The Difference Between Target Audience and Traffic

Last Updated on February 21, 2019 by Michael Brockbank

So many people are striving to get as much traffic to their sites or social accounts as possible. In fact, they’ll do almost anything to see their visitor numbers rise. Is focusing too much on mere traffic good for the cause?

In reality, it’s your target audience you should be more concerned about.

What’s the difference between a target audience and traffic? In the long-term, it’s the income. One may help your site or social account look good while the other will actually help fill your pockets with money.

Which is Better for Income?

In layman’s terms, traffic is essentially any average Joe who visits your site…even if it’s for a few seconds. In many regards, even programmable bots are seen as traffic. Your target audience are the ones who will actively seek out your content and perhaps make a purchase.

The ones you target are the people who are more likely to buy your goods and services. By focusing on this group, you vastly improve elements like return-on-investment because these people are actually handing you money or supporting your cause.

What about when you use systems like AdSense? In this case, it doesn’t really matter who visits your site as long as they do it often. This is because AdSense already uses data Google collects to deliver ads to people when visiting your site.

Well, that is unless it shows an ad in context to your webpage. Then, it all falls down to the target audience again.

Artificially Inflating Numbers

Inflating Numbers

A lot of site owners try to artificially inflate their numbers in order to appear better than they actually are in terms of popularity. While many systems are cracking down on this, it’s still a common enough practice.

And I’m not just talking about “bot visitors” or fake follows on your social media accounts. Writers often try to game the system by writing “clickbaity” titles. They try to prey on various emotional aspects of the human mind to illicit a response.

In fact, there is a great deal of psychology behind creating clickbait or social shareable content. While this improves traffic, it doesn’t really create a solid base for a target audience.

What about using “follow-for-follow” tactics? A lot of social account owners will ask others to follow their accounts and in return follow the other person. This works exceptionally well to inflate how prolific the account is…but again, it doesn’t really connect with a good audience.

For one thing, the people who simply follow just to get a follow back may never read your stuff or watch your videos. Many of them do not care about what posts you create as long as his or her number of followers stays high.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s possible to artificially inflate while focusing on a target audience. In some systems, this may even improve visibility. But it doesn’t mean you’ll make a lot of money from doing so.

Using Twitch as an Example

I just started a Twitch account for ColoradoPlays. I was curious to join a team that promotes follow-for-follow to help small streamers become affiliates through Amazon. This means they’ll be more likely to make money on Twitch.

Sounds like a laudable goal, and quite honorable at its core. However, many people who surpass the “follow” requirement for Twitch to become an affiliate still do not make the cut.

One of the requirements for the affiliate program is to have an average of 3 visitors watching your broadcast throughout the month. In this case, inflating the number of followers without having people actually watch the broadcast doesn’t do much in terms of helping a small streamer make more money.

It’s all about creating that target audience who is willing to watch your broadcast. The number of followers doesn’t really matter if people don’t want to watch you…or read your content.

This scenario is commonplace in nearly every social media platform as well as blogging and website development.

Engaging the Target Audience

Audience

What can you do to improve you allure when trying to build a loyal base of fans? Well, the first step is to understand what the target audience wants. Let them guide you to the type of content they want to read or view.

You can find out this information through tools like Google Analytics and other trend-discovery systems.

Be Consistent

An important facet of developing a fan base is being consistent. This is crucial whether you’re a blogger or a YouTube creator. People like the idea of relying on certain content delivered at a certain time or date.

In my experience, my income from AdSense has nearly doubled since I began creating content on a regular Monday, Wednesday and Friday schedule for my health and fitness blog.

And I constantly read comments of YouTubers I watch as people complain when a daily show gets uploaded three hours late.

While you may not see an immediate impact, being consistent does improve building a target audience over time. In my case, it took about two to three months of regular publishing.

Provide High-Quality Information

Answer QuestionsIf you want to build a strong fan-base, make sure you deliver high-quality information. People should leave your website, YouTube or even Twitch broadcast fulfilled. It doesn’t matter if you’re focusing on entertainment or political news, it’s all about being authentic and factual.

Ask yourself, “What will someone learn by reading this blog post.” If the answer is nothing, then you might not deliver that superior experience. That is, unless you’re focusing on sharing your own experiences or entertaining the masses.

Then your target audience will be the ones who appreciate your efforts.

One of the highest-performing articles on any of my websites is one that answers an important question people have. Providing legitimate and fact-based answers is a great way to engage your target audience, especially when you link back to scientific or provable facts.

It demonstrates knowledge and helps you build a strong reputation.

Match the Title and Description to Content

Writing ContentOne of the biggest problems many writers have is creating titles and descriptions that don’t match the actual content. In many instances, this is where a lot of content becomes referred to as “clickbait.”

The problem with this practice is that it upsets many visitors, and most of them may never return to the site. Instead of focusing on a target audience and building loyalty, these developers simply want people to click.

You can learn to create good titles and descriptions which will engage potential visitors. But they won’t become fans of your work if the content doesn’t deliver what the title suggests.

In a world filled with “fake news,” it’s vital that you immediately engage people and demonstrate you are not part of that problem.

Connect with them on Social Media

Social SharingAnother good way to connect with your target audience is through social media. I’m not just talking about creating a profile and updating it any time you create a new post.

You need to be social if you want to get their attention. Respond to comments, join in the conversation and spend a few moments cultivating your following. Most people on social platforms do not want to follow an account that feels like it’s ran by a bot.

By making your visitors and followers feel like they are part of your success, you can easily develop loyal fans.

High Traffic Doesn’t Always Mean High Income

Just because you have a high number of followers or see visitor rates climb on your site, it doesn’t mean you’ll make money. Remember the Twitch example above. It takes engaging a target audience to really make a site or social profile lucrative.

Otherwise, it’s just a number good for nothing more than bragging rights in many situations.

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Michael Brockbank

Michael has been a freelance writer since January of 2012. He has completed more than 8,000 jobs for a variety of clients ranging from animals to travel. Currently, he is the Content Marketing Team Lead of GreenGeeks Web Hosting.

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