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What an Audience Analysis Agency Thinks About True Crime

What kind of people like true crime podcasts, documentaries, and articles? Learn how a brand personas agency views true crime fans.

Everybody’s heard the old adage that says crime doesn’t pay, especially in the long run. Plenty of stories about the eventual fates of criminals prove the saying true in some sense. They often end up dead, in prison, or at least, disgraced. Still, that saying sure does not apply to a genre of crime stories called true crime. In fact, true crime podcasts, books, and documentaries have been attracting legions of fans and lots of revenue.

Meanwhile, all kinds of businesses have jumped on the bandwagon. They want to know if they can use this fascination with factual accounts of newsworthy crimes to bolster their own audience, so they may seek the perspective of an audience analysis agency to find out more.

An audience analysis agency perspective of true crime fans

As an example of true crime popularity, according to Forbes, the “My Favorite Murder” podcast raked in over $15 million last year. That’s more than finance guru Dave Ramsey’s earnings of $10 million. Out of all podcasts, “My Favorite Murder” only ranked behind comedian Joe Rogan’s $30 million income.

Besides the “My Favorite Murder” podcast and related content, true crime fans can find plenty of other podcasts, books, and even Netflix specials on the topic of real-life criminals and their victims. The public has had an appetite for true crime stories for years. Everybody knows about Jack the Ripper.

Still, these tales of crime, suffering, and punishment have gained unprecedented traction in the last few decades. Obviously, this genre can attract a large audience. Still, before deciding if true crime stories provide a good opportunity to for business sponsorship, a brand personas agency would want to know more about the audience.

Why do so many people like true crime stories?

A social psychologist named Amanda Vicary also grew fascinated with true crime. In turn, she also gained an interest in the psychological appeal of these sometimes grizzly and disturbing stories. For one thing, she had presumed that this sort of thing would mostly appeal to men. After doing a little research, she found out that women made up the overwhelming majority of the audience. Even though she liked this genre, the large female majority of the audience surprised her.

Dr. Vicary wanted to resolve this apparent paradox with a study that she eventually even published in a scientific journal. She discovered that, like herself, women’s interest generally centered upon the mental processes involved in these criminal acts. Perhaps surprisingly, women usually also preferred stories with female victims.

It’s surprising because Vicary said research has found that women tend to fear becoming victims of crime more than men do. As she dug into the mystery, she found that reacting to that fear may have attracted the audience. She finally concluded that that these stories drew in women because they hoped to learn enough about these acts of violence or exploitation enough to figure out which steps they could take to either prevent or survive them.

Dr. Vicary admitted that many women might experience this feeling subconsciously. Consciously or not, people may view true crime stories as a way to prepare and even to gain comfort, and this knowledge should factor into your audience analysis.

How can understanding true crime fans help with audience marketing?

Actually, it’s possible for marketers to learn a lot about true crime audiences during the audience analysis portion of their marketing research. Just from Dr. Vicary’s research, a brand personas agency would learn the likely gender of the majority. They would also understand that most of their audience doesn’t indulge in these alarming stories for a vicarious thrill. They don’t view the criminals as heroes either.

Instead, they want to better understand crimes as a way to gain the information that they could use to protect themselves of feel comforted they would never get into the same position as the victim. The audience feels threatened on some level, and they view true crime as a sort of self-defense school.

That’s not enough information for a completed set of buyer personas. Still, it’s a good start. To learn more, marketers would need to probe further into the audience for any particular kind of content they might either plan to produce or sponsor. Considering Dr. Vicary, a noted researcher and professor, enjoys these kinds of stories, it’s not wise to make assumptions about educational levels, income, or age.

Why consider true crime content for audience marketing?

Knowing even this much, this kind of audience might spark the interest of any businesses promoting home security, self-defense products, or almost anything related to preparing better defenses against the type of villains featured in true crime stories. These people already demonstrated a willingness to invest in informative content, so they’re probably also likely to invest in other solutions.

Also, a majority of the audience appears eager to take control of their lives by educating themselves. Beyond security, they may also have an interest in businesses that help them learn new things, enjoy different experiences, or even gain more power. Businesses that promote courses or products related to health, business, self-improvement, careers, and even beauty may find an attentive market.

All in all, true crime fans may provide a surprisingly receptive and open-minded market for all sorts of companies that can offer them value.

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