Who’s Watching? Get to Know Your Audience By Asking Them About Themselves
Get to Know Your Audience By Asking Them About Themselves
by Josh Kashorek
I always enjoy looking at the way major tech companies handle different challenges on the web or in apps, specifically how they handle personalization, automation and machine learning. It’s very easy to think that the digital world runs exclusively on algorithms, and to some extent it does, but I’ve been reminded recently at how heavily those algorithms are tied into user input. For example when I log into Netflix (or Hulu, or Disney+ and so on) I’m greeted with a screen asking “Who’s Watching?”, the recommendations I see on the next screen are based on predictive data from historical watching habits, but they can’t make those predictions unless I click the button that says it’s me watching instead of my children or my wife. If you think for a minute the input doesn’t end there, AirBnB collects reviews on both hosts and guests, Uber collects reviews on both drivers and riders. I even get asked for input on dog toys purchased through a subscription service (“did your dog destroy the toy immediately or was it tough enough for them?”).
Why This is Exciting for Ministries
Looking specifically at ways you can leverage user input to help build a better experience for your audience is really exciting for two main reasons.
1. On almost a daily basis I hear from ministry leaders something similar to “I wish there was a way to know X about our website visitors.” it turns out there is a way, and it’s as simple as asking them.
2. User input can accelerate your personalization and automation strategies. By quickly collecting responses, you can validate ideas, and uncover new opportunities you would not have discovered otherwise. This saves time and money by not building out ideas that your audience is not interested in.
Getting started is as simple as asking a question. What do you most want to know about your audience? Hopefully this makes you think about user input in a whole new way. As you go about your day in the digital space take note of when you get asked questions, and which questions you answer instead of just ignoring. You'll begin to see the possibilities are nearly endless.
Users Make Algorithms Better.
Simple questions like "Who's watching?" help you gain a deeper understanding of your audience and build more personalized experiences for them.
Users Like to Give Input!
If you ask you will indeed get answers. So instead of guessing what your users want, feel or think, start asking them. It won't just build a better experience it will build better engagement as well.
Make Your Algorithm Input Informed.
Make sure the mechanism you use to collect feedback can connect to your personalization platform and automation systems, otherwise your information will get better but the user experience won't.