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 publishers need to work on audience segmentation? In this piece, we try to explore and find the best answers to those questions.
Table of Contents
- What is Audience Segmentation?
- Why should you care about audience segmentation?
- How to do it?
- What’s Next?
Audience segmentation is the process of dividing your audience into groups based on their interests, behavior, geographical data, preferences, and interaction with your sites. Of course, in reality, there are millions of readers and you can’t even predict who is your audience and who are just passing by or bouncing off.
That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about here.
Why should you care about audience segmentation?
Online advertising was originated as a context-focused model where impressions and reach were the KPIs for advertisers and brand marketers. But now, those metrics have been pushed down and replaced by target audience and acquisitions or product sales. In short, brands and marketers have begun to correlate the advertising spends with their own bottom lines.
In addition, publishers can experience increased revenue when they’re able to build and maintain a target audience. This, in turn, quadruples the importance of structuring and segmenting the audience in order 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 of the 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 preference of your audience will help you present them with the content, 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 both advertisers and publishers would want to dive in and utilize as much segmented audience possible. But, it’s easier said than done.
- 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).
- 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. (Here’s a couple of Audience Segmentation Tools you can use).
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.
If you provide diversified content and have great tractions on all the verticals, then you may end up framing more segments. We can go on and on. As we 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).
You can start with core data such as age, gender, etc. along with location, device, and channels to get insights on your audience and sources. In fact, with the right data, you could develop reader personas for targeting.
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! You can unleash your readers’ affinities, interesting market segments, etc. in GA. Now, it’s time for you to make a decision. If your readers are more engaged in technology, you know what to do next.
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.
Gone are the days where 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’ve CPM model and 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, it’s essential to segment the readers who consume content from those who are just for a quick peek.
This one is a no-brainer. Obviously, every publisher would do a report on the sources and referrers. But, only a few works on personalization. Once you know, you’re attracting 40 to 50 percent of your readers from a single source, why don’t you deliver them a personalized experience.
Simple customization can lead to a better UX and ultimately, higher page views.
We’ve outlined the top 5 ways to segment your audience. And, most of them can be done with the help of GA. But, as a publisher, it’s up to you to settle on the right tools and right set of audiences to increase your ad revenue.
Each and every visitor is different, but most of them have the same intention while reading your content. So, it’s not impossible for a mid-market publisher to experiment and provide a better personalization.
Also, make sure you employ advanced programmatic techniques (like Header Bidding, Ad Refresh, etc.) to get the best out of ad inventories.