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The 9 Most Important Criteria to Segment Your Traffic

The 9 Most Important Criteria to Segment Your Traffic

The modern consumer is smart and savvy. They know they’ve got numerous options and multiple brands vying for their business.

As a result, consumers demand to be treated as individuals and not merely as numbers. They want a personalized experience where products, promotions and marketing messages are customized specifically for them rather than the masses.

In fact, Marketo found, “78.6 percent of consumers are only likely to engage with a brand using coupons or other offers if those promotions are directly tied to how they have interacted with the brand previously.”

Furthermore, the Marketing Insider Group discovered, “More than three quarters of consumers see personally relevant content as the key to engaging more deeply with a brand and considering products and services they provide.”

Providing this level of personalization often begins by segmenting your traffic into different sub-groups based on certain traits and characteristics.

Here are nine of the most important criteria to segment your traffic.

1. Age

This tends to be a good starting point and will impact two key things—the platforms you use to reach consumers and your marketing message.

For instance, Instagram should be effective if you’re targeting individuals between the ages of 18 and 29 because 58 percent are active on this network. However, it wouldn’t be viable if you’re trying to reach those who are 60+ considering only 7 percent of this age group uses Instagram.

This is a simple example but demonstrates how age can come into play. In terms of age ranges, they are generally broken down into five major groups:

  • The Silent Generation – Born between 1927 and 1945
  • Baby Boomers – Born between 1946 and 1964
  • Generation X – Born between 1965 and 1980
  • Generation Y or Millennials – Born between 1981 and 2000
  • Generation Z – Born between 2001 and 2017

2. Geographic location

Today’s global economy means that it’s common for companies to have customers all over the world. So you want to keep this in mind when shaping the visitor experience.

This type of segmentation involves separating your market into different geographical areas like city, state, region, country or international region.

Why is this important?

It allows you to target the needs and wants of customers in an extremely personalized way. For instance, you might adjust the messaging of your website promotions based on a visitor’s location and reference current weather conditions or their local sports team.

You can even develop initiatives based on cultural characteristics if need be.

3. New vs returning visitor

This one is huge because it represents where a person is at in the buying journey. A new visitor is likely to be at the top of the funnel and may have very minimal awareness of your product, while a returning visitor is likely at the middle or bottom of the funnel.

As a result, this can dramatically change your approach and the specific information you want to present visitors with. For a new visitor, you may want to welcome them to your website and include a brief video that introduces them to your product, explains its features, gives a bit of background about your company, and so on.

For a returning visitor, you might want to feature a current promotion based on their previous browsing history. They should already have a basic understanding of your company and product, so you can be a bit more aggressive with your approach.

4. Benefit sought

Each person has their own distinct reasons for buying a product. While the primary motivator for one person may be quality-level, it may be low pricing for another and convenience for yet another.

Segmenting your traffic based on the primary benefit sought puts you in a better position to cater to each person’s unique needs and ultimately increases your chances of converting. If a particular person is price conscious, you would want to feature lower priced products or maybe even just focus on a free trial initially until they warm up.  

However, if a person’s key objective is quality, you may want to feature higher end products that are more expensive but deliver a greater value.

5. Spending patterns

The way you approach someone who has already made a purchase will likely be very different than the way you approach someone who’s merely browsed through your product page. You’ll also want to take into account:

  • If someone has abandoned the checkout page/shopping cart
  • How much someone has spent
  • How frequently they’ve purchased
  • How recently they placed their last order

The 9 Most Important Criteria to Segment Your Traffic

Segmenting your traffic based on purchase behavior allows you to route visitors to the correct page that best suits their exact needs. Here’s an example.

Say that you’re an SaaS company with three different plans—basic, pro and advanced. If someone who’s already purchased the basic plan returns to your website, it might make sense to offer a promotion for your pro or advanced version. This segment would be ripe for the picking.

6. User status

Here’s another variable that applies directly to an SaaS company. When segmenting your traffic by user status, you might break down visitors into three main groups:

  1. Non-users
  2. Free trial users
  3. Regular paying users

The group in which a particular person is placed in could dictate a few different factors. One of which is the promotions you offer. For a non-user, you would probably want to promote the free trial version of your product so they could get their feet wet and see how it would benefit them.

Or if someone is currently using a free trial, you might want to promote the basic version of your product because they would likely be apt to buy it.

7. Loyalty status

Loyalty segmentation is where you break down your traffic in terms of how much someone interacts and engages with your site’s content. Some things that contribute to a person’s loyalty include:

  • Whether or not they’ve made a purchase before
  • How many purchases they’ve made
  • How often they click on important links (e.g. clicking on CTAs)
  • How much they engage with your content (e.g. commenting on your blog posts)

A person’s loyalty will inevitably determine the type of materials you show them and how aggressive you can be with your promotions. You’ll also have a better idea of when it’s best to nurture a lead and when it’s time to go for the conversion.

8. Device

While this may not have been all that important five years ago, it certainly is today. With heavy growth in mobile usage and no signs of slowing down, segmenting traffic by device makes sense for many companies.

DeviceAtlas offers some specific examples of device segmentation:

    • Device type – Common types include low-end smartphones, high-end smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, TVs and web-enabled devices.
    • Screen size – You can detect the dimensions and adjust UX elements like menus, navigation and search. You may also want to cut pop-ups from smartphones because they can eat up the bulk of the screen’s real estate.
    • Hardware – Knowing hardware information can be helpful if your site features video. For instance, you may want to avoid showing a video to visitors on smartphones that lack sufficient CPUs and RAM.  

Paying attention to devices like this should ensure a positive visitor experience across the board and prevent prospects from abandoning your site prematurely for a lower bounce rate.

9. Acquisition source

How did a visitor get to your site?

  • Did they find you through a search engine query?
  • Was it through a particular social network?
  • Or maybe they clicked on an email you sent?

Creating an experience based on the channel that directed a visitor to your website is also important. By knowing how they got there, you can better understand buyer readiness and purchase intent. Therefore, creating segments based on acquisition source makes sense in many cases.

The 9 Most Important Criteria to Segment Your Traffic

Optimizing the Customer Experience

Customer identity and access management software provider Janrain found, “74 percent of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content (e.g. offers, ads and promotions) appears that has nothing to do with their interests.

So delivering a personalized experience should be a top priority for companies in 2018 and beyond. Doing so is and will continue to be integral to getting the most from your traffic.

While there are numerous ways to segment your traffic, the criteria mentioned here are some of the most important and should put you in the best possible position to increase conversions.  

Are there any other types of market segmentation that have proven to be fruitful for your company? Please share your thoughts:


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