SparkToro Review – Do They Really Make Audience Intelligence Easy?

SparkToro Software Review

In this SparkToro review I will:

  • Explain what SparkToro is
  • Take SparkToro for a spin to see if their claim of “easy audience intelligence” is true
  • Explain what audience intelligence is
  • Explain why audience intelligence software is important
  • Then I’ll also share some sales and marketing use cases for software like SparkToro

What is SparkToro?

SparkToro is a software company founded by Rand Fishkin and Casey Henry. Their software gives companies the ability to do market research to get high quality audience intelligence. SparkToro crawls billions of websites and social profiles, aggregates them into distinct profiles and gives you the ability to search the data. It shows who these types of people follow on social media, watch, read, and listen to.

This picture shows how SparkToro works.

How SparkToro Works

Rand and Casey claim that SparkToro makes audience intelligent easier than ever. They gave me press access to the site so I was able to dig in and check SparkToro out. In this SparkToro review we will see if their claim is true. Part of my job as CMO of JumpCrew is to help our customers find amazing tools and to help them define, find, reach and grow their target audience. Let’s get this party started.

What is Audience Intelligence and Why is it Important?

Before we dig further into SparkToro let’s discuss why audience intelligence is important. Audience intelligence is using data to find insights on people who may be interested in your brand or business. With out a market research tool you won’t be able to get the insights you need to develop a strong audience to target. Audience development is essential to building a successful brand or business. The goal of audience development is to find your target audience, which I define as your potential customers and influencers of those customers.

The picture outlines the audience development model we built at JumpCrew.

audience development

Knowing your target audience will then help you develop your Total Addressable Market (TAM), Ideal Customer (Company) Profile (ICP), and buyer personas with in those companies. An audience intelligence tool like SparkToro will also give you the ability to find the places (like websites, podcasts, social channels etc) to advertise with where your audience spends their time.

What Audience Research Does SparkToro Allow You To Do?

Now that you know why market research and audience intelligence is important. Let’s jump back into a review of what SparkToro can do.

Here is a quick summary of what SparkToro helps you do.

  • Find any audience you want to reach
  • Learn about where they spend their time online
  • Create lists of targets so you can reach out to them
  • The first five searches are free
  • SparkToro anonymizes their data and does not collect Personally Identifiable Information (PII). This follows General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) guidelines

You can ask the following questions about your audience.

My audience:

  • Frequently talks about
  • Uses these word(s) in their profile
  • Follows the social account
  • Frequently visits the website
  • Frequently uses the hashtag

SparkToro Review

Important SparkToro Metrics and Definitions:

Sparktoro Personal loan search

SparkToro has the following sections that contain important metrics. Below are the definitions of each metric by section. I’ve done a search for personal loans since one of my clients is in that industry and I might as well do real research that will help my client as I write this review.

In the Overview and Audience Insight Sections:SparkToro Overview

  • Audience size: This measures the number of query-matching profiles in SparkToro’s database. Audience Sizes of 300+ profiles tend to return more accurate, high quality results.
  • Behavior Similarity: This measures the degree of shared characteristics (what they follow, talk about, share, etc) among the profiles in an audience.
  • Audience Confidence: This combines Size and Behavior to estimate the representational accuracy of SparkToro’s data (just like margin of error in election polling).

In the Social Section:
SparkToro social

  • SparkScore: This measures the degree of shared characteristics (what they follow, talk about, share, etc) among the profiles in an audience.
  • Percent of Audience: % of sources that match your search follows and/or engages with the social account in this row
  • Social Followers: The aggregate of all social followers across the listed platforms.

In the Website Section:
SparkToro websites

  • Percent of Audience: % of sources that match your search follows and/or engages with the social account in this row
  • Linking RDs: Count of linking root domains that pass equity from the Moz index. This is very important for SEO.
  • Domain Authority: Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages.

