User Segmentation

What is User Segmentation?

User or visitor segmentation is the breaking up of visitors to your website by identifiable categories based on certain attributes, behaviors, or sources. This allows for a focused view of data variables that can emphasize trends within certain groups and ultimately allow you to create hypotheses based on these trends to find solutions that are relevant, targeted, and tailored to these groups to increase your conversion rates. 

Types of Segments

There are a variety of ways to segment users to get definitive and actionable data about how certain user variables affect visitor behavior on your website. They include:

  • New vs. returning visitors
  • Geographical locations
  • Demographics
  • Behavioral attributes based on interactions with your website
  • Traffic sources
  • Referral domains
  • Marketing Campaigns
  • Device

Why is User Segmentation Important?

Without user segmentation, an entire visitor base would be viewed as a whole (in aggregate). That means the things you test, changes you implement, and campaigns you execute are all based on data from one large group. This doesn't allow for businesses to have conclusive results. Large groups of people can be very different in their likes and dislikes, the languages they speak, the words or images they identify with, and so on. When you can break up these groups into segments, the data you have will be more conclusive in regards to these segments. 

Based on user segmentation, you can use a variety of website optimization tools to ensure that the content, images, products, designs, or any other variables that segmented visitors see are the most successfully tested variables for that group. This way, each landing or entry page they enter on your site can be tailored to their likes and needs.

Furthermore, user segmentation can tell you which groups are the highest value in terms of revenue, the most successful in terms of becoming advocates, the highest beneficiaries of your services or product, and much more. 

Rather than treating visitors as a whole, segmenting users based on the above mentioned criteria can allow for more pinpointed data that can streamline strategies to test to increase your conversion rates. 

Segmenting Example:

A company decides to segment a user group by location. They can see that a larger amount of revenue is coming from users based in New York, while they're least amount of revenue is coming from California. This information would allow that company to analyze their marketing strategies in both places, see what worked and what didn't, and make hypotheses to test such as making the landing pages more localized to drive up conversions. 

What Is The Difference In The Types of Segment Criteria?

Each criteria listed above can be extremely vital in terms of narrowing down how certain groups interact with your website. Here is a short breakdown of each.

New vs. Returning Visitors

New visitors that come to your website may need more help in determining what your business does, finding out what products or services they offer, or what information they can get from it.

Optimizing the most common landing and entry pages for these users to be as informational and helpful as possible can be helpful. Maybe you have a new promotion you want to give to first time users or just to returning visitors.

Segmenting users this way can save time and help when creating optimizing strategies for webpages based on how familiar visitors are with your brand. 

Geographical Locations

As discussed above, where people are located can have a huge impact on how you choose to optimize certain website elements and the subsequent data you receive from them. These variables could include:

  • Information about shipping, business, or job opportunities in their area
  • Seasonal or traditional holiday opportunities relevant to their location
  • The language, style, and rhetoric of your copy content

All of these factors should be taken into account when optimizing pages and/or website elements concerning geographical location. 

Demographics

Many web design elements such as images, copywriting, content, or promotions can be perceived differently by different demographic groups. Using user segmentation based on demographics, you can isolate gender, age, interest, etc. to uncover any trends that are associated with this criteria. This allows for strategic optimization hypothesis' based on the data you collect to implement the highest converting solutions for these segmented groups. 

Behavioral Attributes

These users are segmented by actions they have taken on your website such as items they have put into their shopping cart, pages they visited, articles they read, etc. Understanding what they've done before on your website can assist in creating the most targeted content and information for them to see when re-entering your website. Users that abandoned a shopping cart before may be re-directed to that shopping cart the next time they visit your website, for example. 

Traffic Sources

Understanding the traffic sources visitors use to get to your website can be an important factor in determining what information or content they should see upon arriving. For instance, users coming from social media sources might be more inclined to share your content or website on their social media profiles; thus it could be a good idea to have share widgets available on the pages they enter. 

Referral Domains

Using segments that target users coming from domains that are within your field can also be beneficial in getting actionable data from these groups. Users coming from websites that are in competition with you may be looking at your business as an alternative. Or if they're coming from a source that posted about a promotion you're offering, it may be a good idea to direct them to a promotional landing or pricing page. 

Marketing Campaigns

Finding out which of your marketing campaigns is most successful can also be done via user segmentation. Having a large uptick in conversions from visitors coming from an email campaign over a pay-per-click campaign can help determine how you should focus those campaigns in the future. Is your social media presence driving more conversions than organic search results? Segmenting users this way can allow for a better understanding of how these marketing campaigns are affecting your conversion rates. 

Devices

Are your users coming from mobile, desktop, or tablet sources? Distinguishing if more conversion are coming from a mobile source than a desktop enables you to highlight and uncover the differences between conversions on these devices through split testing your hypothesis. 

Takeaways

  • User segmentation allows for a more complete understanding of how visitors interact with your website within different criteria.
  • Using this information, you can optimize and tailor the most likely pages they will enter your website on to satisfy their needs and desires accordingly.
  • Testing all of the above segments enables you to get to the core reasons of what leads to conversions for different criteria and ultimately implement conclusive results to drive conversion rates up.