As a content marketer, whenever I start working on a new project for my clients, I begin with customer research.
As a marketer, you may know what your audience likes, dislikes, where they hang out most of the time, popular social profiles that they follow, and many more.
But what if you get a client from the patent industry?
Unless you’re a patent lawyer turned into a marketer, you have zero knowledge about the industry and the people of your niche.
In this case, we lack data and information about our target audience.
Normally, we do manual research through tools and search engines, spying some popular social accounts in that field.
Unfortunately, performing this kind of detailed research isn’t a fast process, neither an easy job.
This is where SparkToro claims to be the best-fit solution for all the marketers out there.
In this blog post, we’ll find out:
- What is Sparktoro?
- Features of this tool that you should care about
- How to use this?
- Free tools come from SparkToro
Let’s dive right into each of these individually.
What is SparkToro?
The co-founder of this brand is Rand Fishkin. The man behind the Moz and the famous Whiteboard Friday series.
This is one of the reasons I believe that SparkToro is in safe hands.
Now, let’s see how the brand is positioning this tool in the market.
In short, this is a tool that gives you data-driven insights about your audience. But don’t limit your view on the power of this tool.
After spending hours on this tool, I realized that there are endless opportunities to leverage SparkToro, which I’ll also discuss in this article.
Along with audience insights, this will be helpful for you if you’re interested in:
- Targeting the right influencers,
- Guest posting strategies,
- Competitor analysis,
- And more.
Let’s start understanding the features that it offers. To do that first thing that you need to do is sign up for a free account.
Features of SparkToro
My first impression of this tool is great because of the clean UI and clear UX.
Once you land on the homepage, you’ll see a search bar where you just need to type your key term.
So I’ll go with my favourite one, content marketing.
By default, SparkToro gives you the option of “My Frequently talks about,” but you can tweak this as per what you’re looking for.
Options that you’ll get here are:
My audience uses these word(s) in their profile: Helpful when you’re looking for a specific set of people in a specific niche.
My audience follows the social account: Learn about the audience’s behavior following any specific social profiles.
My audience frequently visits the website: Get audience insights from a specific website. It’s more of competitor research.
My audience frequently uses these hashtag: If you want to know about your audience that uses any particular hashtag.
Analyze a specific website or social account: This is just another way of doing competitor research and understanding their audience.
Let’s move to the actual data for the key term ‘Content marketing.’
Once you search for your key term, you’ll see the overview of:
- Audience insights
- Social profiles
This is how the overview of audience insights looks like:
SparkToro measures the audience size based on their database matching your key term.
Since content marketing is quite popular, seeing a large audience size is fair enough.
Now, the second interesting data is about the top phrases.
That means I can access the keywords that my target audience is using in their social profile bios and about.
The best part is the database isn’t just limited to Facebook or LinkedIn.
It searches for more than 70 million unique profiles and more than 18 social networks.
That ensures that you’ll get the accurate result for your search term.
Also, if you’re someone who wants to explore what type of content your audience is creating and sharing on social profiles, then the hashtag profile will help you in this.
This isn’t the end here.
This was just about the overview of your audience.
To dig deeper into this, you just need to select the Audience Insights from the left-hand sidebar.
After selecting audience insights, you’ll see more detailed results of most frequent words used, top hashtags, popular content topics, and more.
Apart from that, you will also see the audience distribution based on geographic location, profile coverage (for social profiles), and also the average number of social posts shared on the profile.
Let’s move to the next section that is social profiles.
Here’s you’ll see the social profiles of brands or individuals and the market share.
Market share in the sense of % of your target audience following the social profiles.
For example, 43% of my audience (for the search term content marketing) follows HubSpot.
In that way, you can easily dig deeper into your competition as well.
The third feature is about websites
SparkToro works similarly for all of these discussed sections.
In the case of websites, you’ll find the top websites that your audience is frequently visiting. If you get to the list, you’ll also understand what type of content to create.
This can help if you want to do competitor research for a completely new niche where you don’t know any relevant websites.
Also, by looking at their % of audience share, you’ll know what type of content they like most.
Podcasts and YouTube
For PR, influencer outreach, you may want to look for possible podcasts or YouTube channels.
And this could be one of the easiest and fastest ways to do that.
Though you won’t get access to the entire list on a free plan, you may give this a try and see how this works.
Compare the audience
The core of this tool is audience intelligence, and this lets you make a comparison as well.
In order to run a comparison, you’ll need to type your key terms or even website as well.
For instance, I will enter two common websites in the online marketing field.
Next, I’ll hit the Compare button.
Here, you can see the number of accounts shared between two websites.
Though I am not sure exactly how reliable this data is, this can be improved in the future for sure.
Not only that, but it also shows you the list of common podcasts, top hashtags, common geographic location, top social accounts, websites, and related key phrases related to the mutual audience.
So if you want to narrow down your results, the comparison could be one way to do that.
- Become a SparkToro Pro in just 12 minutes (Video from Rand Fishkin)
Now, this is one of the powerful features that SparkToro offers. In the custom audience section, you can analyze the exact audience that you’re looking for.
To make this happen, you need to import the CSV file of your audience with their social profile URLs.
Still, I am not sure whether there is an option to upload the email list or not.
Once you upload the CSV with Social URLs, this tool will then analyze the entire audience’s behavior that you just imported.
Isn’t it a great way to study your existing audience?
This can be useful if you want to dig deeper into your customer’s behaviour.
