Doing effective customer research is a challenging task that requires a lot of legwork. In a typical customer research process, marketers struggle to find out where their customers hang out, what they like, who they follow, what publications they read, what podcasts they listen to, and a lot more. This shows how understanding your customer and knowing how to reach them in a non-spammy way can be a considerably huge task. Additionally, almost everything in today’s highly digitized world is data-driven. For this reason, you should learn how to derive value from this data in order to succeed.
So, how exactly can marketers pull credible data that can be used to generate actionable insights, not only for marketing but also for SEO purposes? This kind of problem calls for an innovative solution, an approach based on audience intelligence as opposed to providing the usual, basic metrics.
In this review, we take a peek at SparkToro – an audience intelligence tool that helps you find the right customers for your products. We will explore what the tool does, how it works, and who uses it. The review will also cover+ SparkToro’s pricing structure and highlights a couple of helpful tools offered by the SparkToro team.
What is SparkToro?
Sparktoro is a tool that lets marketers perform customer and audience research in an innovative, effortless, and reliable manner. It was launched in 2019 by Rand Fishkin, a renowned powerhouse in the world of SEO and digital marketing powerhouse. Rand is widely recognized and credited for his role as the founder and former CEO of Moz, one of the big guns when it comes to SEO. According to Rand, SparkToro is built on the three benchmarks of audience intelligence. These are:
- Identifying and understanding audiences across multiple channels
- Knowing the audience density
- Providing in-depth, trustworthy, and valuable metrics for marketing and SEO.
SparkToro provides access to aggregated data pulled from millions of public websites and social profiles. These include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Craigslist, Amazon, CNN, eBay, Walmart, Reddit, Quora, Forbes, Netflix, Yahoo, Google, YouTube, and many more With data from SparkToro, you can:
- Build your outreach campaign
- Prioritize your outreach, social, content, and SEO campaigns
- Analyze your brand’s audience and that of your competitor
- Discover opportunities for link building, amplification, and coverage
- Compare attributes of audiences
- And much more…
Who uses SparkToro?
SparkToro is primarily built for anyone who wants to perform a comprehensive customer or audience research. It brings to an end all the frustrating days of audience research by providing productive, data-driven insights in a matter of seconds. This tool uncovers reliable data that can be used by a wide range of folks, including:
- Content marketers
- Social media strategists
- Sales and marketing leaders
- SEO enthusiasts
- PR teams
- Advertising professionals
- Product managers
- Authors and creators
Core Functions of SparkToro
SparkToro provides three primary interconnected features, namely: audience Intelligence, compare audiences, and product search. In this section, we dive into each of the three tools and how they can be used.
- Audience Intelligence
The audience intelligence feature lets you search for audiences and uncover shared characteristics. It crawls millions of websites and social profiles to find out more about your target audience. You can learn what websites your customers visit, who they follow, what podcasts they listen to, or even what stuff they share and talk about online. This kind of data could be challenging to find by performing basic keyword research. With SparkToro, it’s pretty simple.
- Go to SparkToro’s products page and click on Audience Intelligence
- On my audience, use the drop-down to choose the criteria you’d like to use when gathering data about your target audience
- Then enter a descriptor- it could be a website, hashtag or social account, depending on the search criteria. You can also use the add location for more filtered results.
- Once done, hit search and wait for results to load.
In a matter of seconds, SparkToro’s audience intelligence returns tons of statistically analyzed, aggregated, and actionable data. For our search query, a whopping 218,103 sources are actively talking about SEO. By default, SparkToro provides detailed information about the sources. It is usually grouped in five tabs, namely social, websites, podcasts, YouTube, and audience insights. You can toggle between the tabs for more information, as shown below.
- Compare Audiences
The compare audience’s tool is used to examine the similar characteristics between two groups of audiences. For instance, using the above example, we can compare “people who talk about SEO” and “people who describe themselves as digital marketers”. The input details will be as follows:
The comparison result will show the characteristics and behavior of the two groups of audiences and how they intersect. As you can see out of the 218,103 accounts that are interested in SEO, 45,767 use the term digital marketer in their bio or profile description. You can learn more about how the two audiences compare by scrolling down the compare page.
