Why Should Audience Segmentation Matter to Publishers?

Updated on: December 21, 2023
Audience segmentation helps to increase the effectiveness of your advertising efforts.

In the midst of data protection and privacy laws, the practicability of ‘audience segmentation’ is under question. So, what’s the way out for publishers? Do they need another platform to segment their audience? Of all, why do publishers need to work on audience segmentation? In this piece, we try to explore and find the best answers to those questions.

What Is Audience Segmentation?

Audience segmentation divides a publisher’s audience into specific groups or segments based on shared characteristics or behaviors. This can include demographic information such as:

  • Age, gender, and income;
  • Geographic information such as location or climate;
  • Behavioral information such as reading habits, content preferences, or purchase history; and
  • Psychographic information such as interests, values, or personality.

By segmenting their audience, publishers can better understand their readers’ needs and interests and tailor their content and advertising strategies accordingly. 

Why Is Audience Segmentation Important for Publishers?

Online advertising originated as a context-focused model where impressions and reach were the KPIs for advertisers and brand marketers. But those metrics have been pushed down and replaced by the target audience, acquisitions, or product sales. In short, brands and marketers have begun correlating advertising spending with their bottom lines.  

In addition, publishers can experience increased revenue when building and maintaining a target audience. This, in turn, quadruples the importance of structuring and segmenting the audience to deliver actions specific to readers with similar preferences and interests. The actions include personalized content, user interface, and, most importantly, ads. 

Here’s an oversimplified example: A user who’s a fitness freak would be more interested in subscribing to the offers and ads related to health and fitness. Also, it is observed that many digital users wish to have the information handy but wouldn’t like to subscribe.

This is where the audience segmentation work. Knowing the interest and preferences of your audience will help you present them with the content and targeted advertising information they are looking for and can bring them back to the site for more related content, and they tend to subscribe (or return, to say least) for more.

“As there is an enormous volume of data placed at multiple locations the publishers and digital agencies find it difficult to understand the mass audience. And, it is a consumer-driven digital age! Hence, it is essential for publishers to concentrate more on individual consumer needs instead of endowing with generic content.”

With perceivable (and calculable) benefits, advertisers and publishers want to dive in and utilize as much segmented audience as possible. But it’s easier said than done.


  1. Well, on the other side, readers and governments started to realize the exploitation of data. (To put it simply, remember the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal).
  2. Besides, most publishers (Mid-market and Small), if not all, have no idea about audience segmentation and how they could benefit from it.

Audience segmentation: How to do it?

Before getting into the actual segmentation, you need proper tools. And, believe us, your Google Analytics will do just fine. However, if you have any other tools specialized in segregation, feel free to use them because more tool means more options to divide and, ultimately, detailed segments.

How Many Segments Should You Create?

It’s up to you and your site(s). Here are a few examples to help you get started.

If you’re a Mid-Market Publisher with over a few million visits, you could say that 75 to 85 percent of your readers are from the same region. And they would love to consume a standard set of content on your website. So, your segment count will be relatively less.

You may frame more segments if you provide diversified content and have great tractions on all the verticals. We can go on and on. As mentioned earlier, it’s up to you and your site(s).

Note: It’s important to take 60 or 90 days of data for segmentation (regardless of the tool). 

Audience Persona

You can start with core data such as age, gender, location, device, and channels to get insights into your audience and sources. In fact, with the right data, you could develop reader personas for targeting.

Customer Journey 

You don’t have to stop with the basics. Imagine you know what your readers would love to do on the internet. How easy will it be for you to personalize ads and content?

Predicting and acting ahead of your readers will earn you bucks. Period.

Easy as pie, right? In Google Analytics, you can unleash your readers’ affinities, interesting market segments, etc. Now, it’s time for you to make a decision. You know what to do next if your readers are more engaged in technology.

Industry and Designation

This is one of the key metrics advertisers and brand marketers use to decide the relevancy and ROI of any publisher. If you have a segmented audience (based on industry and designation) and funnel them to a set of standard verticals on your site, proving the ROI will be easier than you think. Besides, if you are partnering with a media agency or network, it will help you get whitelisted.

Content Consumption

Gone are the days when follower count decides the quality. At present, it’s quality over quantity. Wait, let’s jump to reality first. Can you imagine making considerable ad revenue with a few thousand quality readers? Or would you prefer to have a few million readers?

Any publishers would hop on to the last option, without a doubt. Because we have a CPM model, it earns you based on impressions delivered, not on the quality of readers. On the other hand, publishers need a few thousand quality readers to spread the word and improve.

So, segmenting the readers who consume content from those just for a quick peek is essential.

Traffic Source

This one is a no-brainer. Obviously, every publisher would report on the sources and referrers. But, only a few works on personalization. Once you know you’re attracting 40 to 50% of your readers from a single source, why don’t you deliver them a personalized experience?

Read: How to Create & Target Audience Segments in Google Ad Manager.

Wrapping Up

We’ve outlined the top five ways to segment your audience. And most of them can be done with the help of Google Analytics. But, as a publisher, it’s up to you to settle on the right tools and the right set of audiences to increase your ad revenue.

Every visitor is different, but most have the same intention while reading your content. So, a publisher can experiment and provide better personalization. 

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