advocating any changes in what is written. I am only presenting the data, as it stands at this particular time. I apologise if what I have presented has misinformed you. As I noted for Sheila - demographics change - and that only occurs with a diversity of offerings (your articles).
Just be aware, akin to watching the passers-by when looking out of your shop window, what the shoppers may be looking for, in our current location. When our shop chain is opened in other locations, (new authors arriving) they may be locations on a secondary, or primary, location. The advantage of this happening is that a different demographic is generated, and more footfall arrives. If the bounce rate stays low, it can be inferred that everybody here will benefit by association.
Demographics change - your articles may be the cause of that change. Wizzley needs to be assisted in accessing both the secondary and primary markets, whilst keeping a firm foothold in the market for which it already satisfies a need. We, as writers, satisfy needs. We just need to satisfy more of them, whilst not alienating those that have been loyal to our brand.
All power to your elbow - keep writing - and thanks for your comment - it is the only way I can gauge whether I am getting my points across successfully, and to address any misconceptions and oversights.

humagaia on 02/11/2012

@Sheila - it is one thing knowing which audience is available to you, but this should not override who you target as your audience: demographics change. The audience you are likely to receive at the moment, from casual footfall on Wizzley (i.e. that attracted to the site by Wizzley and it's current authors), is as above. As the author demographic matures, it will likely change - the equivalent of moving a shop from a tertiary location, to a secondary, and then a primary location. A different demographic is encountered in these circumstances. From footfall looking for specialist products (tertiary); to those looking for semi-mainstream products (Secondary); to those who window shop (and buy) products from the national and multi-national shop chains (primary). Wizzley is currently on the back streets (tertiary) and is of interest to that demographic. We all would like it to move up to a secondary and then primary 'location'. This will come, with time, and the demographics will change accordingly. To effect that change we should write to each of our target audience, but be aware of our location at the same time.
What I am saying is that you should be aware of where we are located; not expect too much if you are marketing for the primary market; be ensured that having a foothold in that primary market will pay dividends, as Wizzley matures; and that, if you rely on footfall generated by others on the site, you are likely best writing at Wizzley, as the 'shoppers' peruse more other 'shops' along our street, than at Hubpages or Squidoo.
Data is one thing: how to interpret it, quite another.
Statistics eh! Who needs them?
Sheila, thanks for passing by and taking your time to comment.

humagaia on 02/11/2012

Katie.......and so on ..... included a SHOUTOUT on the forum. I thank you for liking my article so much that you felt it useful to others, and made them aware of it. As you can see from the comments, some have already arrived and gleaned some use out of it.
As you, I love researching and passing on my findings. I am also so pleased that you trust what I write. That is a great burden (a good one) to live up to. I shall endeavor to live up to that.
It is likely that most people at Wizzley are writing for the 'right' market, as they are the people that caused the demographic.
Be well (you know what I mean) - read lakeerieartists article (noted in the text above) - and thanks again.

BrendaReeves on 02/11/2012

Thank you for doing all the leg work for us. I tend to write all over the place. I'll narrow it down now.




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