How to Find Marketing Insights Using Audience Overlap

How many times in your career could you say that you had a precise feel for your target audience?

Marketing itself is not rocket science, but consumer behavior can be. Customers make choices based on a number of volatile factors, some of which are not obvious at all. You can’t predict their actions, but you can always follow current consumer insights to optimize your marketing campaign in a timely way.

Invaluable data may come from knowledge of website traffic, but what about other factors? What magazines does your target audience read? What substitutes do your loyal customers consider? All this information can be found with the SEMrush Audience Overlap tool. The graphs provided will show you the percentage of users who visit both websites you entered in the fields (up to five). Below are several ways understanding audience overlap can help you find marketing insights for strategic business solutions.

Premium brands don’t compete with the mass market. Or do they? Your audience may not care that much about the market you identify with – they just want a polo shirt. As we see from the graphs below, visitors to the Ralph Lauren website are completely fine with taking a look at what H&M has to offer. Whether they are searching for a basic or a high-fashion item, Audience Overlap comes in handy when you need to check real audience insights.

Sometimes, customers choose between product categories that have no direct connection at all (at first glance). For instance, Sephora cosmetics, Pandora jewelry, Victoria’s Secret lingerie, and a Netflix subscription are not interchangeable in practical terms – yet all of them make great options for a holiday gift for a woman.


Such overlap can point out possible partners for collaboration or comarketing. This overlap doesn’t necessarily mean a full-scale co-branding project; it might be the choice of prizes for a draw on social media. Apart from promotions for your own products, you might want to shake up your audience with additional offers, such as tickets to a music festival or dinner in a restaurant that they might like.

So you are choosing among media platforms, and are considering two websites — both alike in dignity (and target audience). Should you consider both? Should you search for more? Depending on how bold your brand policy allows you to be, you might come up with a truly unconventional solution based on an audience insight.

Let’s say that previously you worked with business magazines. Their readers are your target group; that is without question, but showing ads to exactly the same users may not be in your best interests if your campaign is aimed at reach. Check the media options that are usually excluded from your list. Draw up a couple of platforms that claim to have your target audience in their press kits but have little overlap – and give them a try!


For example, you have found out that Playboy website visitors have the same socio-demographic characteristics as your target group. Audience Overlap shows you that these relevant users haven’t been reached by your ads in other, serious magazines. Of course, Playboy is unlikely to publish a long read about company development, but if your brand is open for a creative experiment, an ad in this magazine could help you get to the part of your target audience that has not been covered in previous marketing campaigns.

You can also compare audiences from your website and a media platform. The graphs will show you the exact users who have visited both. If your aim is to reach new people, consider working with the resource that you have the least Audience Overlap with.


How come Gucci fans are more keen on reading Elle than Vanity Fair? Whatever the reason, consider this new data when planning your next placements.

You can also check how one of your rivals (we chose Prada) is presented in the same media.


Check their traffic sources to find out if the paid ones prevail, then ask yourself if it makes sense to invest more in advertising and product placement on comparable media to outperform a rival.

Owning an international brand is not necessarily equal to a competitive advantage, especially in such a fast-growing and fast-changing industry as e-commerce. To develop the company in a specific geographical market, take a closer look at the locals. Think about the case of ASOS. In its native UK, the retailer competes with Amazon and eBay. In Russia, the situation is different; the company shares its target audience with local multi-branded online stores Lamoda and Wildberries. Let’s see what consumer insights Audience Overlap can give us.


The first glance at the graphs leads us to believe that users consider all of the three online stores equally: Lamoda and Wildberries each share around 35% of visitors with ASOS. Do these people see the difference between the brands? Let’s look at each of the retailers separately.


First, let’s compare Lamoda with the two other sites. It is no wonder that more customers of Lamoda visit Wildberries than ASOS. Local online stores must have similar delivery conditions or the same scale of promotion in the region – these are just some of the reasons worth verifying.


The next comparison reveals that visitors of Wildberries are less interested in ASOS than Lamoda customers. Now we can conclude that Lamoda is more competitive to ASOS than Wildberries in Russia. You could use this customer insight as a sign to continue your market research in the field of positioning and communication strategies.

Being too general is hardly ever a good plan, especially in the sphere where the best piece of cake is already taken. Let’s say you are developing the marketing strategy of a sports shoe brand. You know for sure there are several companies who offer various types of clothing and one that specializes in sneakers. Will you have to compete with all of these giants? Or will you manage to have more or less consistent competition within your niche? Let’s see what Audience Overlap shows us with some popular brands.


The graphs show the biggest overlap between Reebok, Nike, and Puma; this means that these sports brands mostly compete with each other for the same audience, while New Balance stays off their radars somehow. Not a big surprise, given their specialization. The question is, if customers consider one of these companies as a good sports shoe manufacturer, then which one?


To learn the answer, we compared every competitor with New Balance. We figured out that the audience searching for this brand’s footwear also considers buying Nike. As a product marketing or brand manager for an opposing brand, you might feel motivated to study their offers more closely, monitor their marketing campaigns, and evaluate some of their approaches.

If you are an owner of several websites (or the one responsible for their promotion as media platforms), you need some valid data to present in your press kit. Let’s have a look at the example of Condé Nast Inc., which owns publications aimed at various target groups. It might be tempting to assume that since Vogue, Glamour, and W Magazine are made for women, all cross activities should be on these sites. However, Audience Overlap shows something more curious.


In reality, more users visit both the Vogue and GQ websites. Are these women interested in the lifestyle section of the men’s magazine? Are they helping their boyfriends to revamp their wardrobes? The graphs won’t tell you, but they will give you valuable insight and solid proof for future advertisers that you can include in your press kit.

With Audience Overlap, you can see how your positions in the market change over time. Enter two competing domains and move from one time period tab to another to observe the trend. We took and as an example.


It has only been a few years since Airbnb appeared in the market, but the graphs already show us how audience gradually started to use it as a competing service.


You can compare Audience Overlap for several locations one by one to determine if a trend is global or local, which will give you an idea of whether you need to strengthen your campaign in a particular market or study the options deeply and revise your offers.

Test the tool yourself with any website of your choice:

  • Go to Traffic Analytics tool, enter a domain and press “Search”.
  • Now go to the blue button “Add +4 competitors” to type a website that you want to make a comparison with.
  • Note: You have to name at least one competitive domain for Audience Overlap to appear in the interface.

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