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Tribal Fusion is an online advertising provider that helps brands learn about, reach and better engage their audiences.

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Tribal Fusion is an online advertising provider that helps brands learn, reach and better engage their audiences.

  • What happened to the business? And no, the second one quite obviously makes no sense. – RegDwigнt Nov 28 '13 at 9:36
  • The second one sounds as if they're trying to learn me if I happened to be one in their audiences. Quite scary! – Damkerng T. Nov 28 '13 at 9:38
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The first is correct. The verb 'learn' is transitive and can take a direct object when it is the specific thing that is learned. e.g. You 'learn' the alphabet as a child, and you 'learn' French, English or geography. You learn 'writing', but you learn 'to write' or 'to read'.

With other things, that are not strictly direct objects it takes a variety of prepositions and sometimes none at all, depending on the sense in which it is used.

You 'learn of' the death of someone, and you 'learn of' a problem your neighbour is having with her dog.

Where the thing is not something which you learn directly you 'learn about' it. So an audience is something you 'learn about'. There are borderline cases where it can be either 'learn' or 'learn about' e.g. 'I learned my employer's business', 'I learned about my employer's business'. Both are possible but the former suggests a far more comprehensive commitment.

You cannot 'learn an audience', nor 'your neighborhood'. At some levels it becomes difficult to discern if 'about' is needed. In a lot of cases it is possible to employ both, but with a change in meaning. e.g. 'I learned about Keynes economic arguments', but I learned Keynesian economics'. or 'I learned about the argument' i.e. you became aware of it, but 'I learned the argument', meaning you became proficient at understanding and repeating it.

It is complicated. There may be some rules, but being a native speaker I am not aware of them. I just speak as I have learned over seven decades!

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