Up-Level Your Market Research Without Spending a Dime


One Secret for Quick 'n' Dirty Audience Research

Knowing how to research your brand or client’s audience is a key factor in going from entry-level marketer to expert/ninja/[insert other superlatives ad nauseam]. But, not everyone can afford the cost of hiring research firms or utilizing expensive social listening platforms.

My favorite social listening platform is Netbase. At around $100k a year, I can only use it when one of my clients has a subscription.

So, What Do You Do When You Need to Research Your Audience?

There are plenty of free methods that have worked well for me, from publicly available research to articles from respected journalists.

Sometimes, though, you only need a rough estimate of audience size. For that, I turn to Facebook.

Facebook has over 2 billion monthly active users across the globe – about 1/3 of the world. So when it comes to data powerhouses – at least ones that you can freely access – it’s the place to go.

How to "Guesstimate" an Audience

  1. Navigate to your Ad Manager, and create a test campaign. The objective doesn’t matter because you really want to move on to the next screen.

  2. Press continue, and you’ll land on a page titled “Ad Set.”

  3. From there, scroll down and use Facebook’s own targeting tools to estimate the audience for your client, a prospect, or a new product line.

Facebook Market Research Example.png

Say, for example, that you knit hats for giraffe-lovers and sell them in Portland. Facebook estimates 1,200 people are interested in giraffes within 25 miles of Portland.

Of course, you can expand that targeting to animal lovers or those who like knit hats. But, this is the level of detail you can find on Facebook.

*Note: Alas, Facebook recently changed their advertising options, so you can no longer estimate net worth among giraffe-lovers in Portland. Still, there are a ton of interesting tidbits you can find.



What kind of hacks do you use to power your marketing efforts? Tell me on Twitter @TomBasgil.