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How to Detect a Mobile App Target Audience [Methods and Common Mistakes]

Table of contents
Why Is It Important to Know Your Mobile App Target Audience? How to Detect a Mobile App Target Audience in 8 Steps App Target Audience: Devlight Approach and Example Detecting Tips: Where and How to Gather Info Common Mistakes Summary

Business success and big sales are impossible without understanding who you are selling to. Let’s figure out how to determine the pool of users to target your app and what simple stages will help you tackle this complicated process.

Why Is It Important to Know Your Mobile App Target Audience?

A target audience is a group of people who are potentially interested in your offer. Determining this user category helps you properly address customers and build communications competently. In addition, knowledge of the target audience helps to choose the right channels for promotion and rationally use the budget.

Any mobile app has a specific direction: it offers a product or service and delves into a specific topic. Only a certain group of people are naturally interested in it because no app in the world can cater to all. You need to find these people and understand how to make the app entertaining to them and make them want to stay longer. Once you have a good mindset, you can create data-driven content, focusing on the things that matter most to your intended users.

How to Detect a Mobile App Target Audience in 8 Steps

In order to create an application that will cover the user’s needs and provide value, it is necessary to define the target audience clearly. Know your target users to create an app that will fit them, make them want to stay, invest money into your project, and share it with others. First study those you target and then shape the data you have about them into a tangible product. 

Here is the guide we follow at Devlight to offer our development solutions based on TA analysis and not guesswork: 

Step 1. Identify Your App’s Business Value

A business should be profitable to bring mental and material satisfaction. To reach this, app owners should, first of all, focus on the needs of customers and satisfy them to the maximum: sell what the market dictates, what is in demand by consumers. At the same time, the price should be within the preferable or reachable maximum.

Identify your app’s business value, remembering that a customer doesn’t buy your app as such but seeks the next benefits:

  • solving some of their problems;
  • satisfying some of their certain needs.

Keep that in mind and pack your application into a convenient form meeting at least one or, ideally, two of these requirements.

Step 2. Conduct Market Research

Marketing analysis is the collection and processing of information with the aim of creating a foundation for further planning and achieving the best combination of 4P (product, price, promotion, place). Study the market to be ready to form your offer: what product you sell, at what price, how you are going to tell others about it, and where people can interact with your product. 

Step 3. Explore Your Current User Base 

You may explore your current user base or start building it from scratch. You can customize Google Analytics to perform in-depth target audience analysis if you already have a website. Suppose your business has a website blog, custom relationship management system, social media accounts, live chat system, or YouTube channel. In that case, you may already operate with lots of data about your client’s behavior. 

But what if you’re building a business from scratch with no customers? Then creating a landing page can be a rational solution. This typically one-pager can describe the benefits of your future application with a call-to-action or a survey at the end. Apply Google Analytics to your ads page traffic to study the psychographics, geographic locations, demographics, and your site visitors’ preferred devices.

Step 4. Find Out Who Uses Your Competitors’ Apps

Select your competitors, gather data on their audience, then study and describe their characteristics — check user reviews in the app stores. This can give you a variety of insights into the needs and wants of your potential users, as well as features they expect in your app and services that are not that necessary.

To break down the profiles of your intended users, you can examine your competitors’ social media activity: focus on the posts with the best conversion, read comments, and even visit the accounts of the most active followers. What are they like? How do they behave? Additionally, you can study the results of marketing campaigns and ASO strategies used by the competitors to find out what is and isn’t working for your target audience.

Step 5. Draw up a Preliminary Target User Profile

  • Target Audience Demographics (region, city/rural area, sex or gender age range, educational level, field of activity, nationality and language, income, family size)
  • Target Audience Preferences. At this stage, you need to find out what the audience knows about the area you need, what they think about it, how they feel about it, and how they act. Answer the questions about:
    – self-efficacy — do they believe they can solve the problem?
    – social norms and social support — how does society’s attitude to their problem influence the audience, and what level of support do users expect
    – personal protection — do they think they can solve this problem on their own, and in what way?
  • Target Audience In-Market Behavior (communication channels they use often and rarely, are they emotional buyers or picky clients, how likely are they to switch from their favorite product already existing on the market to yours and why)
  • Target Audience Psychographics (needs and concerns, desires, values, interests, occupation, thoughts on general topics, lifestyle, and traits)

You should also detect user pains from obvious to masked at this stage. This method is one of the most effective when it comes to positioning a product or service. Sometimes it is not so important how old your target customer is and where they live, but what “pain” they suffer from and what task you can solve for them. 

