5 minutes

Continuous Success Requires Continuous Audience Discovery – An Analysis of Airbnb’s Audience

A Data-Driven Look Into Airbnb’s Audience

Airbnb is a massively disruptive force within the travel industry, and I think it’s safe to say travel will never be quite the same. Airbnb has introduced home-sharing as a mainstream travel option, and in doing so has fundamentally challenged the notion of accommodation. Airbnb’s digital solution has brought increased value, ease, and meaning to travelers and hosts alike.

And there’s no slowing down. Each day it’s becoming more evident that no fraction of the travel industry is safe from Airbnb’s disrupting forces. While this type of growth is beyond exciting to the Airbnb team, it also represents tremendous challenges in customer research, insights, and strategy.

As Airbnb continues to attract new travelers and hosts each day, their strategy and insights team has the task of continuous audience discovery and analysis. If Airbnb fails to adapt marketing strategy to align with new market segments, they run the risk of losing business. Knowing their customers intimately will be a key to Airbnb’s continued success.

Affinio’s data science platform enables on-going audience discovery

Luckily, we have them covered. Using Affinio’s interest-based approach, businesses can understand brand audiences on a human level. Affinio’s advanced customer insights are activated by marketing teams (BBC Worldwide, Spotify, 20th Century Fox, etc.) in a way that is repeatable, predictable, and scalable.

Affinio mines billions of network connections and applies network graph analysis to reveal what segments naturally exist within an online audience.

Airbnb’s Audience

Here is a visualization of everyone in the United States talking about Airbnb, segmented based on interest patterns. The graph reveals the different clusters within the audience. The lines connecting clusters indicate their shared interests. More lines = more in common.



What is Interest-based segmentation, and why does it matter?

The above audience visualization captures everyone talking about Airbnb over the past 30 days. Individuals are clustered into communities based on similar following behaviors. Clustering enables market research and insights professionals to understand the segments within their audience on a deeper level than ever before. Rather than segments linked to demographic and geographic brackets, Affinio segments are a reflection of reality.

Interest-based segments offer the brand a more intimate understanding of their customer’s interests, passions, and values.These insights can then be activated by making tailored appeals to customers through optimal channels.

Segments in Airbnb’s audience include Business Professionals, Conservative Sports Fans, Travel Junkies, Journalist, Lovers of Hip-hop and Rap.

Getting to know the Business Professionals within Airbnb’s audience

Affinio’s technology enables holistic audience discovery. Let’s get to know the business professionals in Airbnb’s audience.

When describing themselves on social media, members of this cluster use the following words:

These are the top interests of the Business Professionals in Airbnb’s audience:

Top influential “celebrities” all happen to be business leaders. The top ten include Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, John Legere, Gary Vaynerchuk, Mark Cuban, and Tim Cook.

This cluster feels comfortable integrating technology solutions into their daily lives – they frequent Hootsuite, Buffer, Evernote, and Four Square.

When it comes to professional events, you’ll find cluster members at, or following, CES, Social Media Week, and Cannes Lions.

This gang falls to the political left:

When Business Professionals voice their opinion on social, they frequent these hashtags:

We can even get a feel for how this cluster of business professionals talk about Airbnb on Twitter:

As a matter of fact, we can get a feel for how they are talking about anything on Twitter. Curious if members of this cluster are interested in traveling to Paris? Affinio’s tracked terms features lets you get a read on any topic, place, or trend.

And finally, let’s complete the segment analysis by bringing in some demographic and geographic data:



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Business Professionals within Airbnb’s audience live on the coasts, and are dominantly male, ages 25-34.

Airbnb now has the data needed to create a persona for the naturally forming segment of Business Professionals in their audience.

Business Professionals vs. Christian/Conservative Sports Fans

Let’s jump into a different cluster to see how the data varies. Christian/Conservative Sports Fans within Airbnb’s audience self-identify using these words:

Top Interests:

Top “celebrities” are Donald Trump, Lecrae, Adam Schefter, Timothy Keller, Tim Tebow, John Piper, and Scott Van Pelt.

Top media sources for Christian/Conservative Sports Fans in Airbnb’s audience are:

By leveraging the Compare Tab, we can look at these two clusters side by side and zero in on key elements of distinction. The Affinio Compare Tab is excellent for finding cluster commonalities or subtle differences.


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Defining the Scope of Audience Analysis

Lastly, let’s bring our attention back to the overall audience. Affinio enables insights professionals to determine how they would like to segment the audience. Here is Airbnb’s audience segmented into only five clusters:

This graph shows only the most dominant audience interest patterns. This type of segmentation is valuable when making broad and overarching strategy and campaign decisions.

Looking for highly unique niche audiences? Here is Airbnb’s audience segmented into 20 clusters:

Affinio users can conduct the same analysis demonstrated above on these highly refined audience segments. This type of analysis reveals niche audiences.

Continuous Audience Discovery

As Airbnb continues to grow and redefine how the world travels, they must continue to learn more about their customers every step of the way.

Affinio can free up precious time by capturing massive amounts of data in a matter of hours and displaying results that are easy to interpret, genuinely insightful, and actionable across marketing functions.

No audience is static, and every audience is unique. In today’s incredibly competitive landscape, brands that succeed know their audiences intimately and prioritize continuous audience discovery.

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