How to Break Out of the Google/Facebook Duopoly – In Just 7 Minutes with Rand Fishkin

Check out episode
  • Discover the importance of knowing and understanding your audience
  • Learn more on why you should ditch the expensive survey and check out SparkToro
  • Find out how to know more about your audience and not just the facade

Resources/Links:

  • Wanting to Know More About Your Audience? Find out how to Instantly Discover What Your Audience Reads, Watches, Listens to, and Follows: SparkToro.com

Summary

Have you been investing in surveys and researches but not getting enough insights about your audience?

Are you always getting breakeven whenever you use Facebook or Google and getting very little value back?

Do you want to know more about how you can instantly know and understand your audience more?

Rand Fishkin is the Co-Founder of SparkToro, a platform that instantly discovers what your audience reads, watches, listens to, and follows. He was the previous Founder of Moz, a globally successful and smarter way to do SEO. He is also the author of Lost & Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World, as well as the co-author of The Art of SEO.

In this episode, Rand talks about his insights on why Facebook and Google isn’t really the best platform when it comes to understanding your audience’s demographics and coming up with a marketing strategy. He also shares his tips on how you can know more about your audience and maximize your reach by using the right platform and ditching the expensive surveys.

Check out these episode highlights:

  • 01:45 – Rand’s ideal client: “So SparkToro provides audience research. It is primarily used by marketers. Those are in-house marketers at brands of all sizes, but we really love small and medium businesses and agencies and consultants too.”
  • 02:04 – Problem Rand helps solve: “SparkToro helps people to instantly understand lots of attributes, behaviors, and demographics about their target audience.”
  • 03:00 – Typical symptoms that clients do before reaching out to Rand: “Has this ever happened to you? You throw billions of dollars at Google and Facebook, and they take all your money from you, and then give you very little value back. It happens to a lot of marketers!”
  • 04:39 – Common mistakes that people make before they find Rand’s solution: “I think the two big ones are number one, relying on surveys and interviews to answer questions like, “What does my audience pay attention to?”, “Who are they watching and following”, “What publications they read?”, “What are their sources of influence?”
  • 06:25 – Rand’s Valuable Free Action (VFA): “I think one of the best things that you can do to figure out your audience is take a publication or a source of influence that is already popular with your audience.”
  • 07:06 – Rand’s Valuable Free Resource (VFR): Check out Rand’s Website: SparkToro.com
  • 07:50 – Q: how do we long-term disintermediate the power that these duopolies have over the advertising and marketing universe? A: SparkToro can make a tiny, teeny-weeny dent. And the bigger issue is going to be, eventually, we have to decide that competition is a good thing for capitalism.

Tweetable Takeaways from this Episode:

“The way SparkToro works is it just passively crawls the web and social accounts, and then collects that data based on what people actually do.” -Rand Fishkin Click To Tweet

Transcript
(Note, this was transcribed using a transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast)

Tom Poland 00:10
Welcome, everyone, to another edition of Marketing the Invisible. My name is Tom Poland beaming out to you, as always, from little Castaways Beach in Queensland, Australia, joined today by Rand Fishkin. Rand, good day, sir. A very warm welcome. Where are you hanging out?

Rand Fishkin 00:23
I’m in Seattle, Washington, Tom.

Tom Poland 00:25
Seattle, Washington! Hands across the water. Got that little ditch between us called the Pacific Ocean. Other than that, next-door neighbors!

Rand Fishkin 00:33
Basically!

Tom Poland 00:34
For those of you who don’t know Rand, you probably know of his products and services. But you may not know the man behind it because he likes to sort of fly below the radar scope which is why I’m especially appreciative of you being here for this interview, Rand. He’s the Co-Founder of SparkToro, which is a platform that instantly helps you to instantly discover what your audience reads, what they watch, what they listen to, and who they follow. He was previously the Co-Founder of Moz, which is a globally successful and much smarter way to do Search Engine Optimization. He’s the author of Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Guide to the Startup World, which I’ve ordered and is on its way from the UK to me, here in Australia. But he’s also the co-author of The Art of SEO, which is an absolute classic in the world of SEO. So, a real privilege to have you here, Rand. Thanks for rocking up. Our title today is very interesting, “How to Break Out of the Google/Facebook Duopoly” and my goodness, isn’t that a duopoly? So, Rand, our time starts now. Sir, question number one, who is your ideal client?

Rand Fishkin 01:45
So SparkToro provides audience research. It is primarily used by marketers. Those are in-house marketers at brands of all sizes, but we really love small and medium businesses and agencies and consultants too.

Tom Poland 01:59
Perfect. Thank you, sir. Question two, six and a half minutes left. What’s the problem you solve for them?

Rand Fishkin 02:04
SparkToro helps people to instantly understand lots of attributes, behaviors, and demographics about their target audience. So, if you want to find out what orthodontists in the UK are watching, or which podcasts chemical engineers in Canada pay attention to, or you want to know what sources of influence are powerful with architects in Los Angeles, SparkToro can tell you those things, and in just a few seconds.

Tom Poland 02:33
So incredible intel, not just in terms of figuring out what sort of messages those different markets and different regions are responding to, but perhaps also the distribution channels that are reaching him. So, some pretty serious intel going on there. Thank you, sir. Question three, six minutes left. Typical symptoms that someone who needs SparkToro might be experiencing in their business that gives them kind of a heads up that they should check it out?

Rand Fishkin 03:00
Has this ever happened to you, Tom? You throw billions of dollars at Google and Facebook, and they take all your money from you, and then give you very little value back. It happens to a lot of marketers!

