Social Media Commerce: Use Wolfram|Alpha and Zillow for Customer Demographics - dummies

Social Media Commerce: Use Wolfram|Alpha and Zillow for Customer Demographics

By Marsha Collier

If you want to expand your customer base through social media, you need to understand your customer demographics. Wolfram|Alpha and Zillow are two excellent tools for gleaning local demographic data.


Wolfram|Alpha is the pixie-dust behind iPhone’s Siri, the vocal knowledge navigator. It’s available for use on your website or as a mobile app for iOS, Android, Nook, and Kindle Fire devices. The program aggregates information from all over the web and curates 10+ trillion pieces of data from primary sources with continuous updating.

You get a quantitative answer to your query, not opinions or reviews. Called a “computational knowledge engine” by its developers, Wolfram|Alpha is concerned only with facts and figures. Its mission is to unify the sum of human knowledge (a heady goal for a program).

For example, if you type ZIP CODE 91325 demographics in the text box on the Wolfram|Alpha website, and then click the Age and Gender button, you’ll get results like what’s shown in the figure.


Data is continually being updated, often in real time. The types of data available are almost unlimited, from demographic data to the nutrients in an avocado. Don’t forget this valuable site.


Zillow is famous for its up-to-date real estate valuations. In addition to giving values for homes, Zillow also gives you solid demographic data for most cities.

Here’s how you find demographic data for your business location on Zillow:

  1. On the site’s home page, type the city and the state abbreviation, and then click the magnifying glass to the right of the data field.

    The example in the figure shows demographics for Los Angeles CA.


  2. At the top of the resulting page, select Demographics from the drop-down Local Info menu.

    You see the demographics for the metro area. If you’re searching a small city or rural area, all the information will be here.

  3. If you’re searching a metropolitan city, with neighborhoods, narrow your search by clicking one of the links on the left side of the page to view data for the various communities.

Further down the page, you can find other data, including median household income, median age, and average household size. You’ll also find unique sociological categories in the Who Lives Here and the What’s Unique About the People sections (if available for the region), as shown in this figure.