- Product Search
Profile search lets you find more information about a specific website or social profile. To find more intel about a specific entity, enter their website URL or social profile ID, as shown below.
Upon analyzing the domain SEOmofo.com, SparkToro returns detailed information about people who visit their audience. This includes social followings, websites visited by people who frequent this domain, the geographic distribution of users who share this domain, social accounts frequented by accounts sharing this domain, and more.
More free tools from SparkToro
The SparkToro team offers a range of free tools to help marketers analyze their Twitter accounts (or other user accounts) and keep up with the current trends in the world of marketing. These include:
- Fake Followers Audit
This tool looks at over 25 factors when analyzing the followers of any twitter account. It can reliably uncover the percentage of fake followers- whether they’re spam accounts, bots, inactive users, or other non-real users. A large number of people are often misinformed by the follower count, which is a vanity metric. So, this audit tool is super-helpful when measuring the potential reach or influence of a particular Twitter account.
To get this right, we performed a fake follower audit for SEOmofo. Here is a snapshot showing the results at the time of writing.
SparkToro identified 14.2 % of the followers as potentially fake due to inactivity, suspiciously low number of followers, times listed, URL issues, location issue, and profile details.
The trending tool shows you what marketers or other professionals you’re interested in are talking about on Twitter. It provides information based on what thousands of Twitter users are posting and sharing. By connecting your twitter profile, your tweets will also count in the system. With Trending, users can always stay on top of things.
Sparkscore lets you determine the actual level of engagement or influence of Twitter users. It calculates your account’s sparkscore on a scale of 0 to 100. The score is a true reflection of an account’s level of interaction, engagement, and influence. Accounts that tweet more and receive a higher number of likes, comments, retweets, and shares are more visible, influential, and impactful.
SparkToro’s pricing structure
SparkToro has a four-tiered pricing structure, so there’s an ideal plan for every type of user. The free plan is great for users who would like to test SparkToro’s functionality. However, the free plan has significant limitations, so if you already like the tool, consider making a subscription to unlock more functionalities. Any of the three paid options will give you access to all features, including audience intelligence, comparison, profile search and lists.
The basic plan works best for individual consultants and in-house marketers. Next up is the premium plan which serves small agencies and in-house marketing teams perfectly. The last and most advanced plan is the unlimited plan which is designed for content marketing teams, mid-to-large agencies as well as enterprises. Below is a summary of SparkToro’s pricing structure and the features offered by each package.
|Annual Billing||$0/month||$1,344 billed annually ($112/month)||$2,700 billed annually($225/month)||$5,400 billed annually ($550/month)|
|Monthly search limit||5 searches||Up to 100 searches||Up to 500 searches||Unlimited searches|
|Nature of search results||Limited to sampling of results||Limited to top 50 results||Shows all results||Shows all results|
|Number of users||Single User||Up to 5 users||Up to 25 users||Up to 50 users|
|Export Functions||Not supported||Up to 50 rows||Unlimited||Unlimited|
SparkToro also offers a very unusual plan in SaaS pricing- the 7-day pass. This is a one-time billing that gives you a week of unlimited use for only $450. The 7-day pass is ideal for product managers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and users who need to perform intensive customer research once or twice every year. It also helps consultants and agencies with project-based billing.
The good thing about SparkToro is that you can change plans or cancel your subscription or at any time. Users who are having issues with the tool can contact their responsive customer support team via firstname.lastname@example.org.
SparkToro addresses some of the most pressing issues in the world of digital marketing. With audience intelligence at its heart, using this tool can immensely transform your marketing endeavors. At its core, SparkToro helps you with three key things. First, it helps with identifying valuable audiences across different channels. Second is identifying the density of your audience around a particular source and third, providing credible metrics that matter. Overall, SparkToro’s innovative set of tools and features are perfect for a wide range of use-cases, and definitely worth a try.