But the thing is, this feature is only for the premium account. In a free account, you won’t be able to get the taste of this.
These are some of the features that it offers. But knowing features and benefits is a different story and actually implementing those in real life is a different one.
So, now we’ll see how you can use this to maximize your output from this online tool.
How to use SparkToro in a better way?
First of all, let me clarify that all of the ways that I am going to show you are from my perspective.
It’s not the ultimate list. Instead, use this as an idea of what are the possibilities that you can achieve with this.
Let’s get started.
1. Content Idea generation
Yes, this is a goldmine to get some amazing content ideas for your next content.
So how do you get it?
First, type your search query.
Next, go to the audience insights.
After scrolling a bit, you’ll find a list of content topics frequently used by my audience.
Just go through the list, and you’ll find tons of great examples.
For example, I got some ideas, such as:
You might think that terms like trends the strategy is quite common for every industry.
But the main point is you need to align your search terms with these results.
That means the search term ‘tools’ are more related to ‘content marketing tools.’
Likewise, content marketing trends and Content marketing strategy are some of the most popular search terms in this niche.
Here are a few more on the list.
2. Influencer marketing and outreaching strategy
This tool could be a huge game-changer for influencer marketers and people who want to strategically do outreach.
Here how to do this.
First, you need to create a list where all of the information on your target profile will be stored.
Go to the List section and click on the ‘create list.’
Here, I have named this as a DEMO list.
Next, search for websites, podcasts, and YouTube channels, or even specific social profiles.
Next, you’ll see an option of ‘Add to list’ along with the results.
After selecting the profiles, just click on add to lit and select the list you just created.
Once you’re done with your searches, go to the list section again and select your list where all of your profiles are stored.
Now, get ready for the magic.
Your complete list is ready with the contact information.
This just makes your job of outreaching much easier.
By clicking on the get contact info’, you’ll see the URLs of profiles. To get the email address (which is quite important), you need to upgrade your plan.
This is how powerful this is for outreaching.
You can also leverage this technique for guest posting, podcast invitation, and many more.
3. Other ways
Once you’re known to the features, you’ll find many more ways to use this tool for your purpose.
But to give you an idea, here are some of the possible ways:
- Competitor analysis (what content to create, what type of content getting engagement, what your audience loves, how much active your competitor is across social channels, etc.)
- Target location (Not sure about where your target audience belongs to? Take help from this)
- Outreaching (Get the contact information of some popular and relevant profiles straight from this tool by just doing a few searches)
- Custom audience (take your customer study to the next level)
I hope you got the idea and are ready to give SparkToro a try.
Bonus Free Tools:
Here’s a bonus that you should know about.
They also offer you three free tools:
- Fake followers Audit
Fake follower audit
Whether you want to know about the number of fake followers or inactive members on the profile, this will help you a lot.
Just type the Twitter handle (@username) and click on Run Audit.
You’ll get the approximate value of fake followers.
For example, I ran an audit for Joe Pulizzi’s profile.
Here’s what I got.
16% are fake followers in Joe’s profile, as per this tool.
So does that mean Joe has bought these followers?
Most probably, no.
To understand the logic, you need to understand how does this tool measures the numbers?
It depends on several factors that determine the % of fake followers.
Here is the list of factors:
- Inactive for 120+ days
- Inactive between 90 and 120 days
- Default Profile Image
- Display Name
- URL Issues
- Location Issues
- Number of Tweets
- Over Sharing
- Times Listed
- Number of Followers
- Number Following
- Profile Keywords
Now, you get a clear picture.
On the free account, you will get 10 searches/day.
Next is SparkScore.
This is a great way to understand any profile’s influential capability, even though I’m not 100% sure about the data.
Another amazing feature is that you’ll get to see which profile is getting the most amount of engagement in your niche.
This data shows you the graph between the number of tweets and the number of likes it gets.
Trending is another free tool from SparkToro that shows you the trending content on Twitter. Just enter your search, and you’ll see what’s trending on the front page of Twitter (based on the data of the last 30 days).
You can also dig deep by clicking on the share insights that will show you the exact number of content tweets.
Last but not least, let’s talk about pricing.
Here’s what the current pricing looks like for SparkToro.
The pricing comes with 4 different plans.
The free plan lets you use almost every feature but with a monthly limitation of 10 queries/ month.
Other than that, the pricing point of view might seem to be expensive for you, even with the annual plan.
Maybe it’s because SparkToro is mainly designed for marketing agency owners instead of solopreneur.
Important resources for you:
- SignUp your FREE account on SparkToro
- SparkToro Free Tools
- Fake followers Audit
- How to use SparkToro
- How does this tool works (YouTube video)
Final words on SparkToro Review
This is the tool that I always wanted to use.
Because customer understanding seems to be an easy part, but it isn’t.
It takes a lot of effort and, most importantly, so much to perform an in-depth study of an industry that I know nothing about.
Even though I loved this tool, I may not be using this simply because of the price.
Now it’s up to you what you’ll choose.
But I would recommend you to start with the free plan to start with.
Because not many people have tried this tool and as a result, you won’t find many resources as well.
So the best way to understand whether this suits your need or not, give this a try.
That’s all I have about this tool.
But I would like to know about which feature you liked/disliked most regarding SparkToro?
Rafiqul is a Content Marketing Practitioner having 3+ years of professional experience. He loves to spend time reading thoughtful books and writing in his spare time.