Know Your Audience: How to Conduct Market Research for Making Effective Videos

Creating effective videos

Maybe you know all about writing scripts, editing videos, and following the current best practices for video marketing. But if you don’t know your audience, you’ll still have a hard time getting your effective video campaigns off the ground. Ultimately, the most important aspect of video marketing isn’t technical – it’s personal. To run effective campaigns, you’ve got to connect with your audience on an emotional level.

To run effective campaigns, you’ve got to connect with your audience on an emotional level.

Whether you have years of video marketing experience or you’re just getting started, keeping your finger on your audience’s pulse is one of the most efficient ways you can make better and more effective videos. This guide will walk you through the process of conducting market research to learn more about your audience. Then you’ll learn how to incorporate your new insight into your videos. The result: highly targeted video content that builds brand loyalty while convincing your audience to take action.

Is Video Marketing Right for Your Audience? (Answer: Probably)

Video marketing has a universal appeal. Whether you’re marketing software solutions, specialty clothing, or home repair services, you can use video marketing to entertain your audience, educate customers about what you do, and create a unique image for your brand. Here’s why video marketing is such a powerful way to get your audience’s attention, no matter who that audience might be.

Video Is Popular Across Many Demographics

Video content is appealing and easy to consume. Everybody, from teens to seniors, is watching more and more videos online as time goes on. In fact, video has become more popular than text. For every one of your customers who prefers getting their information by reading blog posts, there are four others who would rather watch an effective video. And recent research from HubSpot found that video is the number-one type of content consumers want to see more of, with 54% of the people polled naming it as their first choice.

Know your audience: how to conduct market research for making effective videos

Video Is Engaging

Video helps engage your audience, even if they weren’t committed to learning more about your brand in the first place. Clicking the play button on a video takes minimal effort, as opposed to reading an article or even scrolling down an infographic. You can put effective videos on your landing pages to retain more visitors, or you can improve your email click-through rate by 13% simply by including the word “video” in the subject line. And video isn’t just engaging in the moment – it’s also memorable after the fact. HubSpot found that branded video content beat out text content, photo content, and audio content in terms of being memorable.

Most memorable content from brands


Effective video content is more memorable than photos, audio content, and text content, according to this research by HubSpot. Source

Video Is Great for Mobile Users

If your audience tends to use mobile (and these days, who doesn’t?), effective video is a good way to reach them. Reading a page of text is difficult on a smartphone screen, but it’s easy to watch a video while on the go.

The rise of mobile video


Mobile video plays have increased dramatically in the last few years, and the trend isn’t slowing down. Source

Effective Video Has a Good ROI

Over half of marketers, regardless of industry, say that video marketing offers a better ROI than any other form of marketing. Besides that, marketers who use video see 49% faster revenue growth than those who don’t.

The question isn’t whether effective video marketing can help you – it’s which type of video marketing will get you the best results. You can answer that question by learning more about your audience through market research.

Why Market Research Matters – And How You Can Do It

Market research is important because it helps companies make informed business and marketing decisions. By doing market research, you can find the answers to questions like:

  • Who is your average customer? How old are they, where do they live, and what kind of job do they have?
  • What does your audience need and want?
  • How much should you charge for your product or service?
  • How will demand for your product or service change over time? How can you stay current and relevant?
  • What kind of marketing materials will make the biggest impact on your audience?
  • What are your competitors doing? How can you stay ahead of them?

Pro tip: If you really want to go deep and strategic about market research, make sure to check out this book by Anne E. Beall

Market research can be time-consuming and expensive, so before you dive in, it’s important to know what you want to learn. Formulate some questions and design a research plan that will help you answer them efficiently. The more focused your questions and research methods are, the more time and money you’ll save.

There are two main types of market research: primary research and secondary research. Depending on what you’re trying to learn, you may need to use both of them.

Primary Research

Primary research is original data that you obtain directly from your audience. You can either do this type of research yourself or hire a market research service to do it for you. Conducting your own primary research will probably save you money, but it will take some time.

Some common sources of primary research data include:

  • User testing
  • Observing or engaging with your audience on social media
  • Your video analytics
  • Your video comments
  • Comments on your competitors’ videos and social media accounts
  • Your marketing analytics
  • Talking with customer-facing employees
  • Focus groups
  • Customer interviews
  • Surveys and questionnaires

Primary research for creating effective videos

Some of these sources of information are obviously more useful than others. For instance, it’s a good idea to monitor the comments on your existing videos, but if you have specific questions about your audience, comments alone probably won’t give you much information to go on. If you’re doing primary research, you’ll probably want to talk directly with your audience through surveys, interviews, and focus groups.

To ensure that you get useful information from your interactions, keep these tips in mind:

  • Get right to the point, especially if you’re asking people to complete a survey. The shorter your survey is, the more answers you’ll get. Avoid asking for personal information unless you really need it.
  • Give people a reason to help you out. You’ll get more responses if you offer a freebie, discount, or other incentive for completing your survey.
  • Keep your questions clear and easy to understand. Don’t ask questions that could be interpreted in an ambiguous way, and don’t include multiple questions with answers that could contradict each other.

