Why ‘Everyone’ is Not Your Audience

Jedidiah Gant - July 30, 2018

Your team sits down to create a video. Before jumping into video concepts, you decide to discuss goals and target audience.

You say to your team, “Hey guys, who should we target for this next video project?”

A strategist from across the room blurts out, “Everyone! We want everyone to watch this video, right?”

Everyone (in the room) nods in agreement, and you head off down a path to create a video that everyone (on the internet) watches. Unfortunately, you’re likely to get far fewer eyes on a video targeting ‘everyone,’ than you would have if you’d targeted a smaller, more specific audience.

Why “Everyone” is not a strategic audience for your video.

Name a video that successfully targeted everyone? It’s hard. Almost impossible. You might think something simple like a video ad for milk or detergent. Everyone drinks milk and washes their clothes, right? Well, yes, but these ads are not targeted to everyone. They are targeted to a persona identified as the ones buying the milk and detergent, not the ones consuming them.

You can likely guess the audience this milk ad is targeting.

According to Hubspot, the buyer persona is a “semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” Products are purposefully delivered to different personas so that marketing dollars are not wasted. Rather, they are smartly used, targeting the exact personas who will purchase the product.

The same goes for video. Everyone is not your audience. From television shows, films, and video advertisements, every video has a particular persona with particular demographics they are targeting. Getting audience outside of that persona is a plus, but shoring up the targeted group is how to ensure success. In order for your audience to be inspired to engage with your brand they need to feel understood. Dig deeper to empathize with your users—what are their daily struggles and how can you make their life easier? Speak their language and they will be more apt to talk back.

‘Everyone’ is definitely not the audience for this extremely effective and emotional Echo Spot ad.

Consider Super Bowl Ads. while ‘everyone’ may be watching, each ad is specifically targeted to a subset of the Super Bowl Audience. Brands KNOW everyone is watching, so they can take risks and create empathetic and engaging ads that generate buzz but still target their ideal persona. It’s a win-win for them. They are paying a lot of money to be on the biggest video stage, so they need to deliver in more ways than one. That’s not the case in most cases. Generally a video’s creative needs to be more specific to answer questions or solve problems your audience has. Risks can be taken, but they must stay within the prescribed avenue for targeting.


Remember your voice when discovering your audience.

Identifying your audience is the first step in figuring out who you are hoping will watch your video. To get started, here are a few questions you can use to being to identify that audience.

  • What are the typical demographics of this person? Age range, gender, educational background, personality, etc…
  • What are their primary responsibilities?
  • Which areas of your expertise are most relevant to this person?
  • Professionally, what does this person value most?
  • What is this person’s biggest professional challenge?
  • What is the biggest objection you typically face when trying to land their business?
  • What are their interests, hobbies, lifestyle, personality, attitude?
  • What do you currently know about how this person consumes information? (e.g., long-form articles, industry publications, short blogs, videos, podcasts, etc.)
  • Who is an example client who fits this persona description?

Once an audience is identified, you can develop a video based on that persona (if they are likely to digest information in a video format) and target them through both the video’s creative and the distribution plan and ad spend. Ask yourself these questions to learn more about your audience and ultimately speak to them directly with your videos.

  • How do they see the world?
  • What is their attitude about our category?
  • What pressures are they under on a daily basis?
  • What are their biggest opportunities?
  • What are their barriers to purchase?
  • What are their biggest motivators?

From the identification of your persona, you are able to find and use keywords, topics, demographics, and more to be sure your video reaches them. The better you target, the more your video will spread.

Send the video to your audience, and they will share it. Viral videos become viral because they, smartly, start on a tight, right audience. We all want viral videos. To reach everyone, we’ve got to start with someone. And that someone is your target audience. Go find ‘em.