Understanding Your Readers
Below is a guest post from Damian Wampler, creator of the comic Sevara – the Mangement
In the process of writing and creating my first comic book, I had no idea who my future readers would be. As a 38-year-old man, I’ve long since lost touch with the world of today’s teenager or even twenty-something. Facebook statistics helped me understand my reader’s demographic and focus my marketing, as well as adjust the tone and themes of future issues.
I wrongly assumed that my major audience would be 28-year-old men. I just took my own age, hacked of 10 years, and figured, ‘sure, a younger version of me would love to read this, because I’m the one who’s writing it’. Not only that, but my main promotional image features a full frontal shot of an extremely beautiful, and barely clothed, goddess. I assumed that 75% of my readers would be men.
I was partly right. 77% of my Facebook fans are men. The age set weighed heavily in favor of the 18-24 range, with strong representation in the 25-34 range and a healthy number of 35-44 year olds. The number of people reached and people engaged is about the same, because they are drawing on my fan base. But when I look at my ads, who reach out into all of Facebook, I see a different story.
When I began to promote my comic’s ComiXology link with Facebook ads, my adsets featured images of the same strong beautiful women as in my comic. I figured 77% of those clicking on the images would be men. Yet when I looked at the statistics, I found that only a little less than half of the clicks to my ComiXology page were women. At some parts of the campaign, men and women were at 50/50. On top of that, the overwhelming majority of those who clicked the ads were in the 13-24 range. Almost no one else clicks, ever.
Maybe it has a lot to do with the images that I selected. They women are in poses that display strength, and sexuality without sleaziness. Indiecomix.net reviewer Derrick Crow remarked that Sevara’s design has, “a sexualized look but not once did I see her in a sexual light.”
At the Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai, I found even more gender differences while ‘manning’ my booth in artist alley. Roughly 70% of my sales of the preview book The Art of Sevara were to women. And at this convention, most of the women were college students from Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, or Saudi Arabia, dressed in partial or full-body hijab. I finally stopped trying to interact with the male young browsers, who never bought anything, and focused all my attention on selling to the women. Maybe the men were embarrassed to pick a book with such a striking woman on the cover? But the women felt right at home with a copy of Sevara in their hands. They wanted to look at images of strong beautiful women, and read stories about strong beautiful women. That’s what I try to deliver in Sevara, I just never realized how thirsty my female audience was for women they could connect with.