In the Podcast Section:
SparkToro Podcasts

  • Percent of Audience: % of sources that match your search follows and/or engages with the social account in this row
  • # of Episodes: Displays the number of episodes this podcast has via iTunes (and, potentially, more podcast networks in the future)
  • Last Podcast: Shows the date of the last podcast aired via iTunes (potentially more networks in the future)

In the YouTube Section:
SparkToro Youtube

  • Percent of Audience: % of sources that match your search follows and/or engages with the social account in this row
  • Subscribers:Number of YouTube subscribers when SparkToro last crawled this channel
  • Last Video: Date of most recent video when SparkToro last crawled this channel

Individual Sections:
SparkToro social stats

  • Websites:
    • SparkScore: This measures the degree of shared characteristics (what they follow, talk about, share, etc) among the profiles in an audience.
    • Engagement: Measures the quantity of replies, comments, shares, and discussion received by this social account.
    • Avg # of posts/week: Average of posts a week.
    • Avg # of posts/month: Average of posts a month.

You Can Also Compare Two Audiences
In this case I can do research and compare two of JumpCrew’s target audiences which are “Outsourced Sales” and “Outsourced Marketing“.

SparkToro Audience Comparison

What’s great about SparkToro

Here are three things that make SparkToro amazing.

1.Affordable: SparkToro is affordable and it makes audience intelligence accessible to small business. This is truly special because normally only bigger brands could afford to work with the traditional audience software companies. The SparkToro pricing below is if you paid annually. They give you 3 months free which is 25% off.

SparkToro Pricing

2.Breadth of Data: It’s amazing to be able to get data on podcasts, video, website, social accounts and influencers in one place.  They were also smart about pick the most important elements in figuring out whether or not an influencer, website, etc is worth reaching out. Displaying data like Domain Authority, Linking Root Domains and Number of Social Follower makes sure that SEO or Content Marketing professionals don’t have to use secondary tools to pull that data.

3.Easy of Use: SparkToro truly makes audience intelligence as easy as:

SparkToro list

  1. Search: Search based on keyword, profile and website
  2. List: Then you can list to organize the information
  3. Export: Then you can export the data so you can use it

Rand and Casey have lived up to their claim of making audience intelligence easier. The user interface is beautiful and easy to navigate. I also really love the brand’s color palette. It puts me in an uplifted and motivated mode as I do my research.

What’s missing from SparkToro

First Party Pixel Data: One thing SparkToro needs to do is build a pixel that can be added to your website like how Dstillery, QuantCast, and LeadFeeder.com do.

This would then give their customers the ability to:

  • See who is coming to their site so you can target them better and create look alike audience off the data
  • See what companies are visiting their site
  • Pair this data with the SparkToro crawl data so you can enhance your ability to find, reach, and grow your audience

A Personal SparkToro Use Case:

Cannabis research

Recently we had a client come to us for help reaching people who are interested in cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD). They are a big pharmaceutical company that you all know that is launching a CBD brand. They gave us $20,000 to test buying ads on Google and Facebook to reach this audience. We knew we could not spend the money based on Google Ads and Facebook Ad rules. This left us asking how to reach this audience if we can’t get at them through the two largest ad platforms. If we had SparkToro at the time I would have been able to do this research really quickly and put together a media plan that targeted the biggest websites, influencers, Podcasts etc where people who like cannabis and CBD spend their time on. We did not have SparkToro when at this time so we had to do this with multiple tools which is a much harder way of gathering this data.

Sales Use Case:

Your sales team can use SparkToro to help prospect and find target customers to sell to and influencers of those customers.

Marketing Use Cases:

  • Your marketing team can use SparkToro for
  • Content Strategy
  • Influencer Outreach
  • Audience targeting
  • Competitive analytiss
  • Business and product research and launches

Summary:

In this SparkToro Review we covered a lot. We found that SparkToro is an affordable market research and audience intelligence tool. It is extremely powerful and they really do make audience intelligence easy. I highly recommend you try the tool for yourself. Please share this review of SparkToro if you found it useful. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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