How and Why to Segment Your Website Audience


How and Why to Segment Your Audience

When you go shopping for new clothes, online or in a brick and mortar store, which section do you hit first, the men’s or the women’s clothing? Good. OK, when you need a new power cord for your computer or smartphone, do you go to the Windows section or the Mac section? Finally, when you are in Europe at a great local restaurant, do you ask for the menu in English or in the local language?

Your specific answers to these questions are not the point. The point is that my answers may be the same or different from your answers. With that understanding, if you owned any one of the store types mentioned above – clothing, computer, food – you might ask me these types of questions when I walk in the door, or you might provide signage that shows me the way without having to be asked.

Do you do the same for your website visitors? I can almost hear the responses through the interwebz: “Wait…what?” Exactly. Whether we realize it or not, we segment our audiences into what we call “tribes” of people who have some characteristic in common. We do this segmenting because different people have different needs when they visit your

We do this segmenting because different people have different needs when they visit your website, and each visitor takes a different journey to get there. The difference to a digital marketer is that we actively segment and track our tribes because they exhibit different behavior, and we can market to them specifically, and more effectively.

Let’s use one of the examples above to illustrate the point further. Say you need a new charging cord for your phone. You know the store near your home carries them, so you go there. You ask where the charging cords are, and the person behind the counter points you to the back. There, you find all the cords in a big bin, all mixed up together, with nothing separating iOS from Android from Windows. Don’t you wish the store you visited had segmented their audiences by device type?

Google_Analytics_segmentingGoogle Analytics offers many different ways to segment your website visitors, mainly by demographics and acquisition. Demographics shows you who the visitor is, and acquisition is where the visitor came from. You can get very granular in segmenting your audiences, considering that you can drill down even deeper within these lists. For example, you can segment by what kind of mobile device and browser the visitors use.

Google Analytics is a very powerful tool and fairly easy to learn, plus it’s completely free; and because it’s Google, it’s also very well supported. Here is one of  hundreds of videos available on the Google Analytics YouTube Channel that explains what segmenting is and how you do it.

Segmenting your audience helps you learn about your audience, but it also helps you customize the user experience for them, so it’s a win-win for digital marketers.

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About Kevin Sandlin

Kevin Sandlin is a serial entrepreneur and 7-time startup veteran, including one IPO and two acquisitions. Kevin founded CWNP with $500, and grew the company into the industry standard for vendor-neutral WiFi certification & training through great digital, email, and content marketing. Kevin is the founder of Atlanta Tech Blogs and Pitch Practice and teaches General Assembly's part-time Digital Marketing course in Atlanta. Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevsandlin.

Disclaimer: General Assembly referred to their Bootcamps and Short Courses as “Immersive” and “Part-time” courses respectfully and you may see that reference in posts prior to 2023.