The Value of Audience Segmentation

The Value Of Audience Segmentation

Jason Hamrick, Director, Data & Insights
#Digital Strategy | Posted

Digital marketers, are you obsessed with bounce rate?

Do you sweat over tweaking paid search parameters, write six-figure checks to SEO firms, and pull your hair out trying to craft the perfect email subject line for that much-cherished clickthrough... all to lower bounce rate?

Stop! Instead, ask yourself, “why do I care so much about the people who visit my site and immediately leave?” Visitors who bounce don’t contribute to your organization’s KPIs. They are looky-loos. Tire kickers. To borrow from Avinash Kaushik - why do we fixate on our flirts? Why do we ignore our lovers?   

In his seminal blogpost from 2010, Avinash wrote about the importance of turning attention away from visitors who bounce (the flirts) and instead concentrating on visitors who do engage (the potential lovers). 

These potential lovers are an audience that he further segments by how many pages they viewed within a single browser session - their Depth of Visit - before they decide to purchase. Avinash’s recommendation is that by seeking to understand the slice of your audience that engages with your content, you can craft audience-specific content strategies that lead to more sales conversions.

Dividing visitors into smaller audiences by Depth of Visit is a simple example of audience segmentation. Your “lovers” have exhibited site behavior that suggests that they are more likely to convert, so you can optimize their interactions with your brand to boost those conversions.

Rather than viewing site visitors in aggregate, instead segment visitors into smaller audiences by an attribute (in this case lovers vs flirts). You can use segmentation to deliver more relevant and targeted digital experiences based on site behavior patterns.

Identify Small Audience Segments

Simple messaging segmentation based on the product is a good start, but as you already know, the modern digital marketer has a wealth of customer data with which to segment an audience and create customer profiles that are tuned to audience attributes. 

By combining these data points into a single view of the customer, that rich data allows you to fine tune your understanding of audience segments. That data can then be used to construct narrower and narrower audiences, potentially finding opportunities for true one-to-one audience engagement… especially with your lovers!

Using small audience segments, you can fine-tune messages based on behavior and an understanding of the relationship between the audience and your brand. 

You might choose to direct attention to:

  • Features for first-time customers 

  • Benefits for visitors who are email subscribers 

  • Price for returning customers who have recently abandoned a cart

  • “Fear of Missing Out” messages for those who came into a brick-and-mortar location

Using audience attribute segmentation, you can hone your messaging and online experiences. Rather than a one-size fits all approach based on the product, you can construct customized digital experiences that are tailored to the needs of your various customers - brand messaging, engagement strategies, and sales funnels tailored to better suit your potential customers.

Now Focus On Converting Your Lovers

So, now that you’ve identified (and focused attention on) your lovers, what next? 

Avinash’s Depth of Visit segmentation analyzes the top of the funnel to understand which marketing channels attract visitors who will stay on your site and explore. But exploration and engagement are not conversion. 

We recommend that digital marketers first channel efforts closest to the conversion point. That conversion may be a product sale, a recurring donation, or a lead generating form submission. As you struggle to justify budgets, you need to clearly demonstrate how investments in content marketing, personalization, and channel engagement directly drive revenue. And what better way to do this than by figuring out what will convert your potential Lovers into loyal customers.

Centering segmentation and optimization efforts at the conversion point (clicking the buy button, for instance) is the most effective way for digital marketers to demonstrate the value of marketing investments. The best way to optimize the customer’s experience with your brand is to test different aspects of their experience, such as the visual design of your page, the UI, the UX microcopy, and the overall messaging. 

Ongoing testing based on the behavior and preferences of the “lover” segment you're targeting slowly builds a culture of experimentation within your organization. Once the conversion experience is optimized, you should then turn your attention to content engagement and marketing reach, to get the maximum benefit from those earlier investments in purchase funnel optimization. 

Based on the results you’re seeing with your lovers, this type of audience-based segmentation can also lead to breakthroughs in understanding which engagement strategies are leading to bounces among your flirts too.

Review your metrics, think critically about your own audiences, and use what you know to create digital experiences that resonate. When you use segmentation to unlock the power of your funnel, you will be amazed at the insights you can uncover and the potential actions you can take. Don't delay! 

Jason Hamrick

Jason Hamrick

Director, Data & Insights