Content Marketing
Exploring HR Audiences: Real-time, Custom Content Consumption Insights

Exploring HR Audiences: Real-time, Custom Content Consumption Insights

September 19, 2019
6 min read

B2B marketers are feeling the heat. With a focus on building campaign strategies around targeted personas and customized content, the pressure is on.

Last week I introduced you to one of my latest favorite tools, NetLine’s Audience Explorer, which allows you to search and analyze custom buyer engagement insights across the B2B web in real-time. I started with looking at the IT audience. Back with Part 2 of my series, I’m diving into best practices while highlighting customized buyer engagement data — but this time for HR audiences.

To give a little background, Audience Explorer provides B2B marketers with content consumption insights from real, in-market professionals who are actively conducting research across the NetLine network. Audience Explorer is a way to leverage insights using data captured via millions of first-party engagements.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Building specific personas within HR is important for narrower targeting.
  • Identify which topics currently resonate with HR pros.
  • You need to get the frequency and format of your content keeping in mind the type and size of the companies your targets work for.

Targeting Strategy

As a brief reminder for those too eager to read Part 1, the best way to take advantage of this tool starts with whether you have an identified target persona.

If you have a target persona within HR

Refining filters is step 1 of your action plan. Having the ability to narrow down your search by Job Function, Job Level, Employee Size, Industry, and Region welcomes hyper-targeted insights. For example, here are our selected filters:

  • Job Area: Human Resources
  • Job Function: All
  • Job Level: Manager and above
  • Employee Size: 50 and above
  • Industry: Computers & Technology, Corporate Services, Healthcare/Medical, Insurance, Manufacturing, Retail and Consumer Goods,
  • Region: US, UK, Canada                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

From the start, interactive pie charts capture the filters selected to display custom HR insights. Giving the user the ability to pivot the data, I have the option to focus on one of the filters or all of them.

By viewing the charts, we understand the top job level for Human Resources is Manager at 36.3% and the most active company employee size is tied between 10,000-19,999 and 1,000-2,499. While the top two sizes boast higher numbers, not far behind are mid-market players.

Analyzing a different filter, we see out of the selected industries, Healthcare/Medical accounts for 27.1% of Human Resources, followed by Retail and Consumer Goods at 19.3%. These company industries alone take up almost half of the targeted HR audience. Identifying the specifics of who is most eager to consume my content in real-time reminds us of the benefits of leveraging data when building a tactical targeting and content strategy

By clicking on a segment of any pie chart, the rest of the data reacts by reflecting that segment of interest. For example, narrowing in on the largest industry shakes up the rest of the pie charts.


Once we hone in on the Company Industry in Human Resources, some overwhelming insights appear. The senior management Job Function takes up 52.7% of the Healthcare/Medical Industry. Right next door, we see the Director Job Level weighs in at 42.9%.

Are you targeting the obvious content consumers or is your current content strategy focusing on those not as likely to engage with your work?

It’s all too common to experience frustration with your content strategy while not doing anything to understand why it’s not working. These data points of real people consuming real content give you a chance to target those who are hungriest.

If you don’t have a target persona within HR

Ignore the filters. Instead, jump straight into the pie charts to gain a comprehensive view of the entire audience within Human Resources. With the interactive pie charts accumulating over 2 million Total Buyer Content Recommendations, we can allow the data to give the direction to peg down a target audience who’s most eager to consume your content.

Long story short: you can still investigate the HR data without filters.


This holistic view displays Management Job Functions hold the greatest interest in consuming content. Furthermore, Managers, Directors, and VPs make up almost 70% of all Job Levels actively engaging with content. Think about this: If you’re only targeting the C-Level, your hard work might translate largely to wasted efforts. This is also a great reminder to keep in mind the larger buying committee that helps make purchasing decisions.

Your content marketing strategy and target persona go hand in hand. It’s important to drill down on the segmented areas to better understand who you should be targeting and why. Since Managers account for a high percentage of the total Job Level breakdown, analyzing custom data specific to this seems like a welcoming place to start.


With the data shifting to reflect the Manager Job Level, the charts inform us the same Job Function not only remains the most active, but also dominates even more of the audience population. However, the second most engaged Job Function switches from a management position to Payroll/Benefits at 13.7%. Moving on, the Manufacturing Company Industry proves to consume the most content at 11%.

If you’re interested in targeting this Job Level but find that some of the reflected data on the charts don’t reflect your current strategy, this could be the perfect initiator to get curious:

  • If you aren’t targeting the more active Company Industries within HR job area: Does your product/service allow you to target industries the data shows consume the most content?
  • If you are only targeting SMB companies: Can you move into the mid-market or larger companies?
  • If you aren’t sure what Job Function to speak to: Do you have room in your strategy to create more generalized content and also messaging that speaks to a persona?
  • If the Manager job level delivers data that doesn’t overlap with your company: How important is this job level to you?

An important element of content marketing is identifying how your strategy can evolve to pack a larger content-punch. Exploring data related to your audience is one of the ways to discover how to do this.

Content Strategy

Complimenting the targeting strategy data, the other features of this tool inform you of what’s really resonating with real professionals and real companies – right now. Although these sections dynamically update depending on your filter preferences, I’m taking a comprehensive approach by not refining the HR filters.

Starting with Top 10 Trending Topics, we find key themes and words resonating the best within the HR Job Area. Crafting data-backed messages to capture the attention of your audience separates your content apart from the crowd.

Next up, Buyer Research Stream.

Representing a number of collected data points, this section features types and topics of content that specific job levels from specific companies are actively engaging with. Right away, we see a C-Suite professional in the Payroll/Benefits job function from Harper Industries registered for a Guide about Purchasing. These are ripe person-level and company level-insights.

Bringing together the Job Level, Company, Content topic, and Content Format, Buyer Research Stream provides perspective into not only a piece of content someone just downloaded, but also insight into who’s in-market. Something to keep in mind if you’re looking for hyper-targeted insights: These features dynamically update depending on how you refine your filters, so I’d recommend selecting your target persona to compare against the unfiltered view.

The next two sections share buyer behavior related to specific companies and content formats.

Most Active In-Market Companies displays top companies engaging the most with content, providing insight for ABM targeting efforts. The above example includes major players, like Healthcare company Kaiser Permanente, most actively consuming HR related content. Focusing on content formats, the next section informs how your audience likes their content served. Have you only been creating Infographics? Although they make the top 5 list, eBooks are astronomically more appetizing to the HR audience.

Custom Insights Ready for Immediate Use

Bringing everything together, leveraging custom buyer engagement insights to inform your targeting and content strategy is now at your fingertips. I can play around with this tool quickly or dedicate time to explore the current ecosystem. If your goal is to optimize your strategy and give yourself a competitive edge, utilizing real data to understand what is actually happening instead of what you hope is happening is helpful to your process.

Whether your HR strategy needs a small data-push or a lot of TLC, first-party data can bring relevance to your roadmap.

Ready to dig in? Real time content consumption behavior is right here. Your HR buyers are waiting.

NetLine is using the hashtag #ImaDataMarketer to gain feedback on their reports if you want to share with them directly!

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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