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Agency Tech Stack Spotlight – SparkToro

In our Tech Stack Spotlights, we walk you through some of the key tools we use to support our clients. First up, the incredible audience insights tool, SparkToro.

I’ve been following Rand Fishkin since 2010, since the days of SeoMoz’s (now simply ‘Moz’) whiteboard Fridays and as a consequence, I launched my first SEO agency, Black Page.

I’ve been a customer of Moz for just as long in multiple agencies and brands. It started my love affair with SaaS and let’s face it, all businesses these days are using cloud-based software for our daily tasks, whether that’s collaboration tools like Slack and or specialist products like Moz and SEMRush to deliver our services for clients.

I was blown away by Rand’s cautionary tale of being a SaaS founder and his adventures with Moz are well documented – I can’t recommend his book, Lost & Founder enough for anyone thinking about founding a software company. It’s an authentic, warts and all tale about how he went from turning down $25m for Moz from Hubspot, to ultimately being fired by his own board. It also shines a light on the reality of working with VCs and scaling a two-person business into a market leader in a growing industry.

Like a phoenix, Rand emerged from the ashes of his 16-year career at Moz with his book and a teaser for his next SaaS project, SparkToro.

I signed-up to the newsletter when SparkToro was just a single page teaser website. When it launched, I signed-up as soon as I could and it is now firmly in my agency’s tech stack and frankly, it is brilliant.

Imagine you could identify the websites your target market visits, the social profiles they follow, the YouTube channels they watch, the Podcast channels they listen to and the Reddit, SubReddits they read. Then imagine you could dive into how they describe themselves in their bios and even the media outlets that influence them and even their political leanings.

That’s exactly what SparkToro provides and you start with either a keyword, a website or a social profile to generate these insights. When we are pitching, we use it to show that we really understand a prospect client’s audience and that of their major competitors.

Once we are working with a client, we use SparkToro to add genuine behaviour insights to personas. We all do personas in agencies and we’ve all seen the now classic Ozzy V King Charles comparison, which proves that whilst still useful, traditional segmentation does not tell you the whole story.

They both like red wine and holiday in the South of France, too.

The other super useful output from the platform is laser focused targeting methodology for both Twitter campaigns and Reddit paid ads. We’re essentially defining our audience in SparkToro, then applying the targeting into these ad channels and it has always delivered better CTRs and better engagement.

We were delighted to work on a joint case study with SparkToro following an experiment we conducted where we ran the same budgets to the client’s defined target audience in Twitter Ads, versus the list of social profiles identified in SparkToro. The experiment was made more challenging, given that the client’s audience was already delivering a CTR slightly above the benchmark of 0.86%.

The results were a 47% uplift in CTRs, 25% more followers and 17% more re-tweets. As we all know in agency world, we’re constantly looking for things to test and incremental improvements beyond creative, copy and landing page tests. SparkToro gives us such deep insights into audience behaviour, we can roll the learnings directly into the ad channels. You can read more about the case study here.

SparkToro is constantly evolving and rolling out new features and we’re keen to look into App insights – in a similar vein to the above channels, we can also look at what Apps our audience uses. We’re constantly using the platform to inform content, ad copy, personas, targeting methodology and help with pitches.

It’s an easy 10/10 from team AlgoRhythm.

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