​New data shows that audience targeting initiatives fall flat for many companies.

​A first step to content marketing success is understanding what information will inspire audiences. Brands compile Big Data to improve their audience targeting capabilities. However, much of what companies think they know about their customers may be false, according to an experiment conducted by Mashable contributor Christopher Mims.

In a survey covering approximately 116 people and about 9,000-data points, a firm called Enliken sought to better understand the efficacy and accuracy of brands’ audience targeting initiatives. Mims took Enliken’s survey, which showcases what brands within a certain network know about him, and discovered some points were true while others were completely false. For example, 26 percent of the data about him online was “laughably wrong,” he said, as he’s certainly not a hard-core sports fan like some firms believe.

Marketers may think their social listening and audience targeting practices compile correct information about their customers, but Enliken found that 50 percent of customer data is wrong.

Internet marketing flourishes because it positions media online in areas where consumers just happen upon content that pertains to their interests, as long as brands understand their audiences enough to know how to optimize content for SEO. The Enliken project makes clear that many companies may not know enough about who buys their products or services. As Brafton has reported, social analytics may be key to uncovering real audience insights in terms of what users like and what motivates them to buy.

Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.