Tom Poland 03:12
And then they sell-

Rand Fishkin 03:13
Like I’m giving-

Tom Poland 03:14
And they sell what you told into the other ones!

Rand Fishkin 03:17
So, this is my big frustration, right, with Facebook and Google, is that their incentives, right, to their investors into Wall Street is based to say, “Oh, Tom, you’re selling something for $100? We would like to charge you $99.99 to advertise that thing to your audience.” That is the big problem that essentially SparkToro is helping with at a high level. Obviously in the tactical details, right? It’s really about, “Can I find ways to influence and impact my audience outside of the duopoly so that I can build my brand so that I can build my marketing channels, my email list, my way and own and control the means of growing my business?”

Tom Poland 03:56
So, folks, if you think that Rand is exaggerating when he’s talking about paying 99.9 cents and a dollar for your marketing through Facebook and Google, that is the exact reason why I got out of Facebook advertising because all we were doing is breaking even, and putting money into Mark Zuckerberg’s back pocket. Probably so they can build another rocket and go into space. So- Thank you, sir.

Rand Fishkin 04:19
He’s the only one who hasn’t done it yet, so I’m sure it’s coming in.

Tom Poland 04:22
Watch the space. Did you get that? Okay. Question four, I’ll move on. Four minutes left. Question four, what are some of the common mistakes that people are making when they’re trying to break out of that Facebook/Google duopoly? What are some of the stuff they’re doing that turns out was just more waste of time and money?

Rand Fishkin 04:39
I think the two big ones are number one, relying on surveys and interviews to answer questions like, “What does my audience pay attention to?”, “Who are they watching and following”, “What publications they read?”, “What are their sources of influence?” Unfortunately, while surveys and interviews are awesome for a whole bunch of things, I highly recommend them. I don’t recommend them if you want to discover the leading publications in the world of chemical engineers in Canada. It’s just not going to- People are not going to tell you in a survey great answers to that question.

Tom Poland 05:12
Right. And we found this so often in the case with marketing, and what people tell you that they’re doing is actually very different, not because they’re deliberately misleading because they forget. It’s very different from what they are actually doing and what you’re identifying is their actions, their behaviors, who they’re actually listening to, not what they tell you. They’re listening to, in a kind of a, you know, a feedback session or something. I think that’s very-

Rand Fishkin 05:35
That’s exactly right. Right? The way SparkToro works is it just passively crawls the web and social accounts, and then collects that data based on what people actually do. Like all these people who say their orthodontists in Australia visited this website, and, you know, subscribe to this podcast and follow this YouTube channel and pay attention to this person on LinkedIn. So, it’s passively collected. It’s just literal behavioral data.

Tom Poland 06:00
Right! Alright. And I mean, it reminds me of, you know, if you are someone here in Australia, you know, “Do you like McDonald’s?” They go on, “Oh, no, it’s very unhealthy. I’ll never eat there.” And yet, they’re doing like a billion dollars a year. So, someone’s lying, right?

Rand Fishkin 06:12
Someone says-

Tom Poland 06:13
I don’t think we’re all being honest with each other there. Okay, so thank you, sir. Question number five, two and a quarter minutes left. One valuable free action, an idea, or a tip, it’s not going to solve the whole problem, but it might take people in the right direction?

Rand Fishkin 06:25
Yeah, I think one of the best things that you can do to figure out your audience is take a publication or a source of influence that is already popular with your audience. That you sort of know, “Oh, yeah! Those guys, they’re real big with, you know, my orthodontist clients or with the chemical engineers I want to reach. Or the architects or whoever it is”, and plug that source of influence into SparkToro, either their website or their social account. And SparkToro will tell you a whole bunch of other affinities and behaviors that are shared by that group’s audience.

Tom Poland 06:55
Wow. So you’re going to a whole different level. And then you can rinse and repeat, right?

Rand Fishkin 07:00
You can do this ad nauseum. You can keep finding whatever competitive sources of influence and analyzing them all!

Tom Poland 07:06
Sounds like a fun and deep rabbit hole. 90 seconds left. One valuable free resource. Well, let’s just give folks the website. SparkToro, T-O-R-O.com. What are they going to find there, Rand?

Rand Fishkin 07:19
So the nice thing is we have a forever free account. So, you can sign up. It will always be free. You can run a bunch of searches every month. I think it’s five searches every month. And there are a few other things that you can play around with. There are a few free tools at SparkToro.com. But if you go there and start searching, you will just be prompted to set up with an email.

Tom Poland 07:37
Beautiful! I’ve been there. It’s simple, folks. It looks incredibly powerful. I’m going to do it as soon as the interview ends. Question number seven, Rand. And we’ve got 50 seconds left. The one question I should have asked you but didn’t, and the answer, please.

Rand Fishkin 07:50
I think we should talk about how do we long-term disintermediate the power that these duopolies have over the advertising and marketing universe? And if you want my opinion, SparkToro can make a tiny, teeny-weeny dent. And the bigger issue is going to be, eventually, we have to decide that competition is a good thing for capitalism and do some regulations.

Tom Poland 08:12
Yeah, okay. Rand, thank you so much for your time. It’s been really interesting.

Rand Fishkin 08:17
Thanks, Tom. Thanks for having me!

Tom Poland 08:20
Thanks for checking out our Marketing The Invisible podcast. If you like what we’re doing here please head over to iTunes to subscribe, rate us, and leave us a review. It’s very much appreciated. And if you want to generate five fresh leads in just five hours then check out www.fivehourchallenge.com.

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