The best tools to get killer customer data (for free!)

Customer data is vital to the success of any business. It determines decisions and informs everything from PR campaigns to product launches and channel investment, whilst allowing businesses to plan, monitor and track any potential buying habit or industry changes.

Put simply, the more understanding you have of your customers, the better you will do.

However, in today’s world of GDPR and cybersecurity, consumers are becoming less likely to share their data with businesses due to the fear of how that data will be used.

A recent report by PWC suggest that only 25% of consumers believe most companies handle their sensitive personal data responsibly. Even more concerning, 69% of consumers believe companies are vulnerable to hacks and cyberattacks. 

As this reluctance from consumers to share their data grows, the need for businesses to find new sources for this data does too. To help business struggling to overcome this lack of data, I’ve pulled together a list of some of my favourite tools for marketers to inform and structure their marketing plans. All the below are available either online or within your business currently, and the best part? They’re all free!

Audiense

Audiense is a paid for tool but also has a free version which offers a truly remarkable level of customer data.

As an official partner of Twitter, this complex and innovative tool uses machine learning to understand customer likes and dislikes, based on who they follow, what social accounts they engage with and even compliments this data with IBM Watson, to offer, what I believe to be the best customer data tool online.

The easy to use platform asks for keywords, and once submitted runs a report which shows you –

  • Likes and dislikes of customers
  • What magazines and websites they read and the radio stations they listen to
  • Buying habits
  • Online behaviour
  • Influencers
  • Customer interests

Check out the screen grabs below for a test report I pulled, based on people who engage with Captain Marvel:

Social Searcher

As with many free tools, there is also a paid element to Social Searchers.

This tool brand themselves as the ‘social media search engine’. It allows users to input keywords to gain an understanding of what content customers engage with around those terms.

It searches 11 social media platforms such as Twitter and Reddit and allows you to download a report showing:

  • Sentiment
  • Top keywords
  • Users engaging with those terms
  • Sites who talk about the terms your customers are engaging with

I have pulled a report below using the keyword acoustic guitars to give you an understanding of what data can be found:

Google Analytics

Probably one the most commonly used tool across the marketing community, Google Analytics allows you to track visits to your site, set up goals and track conversions.

The tools itself is simple to set up and offers a wealth of data such as:

  • Conversions
  • Demographics of visitors to your site
  • How many visitors come to your site
  • Referral traffic
  • Top performing content and pages
  • Time on site

Image of the google analytic dashboard below:

Talking to your Paid team

This one isn’t technically a tool, but in my experience is one of the best ways to find more data on your brand’s audience. If you have a paid team, either in-house or agency side you should 100% be talking to them as they have a wealth of customer data which can be used to inform other areas of your marketing strategy.

I recently blogged about this topic in more detail here, but to summarise your paid team should be able to give you the below information:

  • What domains are working well from display
  • Audience and segments data
  • Which publications convert best
  • Key topics of publications

Post from David White