situational audience analysis
Research Intelligence

Situational Audience Analysis – Your Ticket to Higher Conversion

by Molly Winik , Senior Digital Research & eCommerce Specialist 6 Min.
June 28, 2021 | Updated June 26, 2022

We’ve all been there. In that situation where you find yourself asking over and over again, How did I end up here? Maybe it’s a social event where you’re under-dressed. Or a job interview where you feel completely unprepared. Regardless, you’re probably kicking yourself for not preparing for the situation.

But that’s exactly what you’ll do next time. You’ll ask yourself the right questions, do research on who you’re meeting with, and get a lay of the land before rushing in. 

The point I’m trying to make: You’ve done situational analysis before without realizing

But, that’s just in everyday life. What happens when you try to apply situational audience analysis to improve your performance in the digital world? 

In this case, you need to analyze your audience and understand what to expect from them in different situations. Where do you start? You can investigate the factors that impact a customer’s state of mind. Depending on the circumstances that lead a visitor to your content, their knowledge, their level of attention, and their ability to process information varies.

At the end of the day, you need a complete understanding of your audience in every potential situation.  

similar web audience analysis

What is situational audience analysis?

In the traditional sense, situational audience analysis looks at the situation for which your audience is gathered. This could be a birthday party, job interview, concert – really any time when a group of people come together. When conducting traditional situational analysis, you define expectations or norms for each situation to predict your audience’s attitudes

Take a public speaker for example. Their success lies in their ability to understand what it takes to get the audience’s attention. Do attendants view the speaker as an authority or an unknown amateur? Do they need any visual aids? What motivation brought them? What about the size of the audience

What does this have to do with digital research? Just swap out professional speakers for any website hoping to satisfy its customers and you have your answer. It’s all about audience research

In the online world, we take target audience analysis a step further by looking at the digital factors that affect how a customer absorbs information, including demographic information, familiarity with the subject, attitude towards the company, ad copy, trending topics or products, and more.

Situational audience analysis goes digital  

When you think about people arriving at your website, on your blog, , or to a pricing page, the connection with traditional situational analysis in a physical setting is clear. 

Below we break down some of the situational factors that can help you determine what your visitors expect from your content.

different situational audience analysis

Depending on what category your audience falls into, you can plan your content strategy accordingly. For example, if you notice that many visitors to your homepage are new users, then you’ll want to have some top-of-the-funnel content easily accessible to explain your company right off the bat. Or maybe you sell all types of shoes but you notice that most of your audience is middle-aged men, you’ll need to adjust your business plan accordingly.  Make sure to avoid general stereotyping when lasering in on one segment of your audience though.

Metrics to measure in your situational audience analysis

The purpose of situational audience analysis is to get a better understanding of the visitor’s mindset so you can choose the best-suited channels for content distribution. This means you’ve got to optimize your strategy.

Expand on demographics

After you’ve investigated the typical demographic factors of your audience, such as age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, socioeconomic status, and etc., you want to add parameters that are specific to your business. This is where you start understanding the situation in context and define different audiences. For example, B2B companies will often want to include position or seniority in the company as part of their audience analysis. On the other hand, streaming companies might put more emphasis on how each audience segment arrives on the website.  

Similarweb’s Digital Research platform does more than just monitor and track demographics. You can find a variety of research methods to compare and correlate demographic data. See the demographic make-up of your visitors who arrive through different channels and stay up-to-date on what your audience is searching for so that you can stay as relevant as possible.

Situational audience analysis interests

Compare new vs. returning visitors

Someone new visiting your website won’t have much of an idea of what to expect from you while returning customers are familiar with the navigational features, the design, and what you offer. They are also familiar with the level of expertise they can expect from your content.

Similarweb lets you measure the number of new vs. returning users to your website. How do you differentiate the two? We define new users as unique visitors who have not visited the site for at least three months. Whereas returning users are the opposite, i.e., every user who did visit within a three-month period. 

new vs returning visitors

When looking at audience acquisition, you want to understand the ratio of net new visitors compared to the number of returning visitors in order to gauge the traction or ‘stickiness’ of a website. A sticky website is one that customers frequently visit and don’t wander off to find alternatives. The higher the frequency of purchases or clicks by returning users, indicates that your website is engaging and providing a positive customer experience.

Understanding traffic channels

Don’t forget to investigate how your visitors reach each page on your website as it helps paint the picture as to why a specific audience member is there and gives you insight into their intent. For example, when someone arrives via social media or paid search, they are likely to be from your targeted audience and may have more potential to convert than someone who lands on your site from search, which can bring in a wider pool of visitors.  

After building a complete breakdown of marketing channels and the amount of traffic they drive to your pages, you can deep-dive into a traffic channel analysis by segmenting your website to identify the strongest channels for different products or subjects.

Correlate channels with demographic analysis and other engagement metrics to get a clear picture of the situational factors affecting users. 

marketing channels similarweb

Monitor device use

Visitors experience your content differently on mobile web than on desktop. They are also likely to be in a different mindset. 

Make sure that the user’s experience is tailored to whatever situation they are in when they reach you. If you discover 80% of your visitors engage with your site online and your purchase page is optimized for desktop only, you have an easy step to optimize your website. 

Measure time spent on page

If you find specific pages have a very high bounce rate and low time on page, you need to figure out how to make them more engaging for your audience. This is where digging into your pages and your audience can be beneficial. Knowing where your audience spends the most (or least) amount of their time will help maximize your ROI on highly visited pages.   

Make it a habit to track and measure the average time people spend on key pages of your website. Check out some of the different ways you can track user engagement and get a deeper understanding of customer behavior with Similarweb.  

traffic and engagement metrics similarweb

Use trend analysis

Popular apps, preferred types of content, and even trending keywords rub off on your audience. To be perceived as forward-moving, you need to stay current with going trends. 

Another aspect is seasonality. Every industry has its seasonal fluctuations, not just the obvious ones like skiing equipment or popsicles. Analyze how significantly these affect your audience and how their behavior changes during different times of the year or around the holidays. Once you’ve identified key traffic periods, align your marketing campaigns accordingly.

Bottom line 

If you want to optimize your website to achieve your goals, understanding the makeup of your audience and their expectations is fundamental. With digital data platforms like Similarweb’s Research Intelligence, you can conduct audience analysis and isolate behaviors and expectations of your audience, by specific pages, traffic channels, devices, and other situational factors. Start your situational audience analysis now with Similarweb.  

similar web methodology

This blog post was written by Ruth M. Trucks.


What are examples of situational analysis?

Company, customers, competitors, collaborators, and climate

Is situational analysis the same as SWOT?

Situational analysis is the process of collecting information to analyze the internal and external affairs of a business. SWOT looks at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

This post is subject to Similarweb legal notices and disclaimers.

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