Secondary Research

Secondary research is conducted through materials that are already published and available. It’s less hands-on than primary research. You can do secondary research by looking at things like:

  • Research studies that pertain to your industry
  • Local statistics
  • Public records
  • Company data
  • Industry blogs and magazines

Secondary research may not be quite as immediately applicable to your audience as primary research is. However, it’s useful for getting a big-picture overview of trends within your industry and the demographics of your audience. For instance, if you want to learn about your average customer’s income level, secondary research might be the best way to go about it.

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Tips for Making the Most of Your Market Research

Bad or misleading research can be worse for your marketing than not doing any research at all. Don’t waste your time and energy – here’s how you can make sure that you get useful results from your research.

Screen your survey respondents or interviewees carefully. You might want to gather as much information as possible, but if half of your responses are from people who aren’t that interested in your business, your results won’t reflect your core audience. So, for instance, don’t send a survey to your entire email list – send it to your most engaged subscribers instead.

Conduct all your interviews the same way. Before you sit down with your first interviewee, write up a list of questions to ask, and stick to the same format every time. Keeping things consistent will make it easier to compile your information and spot patterns later.

Be friendly and conversational. If you can put people at ease, they’ll be more up-front and honest with you.

Don’t push your product or service. Selling might feel like second nature to you, but right now your objective is simply to listen and learn.

Analyze your findings carefully. Try to take an objective view, instead of projecting your own assumptions onto the data. Allow yourself to be surprised by what you find.

Turning Your Market Research into Great Videos

Once you’ve got the results of your research, you’re ready to step up your effective video strategy. Here’s how you can create tailored videos for your audience.

What Should You Take Away from Your Research?

Once your market research is finished, you should be able to answer at least some of the following questions:

  • What are the average demographics of your audience?
  • How does your audience prefer to consume media?
  • How often do they watch video online? On what devices and platforms?
  • On average, what kind of tastes and sensibilities do they have?
  • What questions do they have about your product or service?
  • What pushes your audience’s emotional buttons?
  • What are your competitors doing? How can you improve on their strategy?

Knowing the answers to these questions can give you some initial direction and help you avoid creating videos that don’t resonate with your target market.

Defining Your Goals

Don’t get so wrapped up in your audience that you forget about your own video marketing goals. To create super-effective content, you’ll need to integrate your goals with your research findings. You probably already have some well-defined goals if you’ve done video marketing in the past. If not, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you want to accomplish with your overall effective video strategy? What about with each individual video?
  • How can you strengthen your brand’s unique image while catering to your audience’s needs?
  • What kind of stories does your brand have to tell, and what kind of delivery will make your audience most receptive to those stories?
  • What are your brand’s biggest strengths? What do you want to emphasize?
  • What kind of videos are you good at making?

Putting It All Together

Ready to put all your research and planning into practice? Here’s how you can create effective videos that are a hit with your audience.

Publish on platforms your audience uses. If your average customer hangs out on Facebook but doesn’t use YouTube much, for instance, upload your videos directly to Facebook. 

Spend some time on your titles. If you’re publishing on YouTube or Vimeo, give more than a moment’s thought to your titles. Choose something attention-grabbing and direct. As long as your title isn’t misleading, slight teasers can work well – make people feel like they just have to click and learn more.

Always write a script for your videos. Don’t “wing it” – your videos will turn out better if you plan them. Make sure your script touches on your audience’s needs and interests while remaining faithful to your brand’s image. It’s a good idea to write your script, sleep on it, and then review it the next day.

Free explainer video script

Pay close attention to tone and style. The way you say something is just as important as what you’re actually saying. Try to make your brand’s video personality mesh with your audience’s overall personality. Many potentially good marketing videos have fallen flat because they’re boring, they’re derivative, or they just didn’t click with their target audience.

Serve different segments of your audience. If there are several distinct “types” within your audience, create effective video content that will appeal to all of them. Make sure it’s easy to identify the intended audience for each effective video. For instance, if entrepreneurs make up part of your target market, you could launch a “Tips for Entrepreneurs” video series.

Get your audience involved. If your audience tends to be interactive and social (something you can discover as you do your market research), give them opportunities to get involved in your videos. For instance, invite them to do video interviews, help with product demos, or send you their own video clips.

When we decided to run the #makewaves video challenge, we asked our followers and users to submit their videos. As a result, not only did we watch great videos that came straight from our users but also learned about the topics that interest our customers.

Pay attention to your video analytics. Your new videos will probably perform well, but there are no guarantees in marketing. Keep an eye on how your videos are doing so that you can spot problems and adapt your strategy right away, if necessary.

Remember to focus on the customer. Great marketing isn’t about your business – it’s about the customer. No matter who your ideal customer is, they should be the star of your marketing videos. Your product or service is the sidekick, not the centerpiece. Placing the focus of your videos on the customer is a universal way to get viewers emotionally involved and create a positive association with your brand.

Wrapping Up

If video marketing is part of your content strategy, you need to invest some time and energy into getting to know your audience. A little market research can go a long way in helping you create effective videos. Whether you want to move more inventory, increase brand loyalty, or draw in new customers, understanding your audience will help you turn your goals into reality.

What’s your favorite way to do market research? Do your findings influence your video marketing strategy? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

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