Step 6. Find Fictional Prospects in Real Life

Seek real people who fit your target user profile and whom you can contact to discuss their needs and desires. You can find eligible respondents offline in your local area, including family members, acquaintances,  friends, neighbors, coaches, colleagues, etc., or while attending various offline events (e.g., master classes, entertainment events).

Interact with these people to see whether they match all the characteristics you imagined for your potential user profile. If not, iterate changes to make the fictional profile closer to the real one. Make sure your profiles act and think like real people. Then, start using channels to reach out to your audience. Creating a simple landing page to collect user data and encourage people to subscribe is another great method to find prospects.

Step 7. Create Your User Personas

This step is necessary to turn your abstract data into a realistic composite image. Look at all the recorded characteristics and pictures, not columns with lines but a living person. Give them a name, describe their weekday and weekend, relationships with loved ones, shopping behavior, etc. And so for each segment of the target audience. Now you will know exactly how to approach this person and how to attract them.

Psychological and social portraits that can be created using segmentation will help to make up an average portrait and better “feel” your audience. Determine what they need and at what time.

Step 8. Iterate and Revise

You need to control who your potential and existing customers are, from product creation to cost calculations and sales channel definition. It will be possible to create the necessary goods only if you imagine who your buyer is and what their portrait is. The effectiveness of promotion depends on this. Revise your audience from time to time so that you can effectively respond to new needs and change the product if necessary.


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App Target Audience: Devlight Approach and Example

First, you must draw up a plan for analyzing the target audience. We offer the following steps to understand what kind of consumer your brand is: interests, demographics, needs, and so on. Here is an example of how we do it at Devlight with a real case of Vodafone Neobank:

– User Research. Ask about the characteristics that matter to your potential users, the reasons for the purchase, and the important features. After a detailed survey, answer the following questions:

  • What key needs should the product solve?
  • What are the main consumer requirements for the product?
  • Are there specific socio-demographic characteristics of your audience (gender, age, occupation, social status)?
  • How do the psychographic features of my target audience look (lifestyle, life position, values, motivation for buying)?
  • How and where does the customer find out about the product?
  • How will the customer buy the product? What will motivate them to purchase?

– User Profiling & Segmentation. There is no need to be afraid of segmenting and reducing the circle of potential customers. Such actions will only increase profits if done correctly. Creating the user avatar is an effective concept when it comes to user profiling. It is practically an advanced version of the target audience. The difference lies in the fact that you no longer define a group of people but specific individuals. That is, you develop your advertising campaign for a specific person but make it work for thousands of average individuals.

– In-Depth and Quantitative Interviews. Quantitative and qualitative analysis are complementary methods that can be combined in surveys to provide comprehensive results. Simply put, quantitative data gives you numbers to back up the general points of your research. Qualitative data provide details for a deep understanding of their full implications. At Devlight, we conduct interviews to better understand our mobile app target audience and validate focus group ideas.

Mobile App Target Audience Detecting Tips: Where and How to Gather Info

We have prepared tools that allow you to collect customer data. We will only give working mechanisms that allow us to describe the target audience and draw up a portrait of a potential buyer:

  • Live Communication

Consider real-life examples. Think about your friends or relatives who suffer from a certain inconvenience and would like to try a product that could solve it. Chances are your social circle shares the same values as you as a business owner: ask them about their vision of your product or what they lack in competitors’ products. Attend places where you can potentially meet your TA and dedicate some time to small talk.

  • Social Network

Most social networks offer convenience mobile app target audience analysis instruments inside the app. Just open the analytics sections to learn reliable data on your audience’s gender, age, and preferences.

  • Statista

This German company gathers user data and provides ready-made target audience solutions. Statista can be a perfect instrument for surveys, marketing campaigns, and studying buying behaviors. The platform is available on a subscription basis, allowing you to create a profile with your company’s data and track real-time market trends or user survey results. 

  • Google Trends

They will help you keep track of market trends, the geography of interest in the product, the level of recognition of the company, and competitors. You can also monitor the information field and be aware of trends. 

  • Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a service for analyzing user behavior on the Internet. It is a must-have for website owners and internet marketers interested in studying their app audience. In Google Analytics, you can find information such as:

  • demographic characteristics of the audience (language, country, city);
  • information about the operating systems used to visit your site;
  • mobile device data;
  • traffic sources;
  • features of behavior;
  • demographic data;
  • interests;
  • geography.
  • Online Survey Tools

When you urgently need to conduct small market research on the app audience, study its needs or get the opinion of customers that is relevant to the business, online survey services come to the rescue. Many tools differ in their purpose and functionality: Google Forms, Survey Monkey, Survio, EXAMINAIRE, etc.

  • Marketing Campaigns

Market research campaigns will take the most resources. This is logical because they are the most effective way to collect information about consumers. Run an ad on your landing page or post about your app and see which audience interacts with the post or site. You will definitely need this useful information when determining the mobile app’s target audience. Seek all ways to interact with the target audience to gather the next data: 

  • their age;
  • gender;
  • level of education;
  • field of activity;
  • the approximate level of income;
  • hobby;
  • what is the most important factor to them when making a purchase;
  • why would they place an order from you;
  • what they like/dislike about the project, etc.

This is not an exhaustive list; many more questions could be included. Finally, you can grant your client for completing the survey a bonus encouraging them for more purchases: a discount, bonuses, or a sticker for a computer or smartphone.

  • Forums and Message/Image Boards

Internet oldies like forum sites know much about people’s preferences. An ordinary user will bypass such platforms, so only the dedicated stay. Forums are attended only by those who talk about their personal experience of using the products. Yes, they are almost a forgotten phenomenon. But such sites show what people pay attention to when choosing a product.

  • Reviews Platforms

89% of users responded they are likely to check reviews on the product before subscribing or paying any fees. Clearly, reviews are essential to increase sales and product awareness. As a product creator, you can study the feedback on the app’s pages to see the behavioral patterns of your target audience. Who is leaving comments? Who are these people? What are they dissatisfied with? 

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Finding Your Mobile App Target Audience: Common Mistakes

  • Making a product, not solving customer problems

In business, the main thing is not the product but the customers. Many app owners forget about it and first deeply work on their product, releasing it to the market and then trying to find a suitable audience for it.

  • Believing that everyone in the world needs your product

Describing the target audience is a long and painstaking task: you need to search, analyze, and iterate changes. Therefore, sometimes you just want to call your target audience “women aged 20–40, married, with children, and an average income.” Especially since your product seems unique and important to everyone, you don’t want to limit yourself to narrow segments.

In fact, such “women aged 20–40” are very different. Even if you sell something mundane, the mothers you target will have different tastes. If you don’t hit the proper mobile app target audience, you will waste money by creating an application that doesn’t cover the needs of users and doesn’t encourage them to purchase any services from you.

  • Thinking that all TA representatives are the same

The target audience always falls into several segments: poorer and richer people and those with different opportunities, goals, and needs. For example, all people interested in a healthy lifestyle visit the gym, but someone wants to lose weight, someone just wants to stay active, and others want to build muscles and gain weight.

You can easily miss individual groups if you make a single portrait of the target audience. Sometimes, completely different people, for example, men and women, fall into the portrait of the target audience. Even if they are similar in some respects, they need different approaches: their own advertising, their own communication strategy, and social media content.

Mobile App Target Audience: A Brief Summary

When launching the app, you must always consider the target audience: creating a product means evaluating advertising campaigns, developing a pricing policy, and choosing sales channels. By understanding who your target audience is and what is important to them, you will be able to create popular products and effective communications. In general, the target audience analysis should answer the next questions:

  • who needs your product?
  • what user pains does your product solve?
  • where and how can the customer get the product?
  • how does the customer get to know about the product?

Use all of this data to direct your marketing campaigns better and adjust the final app to the market requirements: from UX to calls to actions, everything should focus on the users you are targeting.

How to Detect a Mobile App Target Audience: FAQ

How Long Does It Take To Find the Mobile App Target Audience?

Creating a user persona for an app can take a few days. Carrying out client surveys involving focus groups may require weeks and months. Generally, a basic target audience app analysis will take several weeks to a month.

Who Should Search for the Target Audience for Your Application?

Is There a Difference in the Target Audience for Android and iOS Apps?

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