Know Your Audience… Better.

It’s a mantra that strategic thinkers in the marketing space repeat: Know Your Audience.

To many, this means a few basic methods: syndicated research, focus groups, and surveys. Some shops use social monitoring tools which scrape blogs, tweets, and statuses for mentions of a particular brand. These tell us what people view as important content or dialogue, but is that what is most important for our industry? Maybe, but I’m not convinced. We need new tools.

Over the past few months, I’ve been poking around sites like Voyurl and, services that track and share your clickstream on the web with anyone who wants to access it. This shows how people are browsing the web every click of the way. It’s not about what people are sharing on the web, but what they are doing on the web. As somebody who works at the sweet-spot of human behavior, marketing, and technology, I’m interested in how people accomplish goals on the web when dealing with brands.

Voyurl founder Adam Leibsohn says “We’re interested in what people are doing–not saying–because we believe that actions speak louder than words; we’re more concerned with digital behavior outside of the social web rather than within it because it’s less prone to user-side curation; and everything we process is in realtime and 1:1.”

So how does this help marketers? For one, we can drill down to a granular level and see the steps somebody takes to achieve a certain goal or action. We will get a better grasp on user buying patterns and processes when it comes to e-commerce, answering the question “how and where do people do research for specific products and brands?”  This has big implications for media as well: If I am Ford, what sites do I need to build a favorable relationship/image with? Now, site visits and click rates are humanized- not just a blob of numbers- and consumer stories can be captured from beginning to end. Last, pulling data samples will allow brands the chance to market to context, in the same way mobile marketers can offer location-based, real-time deals, marketers can use browsing data (beyond cookie targeting) to offer better value to users.

With these new kinds of sites and data sets, what you see is what you get, and what you get is pure human behavior.