The Academy
Lesson 3
Lesson 3
Build audiences

Four categories of data to build your audiences


How does Instagram know you recently saw that product? How does Netflix recommend you movies and tv shows? They collect data on you. Discover the 4 categories of data you can use to personalize your website showcasing real examples.


Hi, I'm Austin Distel, and in this lesson you'll discover the four categories of data, and the most common use cases to build audiences for highly personalized experiences. You ready? Let's do this. Action.

Why are TV advertisements so generic when internet ads are highly personalized? It's because of audience data. We give so much information about ourselves on social media and in search. So guess what the smart teams at Facebook and Google do with this data?

[Congressman] "How do you sustain a business model in which users don't pay for your service?"

[Mark Zuckerberg] "Senator, we run ads."

Why do you actually think they create quizzes like which Disney princess are you? It's because they're collecting data to optimize their advertising targeting. When brands know their users well, and when platforms integrate together, the end user's experience is greatly improved. Because I share my data that fuels a personalization algorithm, and now the ads that I see on Instagram are products I actually care about.

Let me bring up Amazon in incognito, and see if you recognize it. Look at this. They show such generalized products. Women's shoes, random trinkets.

This is not the Amazon I want. Now, let's see what it looks like when I'm logged in. Whoa, check that out. Here's the teleprompter I'm reading off of right now. Here are some of my favorite books and ones to read, which this targeting is on point.

They're showing bartending kits, which is great because I'm learning how to make cocktails this month.

And look at this – Amazon's even asking if I'm a Braves fan, since I grew up in Atlanta.

This logged in version of Amazon is way more helpful and delightful, and I know it all starts with my data.

So there are four categories of data which you will use to build audiences. Demographic, firmographic, behavioral and contextual.

Demographic data refers to an individual's traits such as their first name, their city, their age, their job title, and so on. While this data would be ideal to personalize from, there are a lot of laws protecting the use of personally identifiable information such as GDPR in the European Union.

The second category of data is firmographic data which relates to companies. Traits include industry, number of employees, annual revenue, their tech stack, and since business information is public record, most of my experience do involve using firmographic data.

B2B companies can even use data services like Clearbit to personalize for anonymous visitors using reverse IP lookup.

How might that work? Well, let's say somebody from PiedPiper visit your website, Clearbit recognizes their IP address, pulls in some information they know about the company, and Proof Experiences then adapts the website accordingly.

Another way to build audiences is pulling in traits from your CRM like HubSpot, Salesforce, Marketo, your Rolodex.

Third, you have behavioral data which changes based on events, not traits. An event could be like they looked at a product, or they watched a video. This is how Amazon shows you those products that you recently viewed, and Netflix brings you right back to the episode of The Office that you left off on. Season three episode 21... you know the one where Jim impersonates Dwight and then he puts on his glasses and ranks his three favorite things into order?

[Jim Halpert] "Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica."

[Dwight Schrute] "Bears do not... What is going on?"

The last category of data is contextual, which is often behind the scenes. This includes the visitor's device, their browser, the time of day.

I actually saw a pretty interesting use case of this recently, where I was on a plane trying to watch a movie, but it wasn't working. So I went to go and troubleshoot why, and the website personalized their help doc to me to match the fact that I was using a Macbook computer and the Chrome browser. So I read the help doc, I made the fix and was promptly able to go back to watching The Meg with Jason Statham.

So those are the four categories of data you'll use to build audiences. Proof has integrations with a lot of the major CRMs plus integrations with Segment and Clearbit, so building that perfect audience should be a breeze.

In the next video I'll explain the matrix that I use to plan and organized personalization campaigns. See you then.


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