Website Segmentation for Great Audience Engagement

When a visitor browses your site, you can place that user into an audience. An audience is a collection of similar users that you want to group together. Once you have an audience, then you can serve remarketing ads to that audience.

This combination allows you to show ads to a user who abandoned your shopping cart, spent time on your site but didn’t convert, or someone who did convert and who you now want to show an upsell offer. There are many creative ways to target uses using audiences. 

The first step to creating good audiences is to segment your website. There are three steps:

  • Decide what user behaviors you want to target
  • Base your website segmentation upon those behaviors
  • Check your analytics to ensure you meet the minimum criteria for targeting users

Let’s look at how to accomplish these three steps in website segmentation. 

Decide What Users Behaviors You Want to Target

The first question to ask yourself is, “why should I serve ads to users who were on my website?”

Your answers can be varied, and you might have multiple answers, such as:

  • We have a long sales cycle and it takes multiple visits for a user to convert, so if someone is on our site for a while, we want to keep reminding them of our offer.
  • If a user added a product to the shopping cart and didn’t check out, then we want to remind them of the product so they finish buying at a later time.
  • If a user filled out a form to download a whitepaper, then we want to show ads reminding them of our offer since they showed initial interest.
  • When someone does action 1, they often want to do action 2, so we want to show them an upsell ad. 

For instance, if someone books a hotel room, you might want to show them ads for rental cars or popular day trips in the region.

Once you know the behaviors you want to target, your next step is to decide how granular you want to get in targeting these behaviors.

This is when we need to start looking at website segmentation to target those behaviors and to establish the granularity of that segmentation. 

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Base Your Website Segmentation Upon Those Behaviors

Let’s say you run a remodeling company. Users are often looking at websites, design inspiration, and talking to their spouses before making a decision. It can take a while to go from idea to talking to a contractor to get a quote for the work a user wants to be done on their home.

xtreme

If this is your website, and you want to serve ads to users who browsed it to remind them of your services, how detailed do you want to get? 

For instance, you could make a rule that says anyone who browsed three pages of the site or spent more than 1 minute gets placed into an audience. In that case, the ad will be for your company and show everything you have to offer, but the ads won’t be specific to a service.

You could make a list for every service so that if someone looked at bathroom remodeling, they see a bathroom remodeling ad, but if they looked at kitchen remodeling, then the user will see a kitchen remodeling ad, and so forth.

Most sites are broken down into:

  • Home page
  • Category page
  • Product page
  • Form

The form could be an ecommerce checkout or a lead form on the website. 

You should also know that you can have a negative audience. Users in those groups will not see your ads.  For instance, if someone went to your site and visited your kitchen remodeling page, you might put them into a kitchen remodeling audience. However, if they filled out your contact form, then you no longer want to target that user. In this case, your converted users would be a negative audience, so you don’t keep serving ads to those users. 

This is where you might use a spreadsheet to stay organized. 

spreadsheet

If you start making hundreds of lists, you’ve gone too far. There are enterprise companies that need hundreds of audience behaviors, but they are the exception. If you can make hundreds of lists, then you probably have structured data, such as an ecommerce company with a merchant feed account or a job search company with location and job categories. If you have structured data, then you’ll want to look at dynamic remarketing, which can take your structured data and automatically create lists for you that show users the products they viewed on a site. 

Once you have your potential lists, you next need to see if you will have enough users in that list to make it active.

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Check Your Analytics to Ensure You Meet the Minimum Criteria for Targeting Users

A display remarketing list must have 100 active users before Google will show ads to users in that list. That means you need to check your analytics to ensure the segments you want to create will meet the criteria. 

Go to the admin section of your Google Analytics account and choose Audience Builder to create a new audience. List the conditions for creating a new audience. For example, if we want to show ads to our blog readers, we can choose /blog/ as the condition. 

audioence-builder

Once we apply that data, we’ll see an estimate of how many people fit that criterion in the past 7 days. In addition, we can change the ‘membership duration.’

audience-source

Here’s where you need to do some quick math. It takes at least 100 active users to have an audience live on the display network. It takes 1,000 users to have a list live if you also use this list for remarketing lists for search ads. 

If you only have 25 active users in the page 7 days, then you will need at least a 4-week member duration (25 users per week times 4 weeks equals 100 total active users) to hit that number, and you could easily drop below the minimum 100 users if your traffic drops a little bit, so you’d probably want to use a 6-week duration in this case.

The other option is to change your website segmentation and make the classifications for your audience a bit more general so you hit these numbers.

Once you are happy with the list, then you can save it and move to your next audience list.

Wrap-Up

Audience targeting is very powerful, as you can reach out to users based upon what they did on your website. This behavioral targeting lets you ensure you are serving relevant ads to users who you think want to see your ads based upon how they interacted with your site.

What you need to think about is:

  • Why should you serve ads back to previous users? 
  • What was the user looking for and couldn’t accomplish on their previous visit? 
  • How do I ensure these ads are relevant to the users so we can bring them back and make them customers? 

By examining your website and how users flow through your website, you can then determine the website segmentation you want so that the ads you do serve back to the user are relevant to their goals so they become your next customer. 

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About the Author

Brad GeddesBrad Geddes

Brad Geddes is the author of "Advanced Google AdWords", and co-founder of Adalysis, an automatic ad testing, and PPC recommendation platform.

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