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Tunnl | Products | Audiences | Cost

The Cost of a Custom Audience Subscription at Tunnl - Two Key Factors Explained

August 11th, 2021 | 5 min. read

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Custom audience development and microtargeting can mean a lot of things to many different people. One thing it means for many: a big line item in their budget. This often leads to the biggest question on many of our customers’ and prospects' minds, “Is it worth it?”

At Tunnl, we believe that custom audiences are critical to any issue advocacy and purpose-driven marketing strategy. But, that doesn’t always mean it has to come with a big price tag. 

In some cases, our national Audience Subscription is a more cost-effective solution to many of the targeting problems our customers face.

By the end of this article you will be able to answer:

  • How does microtargeting work?
  • How does the Audience Subscription Work?
  • What drives the cost of microtargeting up and down?

How does Microtargeting work?

Microtargeting is the process of using technological innovations to connect your tailored messages to the people that matter the most to you. This is the process that is used to create audiences. So, in order to understand the true cost of an audience subscription at Tunnl, you need to know how they are made.

Microtargeting in three steps:

  1. Survey
  2. Response Matching and Scoring
  3. Data-backed Audiences and Insights

Step 1 - Survey

The first step in the microtargeting process is developing a comprehensive survey and questions designed to produce responses that will drive our scoring and modeling.

The survey methodology, which we’ll get into shortly, can and will vary based on your needs and where we are conducting the sampling from. All Microtargeting surveys are sampled from our in-house national consumer file that is rich with vote history.

Step 2 - Response Matching and Scoring

We run a data match to connect responses to survey questions in our files to produce highly accurate probabilities for every American in the country.

Step 3 - Data-backed Audiences & Insights

This allows us to build out the audiences that will be most useful to any effort. Because of our robust data sets, we are also able to provide detailed audience insights and media mix indices to help your organization make the smartest strategic media decisions. 

How does the Audience Subscription Work?

Tunnl is in the field every quarter with a large sample national micro-targeting survey that we use to build our 150+ in-house standard audiences such as:

  • People who are hesitant to take a COVID-19 vaccine
  • People who support/oppose Big Tech Regulation
  • Healthcare Influentials - people who are high turnout voters, likely to follow healthcare-related news, and actively engage in healthcare-related issues facing their community

Since the beginning of 2021, our Audience Subscription has resulted in the ability for our clients to add their own exclusive questions to this survey. 

Since we’ve standardized this process, the large variables that can exist within more localized projects are mitigated and we can deliver custom audiences at an affordable price point. With this subscription, your organization can get access to three custom national audiences built from a question designed for your goals for $2,500 a month. 

For example, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked the question, “Do you plan on getting the COVID-19 vaccine?” From that one question, we built three audiences:

  1. Will Take COVID Vaccine
  2. Will Not Take COVID Vaccine
  3. COVID Vaccine Persuadables

In addition to providing you with your own custom audiences from your question, this subscription ensures that your audiences are staying fresh because we’re updating them every quarter.

Once these audiences are identified, profiled, and built from our files, we make them available to you for all forms of contact either through our network of partners or as direct contact files built and shared in a privacy-compliant manner. 

What drives MicroTargeting costs up and down?

If you’ve paid to conduct your own Micro-Targeting survey to be used for varying contact mediums, you know that it can get pricey quickly. There are multiple drivers of price for Microtargeting surveys. Understanding what they are is important for you to make sure you’re making the right decision. 

There are really two key factors in understanding what drives costs up and down:

  1. Methodology
  2. Number of Surveys


“Our methodology is…”

When you read or hear this do you ever think, “okay, but what does that mean for me?” 

The simple truth: this is the core driver of costs. 

We will never recommend a methodology that we don’t think will lead to quality, accurate results. That said, there are often many methodologies that can get you a good result, but sometimes your hands can be tied by different laws governing contact methods across the states. 

Sometimes we can deploy different methodologies that drive costs higher and lower. If you’re wondering if a higher cost means you’re going to get more accurate results, the answer is almost always yes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to actually go that route. 

Live Surveys

This really comes down to labor. For all-live surveys, for example, you’ve got to have an actual person calling an actual person on the phone. That requires more time and more people to get the job done, which leads to more costs. 

Online Surveys

Online survey tools have come a long way since they were first introduced into the survey ecosystem and we feel strongly that it provides a sound infrastructure for the survey and audience creation. 

Our national Audience Subscription is an all-online panel, which means it’s done completely online and has a sample size of 5,000 respondents across the country. 

Mixed Model

Mixed modal is a frequently used methodology that incorporates a mix of varying contact methods including web panels, landline calls, and cell phone calls. It provides a sound representative sample for modeling and also incorporates both high-cost and low-cost methods of contact. 

Number of Surveys

Another major driver of costs for our Audience Subscription is the number of surveys it actually includes. In the case of this subscription, your organization is not just receiving an exclusive question on a survey one-time and that results in the creation of three custom audiences. 

That’s only the first part. This actually includes four surveys throughout the year which we’ll utilize to refresh your audiences to make sure they are maintaining their integrity and accuracy over time. 

Your next question may be, “Can I change my question if my needs change?” Of course - we will set a timeline with you and your team to sunset the audiences previously built. And, it won’t change the price of your subscription.

Like your favorite loaf of bread you told yourself you’d eat, audiences can get stale; some quicker than others (“I just bought this!”) We believe that refreshing data is important, especially if you're working on a hot topic where messages are frequently being delivered to targets. Survey recurrence and refreshes are also critical drivers to cost, and sometimes more isn’t always better.

Ready for a custom audience subscription?

Great, now that you understand the two major things that go into the cost of a custom audience subscription, you have decided to pursue one.

The first step is to think about the key issues/messages you want to share with voters or consumers. 

For example: let’s say you are an executive member of a pro-environment group advocating for a clean energy project in a specific state or region. You need to get a sign-off from a federal agency and are counting on public support to make that happen. You know you need to conduct a microtargeting project to determine which members of the public support, oppose, or have a persuadable opinion about your clean energy project.

Email us at so we can help you take it from here.