Lesson 3

Defining Your Users: Basics of Demographics

As we already covered, you’re looking for the sweet spot where your business needs and the needs of your users intersect. But while you know your business well, truly knowing your users can be far more complicated.

Your target users’ demographics (gender, age, location, etc.) certainly matter, and we’ll get to those momentarily, but it’s important to remember that demographics alone tell only a part of this story.

As you develop an in-depth profile of your potential users, you’ll want to uncover demographics, psychographics and all of the contextual clues that may drive users to use your app, and keep them using it again and again. You can’t stop at creating a surface-level view of your target user. You have to understand that person’s context as well — their wants, needs and pain points.

Know the Demographics

We said before that your users’ demographics tell only a part of the story. While that is true, demographics are still the foundation of that story.

If you have an existing business and are considering how to move your current offerings into the app marketplace, you may find that your existing audience and target app users don’t overlap perfectly. If so, your current data is still a great starting point that you can build on with app market data. And if you are launching a new business or service via your app, general demographic research is a necessity.

Here’s a short list of what you’ll need to find out about potential users:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Spending habits
  • Location
  • Favorite apps

With this data in hand, you’ll know where your target audience spends their time and potentially uncover groups that you haven’t yet reached that you can target going forward.

Study the Psychographics

After the demographic research is done, you’ll want to turn to psychographics —the study and classification of people according to their attitudes, aspirations and beliefs. It’s a way to find out not just who might use your app, but why.

There are hidden motivators that power most of our choices in life — whether we’re seeking ease, relief, pleasure, laughter, sustenance, or happiness. Once you know what pain points your user is coming up against, or what motivates their behavior, you’ll have a better sense of what your app needs to do to meet their needs. These motivators can also come in handy for branding and marketing efforts.

Ratings and reviews on apps in the competitive space can be a goldmine of psychographic insight. Pay attention to moments when users say a certain app or feature makes them react strongly, both positively and negatively. Analyze what drove 1-star reviews versus 5-star reviews. Any time emotions are on display, take note and use this knowledge to better understand your users’ wants and needs.

Know Your User With Demographics and Psychographics

With demographic and psychographic insight, you can now build a more complete profile of your ideal user with a level of insight that’s just not possible with only one or the other.

There’s one more step, however, before you can count this exercise as complete.

Create a Persona...and Find Them

Track down members of your audience in real life and talk to them. Personal interviews can bring to light surprising facets of your audience’s relationship with apps (and the world in general).

The goal is to paint a portrait of your ideal user and then truly connect with them. For example, what does their dream fitness app do? If they could have a nutrition counter that measured calories with a snap of a picture, how often would they use it? Test out these kinds of scenarios to figure out how you can create the product of their dreams.

Keep Learning

In the next topic, we'll begin to look at the user acquisition process with an emphasis on finding quality users who will become long-term users of your app.

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