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Tunnl | Products | Audiences

What Are Audience Refreshes, and Why Are They Essential?

August 19th, 2022 | 6 min. read

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We all know that feeling of checking on something in your fridge only to discover that it has expired. Well, like the food in your fridge, your data — the foundation of your targeted audiences — needs to be refreshed, too.

When was the last time you checked your data to see if it was still up to date?

If your data is old and no longer matches the reality of your audiences, your advertising won’t be as effective as it can be. And when you’re out of touch with your audience, you risk losing their trust forever: almost 50% of consumers will stop interacting with a brand after trust is broken, according to Adobe’s Future of Marketing report.

To align your brand with your target market’s values and nurture consumer trust, regularly refreshing your audience data is essential. But you may wonder . . .

  • What is an audience refresh, exactly?
  • How does Tunnl refresh audiences?
  • How often do audiences need refreshing?

Tunnl has been building and refreshing audiences for over twenty years. In this article, we’ll discuss these important questions so that by the end, you’ll understand the importance of audience refreshes to running successful marketing campaigns, and why you can rely on Tunnl to routinely deliver the fresh insights you need to stay connected with your consumer.

Let’s get started.

What Is an Audience Refresh?

An audience refresh is the process of updating audiences with fresh data and insights. 

“A refresh re-establishes your data as an accurate reflection of how the people in your target market currently feel about certain issues or topics,” says Amanda Peterson Beadle, Tunnl’s Senior Director of Partnerships. “They’re incredibly important to staying aligned and understanding who you’re marketing to as times change and opinions continue to shift.”

Keeping up with your audience’s sentiments is more important than ever. Otherwise, you get left behind with wasted company resources or worse — a tarnished reputation.

Consider the following results from a Google Cloud research poll:

  • 82% of consumers want a brand’s values to align with their own
  • 75% of consumers will part ways with a brand over unaligned values

“You need to be able to understand changes in opinion over time,” advises Amanda. “That way, your messaging is most likely to connect with your target market in a way that’s authentic to them in that moment.”

Audience refreshes help you achieve this by updating audiences with fresh data on opinions and values, media consumption behaviors, and demographics.

Take, for instance, if your brand is running a persuasion ad campaign. You’d need the ability to measure your audience’s change in sentiment over that campaign’s entire run-time.

“The only way to know whether your original audience is still targetable is to check in continually and refresh your audiences,” say Samantha Zaleski, Tunnl’s Senior Director of Client Relations. “Tunnl’s audience refreshes accomplish that.”

Every 3–4 months, we will look at how those individuals have shifted. Some are more positive on their issues; others are more negative. This is important because it gives you the ability to tailor the next wave of ad targeting, so you’re only talking to the people who still need persuading, and not wasting dollars on people you have already convinced or who are inconvincible.

How Does Tunnl Refresh Audiences?

Tunnl routinely refreshes both our custom and prebuilt audiences with data collected from large-sample, nationwide surveys, so you can be sure that the audience you’re leveraging aligns with your very real consumers’ behaviors and values.

The process begins with Tunnl’s Product, Revenue, and Client Services teams collaborating to build a survey. The questions asked in this survey inform the building of new audiences and update the data of pre-existing ones.

“We include a combination of questions to update our existing audiences, including the original questions that we asked when first building the audiences,” Amanda explains. “This way, we can see how people’s opinions have changed over time.”

After the survey is drafted, Tunnl is in the field surveying at least 5,000 people through a combination of cell phone, landline, and online surveys.

“This combination helps us make sure we are reaching a demographically representative mix of ages, genders, and races,” says Amanda.

Once the survey is complete, Tunnl’s analysts review the data and compare it to our existing audiences. With that fresh data and analysis, we name and build new audiences and refresh pre-existing audiences.

Finally, the refreshed audiences are uploaded into the Tunnl platform’s Audiences portal, popular data marketplaces, and partner platforms with which we have direct integrations.

(Learn more about how to access Tunnl audiences in data marketplaces and partner platforms in this how-to guide.)

How Often Do Audiences Need Refreshing?

This is a commonly asked question, and the answer depends on your needs. 

If you refresh your audience every week, you will not see movement attributable to your targeting efforts. If you only refresh your audiences every year or two, you may not be accounting for any movement that may have happened during that year.

The sweet spot is around every three months. This timeline allows enough time to pass to see attributable movement. 

Depending on what type of campaign you are running, you may need to refresh your audience on a more or less frequent basis. 

Tunnl routinely refreshes both our custom and prebuilt audiences.

Refreshing Prebuilt Audiences

Tunnl conducts a national audience refresh survey every quarter. We do this to ensure our library of over 300 prebuilt audiences is being built on the most up-to-date information available. That way, advertisers can depend on their data at all times as opinions shift and old information becomes irrelevant.

Each refresh also results in new audiences, and we will remove any audiences from our library that have become outdated or irrelevant so that they are kept out of advertisers’ way.

“We monitor to make sure our prebuilt audiences have the freshest data, meaning we will never let our data grow stale,” says Amanda. 

We create our prebuilt audiences as a time- and budget-conscious solution for advertisers to target pop-up issues. Tunnl’s prebuilt audiences give advertisers access to consumers or voters who are supportive, persuadable, or in opposition to the issues that matter the most to them.

Refreshing Custom Audiences

Tunnl clients can set up a custom audience subscription with us, where, together, we determine the optimal refresh cadence. The specific cadence depends on the circumstances of your campaign and end goals.

Tunnl clients can also join our quarterly national audience refresh survey, in which we create 1–5 questions unique to your issue or cause and include them in the survey. 

(Interested in learning more about Tunnl’s custom audience subscription? Learn more in this article that explains everything you need to know about custom audience subscriptions.)

Stay Connected with Your Target Market Through Fresh Audience Insights

Advertisers know that understanding your audience is the key to creating impactful campaigns. With audience insights, you can craft targeted messaging that drives your desired action and nurtures trust in your brand.

This is why audience refreshes are crucial: to nurture trust and drive engagement, your insights need to be up to date with the freshest information on your target audience. You wouldn’t want to consume anything stale or outdated, would you? The people you’re trying to reach with your messaging wouldn’t want to, either.  

In fact, it could drive them away from your brand altogether. And once consumers abandon a brand, they are unlikely to ever return.

You can count on Tunnl to provide the freshest insights available for all of our audiences, so you can understand and appeal to your core market at any given time.

To learn more about Tunnl’s audiences, check out our Chief Revenue Officer David Seawright’s guide on everything you need to know about Tunnl audiences.

Learn More About Tunnl Audiences

If you're interested in seeing if your ideal Tunnl audience is already built and available for activation, explore our library of 300+ prebuilt audiences.

Explore Tunnl's Prebuilt Audience Library If you can't find your ideal audience in our prebuilt audience library, don't worry. We build custom audiences, too. To learn more about our custom audience solutions, check out the following article that describes Tunnl's custom audience subscriptions and defines who needs them.

Learn More About Custom Audience Subscriptions