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How brands can gain a deeper understanding of their audiences through global audience intelligence

By Ian Darby | journalist

July 11, 2022 | 7 min read

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In a world where media consumption is shifting and people’s attitudes are growing more complex, agencies have been calling for deeper, broader multi-market analysis. So, we caught up with YouGov’s Julian Newby to discuss what steps have been taken to allow marketers to gain a deeper, broader understanding of their audiences across global markets.

How global audience intelligence unlocks success for brands

How global audience intelligence unlocks success for brands

There's rising demand from brands for high quality audience intelligence to drive forward their international campaign planning. But that demand is matched with growing frustration that consistent, rich and cost-effective consumer data isn't available in one place to achieve this.

Mastercard’s chief marketing officer and president of the World Federation of Advertisers, Raja Rajamannar, says in a recent interview with The Drum, “If you just go and openly spray advertisements and pray that people will respond, or that they will connect, that’s very inefficient for the marketers and annoying and irrelevant to the consumers.”

To meet this advertiser need, YouGov has launched the Global Profiles Tool. The new dataset helps brands and their agency partners to understand their audiences across the world. Encompassing more than 1,000 questions asked to respondents in 43 major markets, the Global Profiles Tool delivers consistent understanding of people’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors and habits, to boost the impact of targeted campaigns and partnerships across all media channels.

Julian Newby, global sector head of agencies and media at YouGov, talks in more detail about how businesses can gain a deeper, broader, understanding of their audiences across global markets in a challenging world in which media consumption is shifting and people’s attitudes growing more complex.

How are you meeting the needs of brands with the launch of Global Profiles Tool?

The feedback we’ve been getting is that there’s a lot of frustration in the marketplace due to the thinness of the global data sets available. Now we’re offering something that’s really going to relieve a lot of that frustration.

Listening to agency partners, they love Profiles, our local market product, but found multi-market analysis more difficult. So we’ve taken a thousand questions, that are globally consistent where possible, and everyone has answered all of them to make it a fully-squared dataset.

What does the product deliver that isn’t available already in the market?

We’ve taken those thousand questions, coded them into one product, updated quarterly, with its own dashboard and interface, and launched into 43 markets. It’s big compared to what people have had in the past – three to four times the size in terms of questions to the next competitor running a fully global dataset.

What people had before was very broad, but not very deep. What we’re offering here is broad, and much, much deeper. It was very difficult to gain a lot of insight with what’s come before, but this is chunky enough – you’ve got all the attitudinal questions, together with more than 150 really robust media questions.

Can you explain more about the range of these audience questions?

It really excels in two areas. The first is attitudinal statements, which you need to build sophisticated segmentations, and there are more than 700 of these in Global Profiles – covering everything from views on electric cars, to the latest technology, travel, entertainment, and the environment.

Then we’ve completely revamped what we ask on media consumption. We’ve worked closely with some of the big media networks on this to cover all the main channels, and newer channels such as music streaming and podcasts, and to ask robust questions around social media. We’ve looked across all channels at frequency, recency, and time spent, the key metrics, together with device and format use.

Will this have an impact in local markets too?

Absolutely. One of the interesting things is that the respondents are also the core of our local markets. So, if I’m a global marketer or agency person creating an audience and writing a beautiful multi-market strategy, which this tool is perfect for doing, I can then give that exact audience I’ve created to my local markets and they can exactly replicate it because it’s the same data set.

Local markets can then match it with the huge amounts of data in local profiles and really give it texture and power, feeding into the granularity of the magazines, TV shows, social media, that people are watching. That’s a really powerful element.

There’s a big industry debate around the quality of consumer data available. What steps have you taken to improve standards?

We know that with any survey that takes over 16 minutes to complete, there’s a huge drop-off in respondent numbers and quality. So, the way we’ve done this one, which is typically YouGov in approach, is to split the questions into a total of 11, 15-minute, surveys. People have to answer all 11 of these to be in the data set, but this approach ensures we get as many completed as possible with high quality as a metric.

And, owning and operating our research panel of more than 17 million people is a massive advantage, because we can take a lot of time and effort to produce a quality product. My view is that no-one else could have done this, really, in the way that YouGov has in terms of the quality and the care we’ve taken. We’ve also developed Global Profiles in consultation with our big agency partners, who have really helped us to design it so that it’s potentially very useful to them.

And, finally, have you innovated at all in how you’re making the Global Profiles Tool available to agencies and advertisers?

We usually sell on an enterprise level to our local markets. If you buy Profiles, as a customer, you buy it once and everyone in the organization can then use it. But, with Global Profiles, we’re selling at a seat level. Buy a minimum of five and these can be placed anywhere in the world. That’s a departure from our usual model, it’s more flexible, cost-effective, and it meets the needs of global planning functions within agencies and brands, which tend to sit in two or three hubs around the world.

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