Marketers have always grouped their target audiences into different types of people based on various criteria. For instance, they might group people based on their age, gender, or geographic location. This is so that they can figure out who the best type of person is to market their product too. A young woman living in Paris will probably more buy cosmetics than an 65 year old man living on a farm. The marketer’s job is to figure out the differences between the people she is marketing to and position her product accordingly.

But businesses are still not grouping their audiences effectively with analytics tools.

How Web Analytics Can Help

Most Web analytics tools can segment or filter a website’s visitors based on certain criteria, at a general level – much the same as marketers do it now. You can (by using registration data) determine gender ratios, product/service interests, and actually record behavioural differences between different types of audience.

Returning to our cosmetic example, if our Parisian lady had logged into her favourite cosmetics website and given them all the data she had been asked for (name, address, age, interests, survey information etc), you as the website owner could aggregate the data across all your registered visitors and use your Web analytics tools to segment them into groups. You could then present offers to the right people. Our lady might be interested in a certain type of perfume along with thousands of other registered users to your website. It means you could send a tailored email to them because your Web analytics tools have told you that these particular groups of users buy a lot of this kind of perfume.

This is very valuable information to know but also the hardest type of information to get.
Registrations require that the visitor gives you the information at some point in time and it’s often difficult to obtain. It works though. It’s why companies like Amazon are very successful because they know so much about every customer or registered user that goes to their website – and can present products which match the interests of each visitor

What If You Have No Registration Data?

Not all websites have this kind of registration data, or if they do they don’t know how to integrate their Web analytics tools with the user information. Here’s a list of simple web analytics segmentation examples you could use that will give you much more insights into what works and what doesn’t.

1) Segment by campaign

If you have a banner or search engine marketing campaign segment the visitors arriving from the campaign source. By comparing how each campaign works and how the visitors behave on your website you can easily see where to spend your money. If for instance you find that the €10,000 a month you’re spending on banners has a 1% conversion rate with very low user interaction (low page views per visit & high bounce rates) as compared to the 3% conversion rate from search marketing, it makes sense to spend more on search marketing than banner ads. It’s a quick win because it saves you spending money on poor campaigns and allows you to spend bigger on more successful ones.

2) Segment by referrals or affiliate

You should look to find which your best affiliates and referring websites are. Is there a website which is driving high quality traffic with high conversion rates? If so it may be worth offering incentives to get better exposure on that website. On the other hand if you’re getting a lot of traffic from an affiliate and the traffic is converting at a low level, then it might be worth pulling your resources from that affiliate and concentrating on something else.

3) Segment by location

Most tools these days can actually see where the visitor comes from by looking at the visitors IP address and referencing it to see which city the IP address comes from. It’s not 100% accurate (Web analytics tools very rarely are) but it will help you to see for instance if Paris is a better area to concentrate your efforts on than Nice.

4) Segment by search engine

I already mentioned campaigns, but search engines are very important. Knowing how people use them and more importantly how people convert from them means you know which search engine to spend your money on. Is Google better than Yahoo or does Yahoo convert better? This will allow you to gauge where to spend your search marketing money.

5) Segment by on site behaviour

Many visits to your website may be ‘useless’ visits in that, for instance, they arrive at one page, find that they have arrived at the wrong place and go back to a search engine. It is worth filtering these out in many cases to see if your useful visits are finding what they need. It might also be useful to segment visits by the areas of your website that they visit. Are the visits to your information pages performing better than the general visitors to your website? Do you need to do something with your cart to improve it? (See also the bonus segment below).

6) Segment by technology or device

We’ve found huge differences in onsite behaviour from someone who uses a mobile phone to browse your site versus someone who uses a desktop. Similarly look at operating systems and connection types. For instance if you sell mobile phones and someone turns up with on a MAC operating system could you test selling them an iPhone?

7) Bonus segment – Segment by User type

Out of the box most analytics systems will let you segment by the type of visitor. New visitors, repeat visitors, customers, bouncing visitors, non bouncing visitors, visitors that filled in a survey, visitors that didn’t and basically any other kind of visitor you can determine by their behaviour on your website.

Not sure how to segment?

This is how Google Analytics does it. Firstly login to Google and select the profile you want to learn about. Once you get to the audience overview page of the profile you’re looking for there is a box right next to the “All sessions” box that says “add segment.” Can you guess where I am going with this? Yes, click the add segment and then “create new segment” link. A drop down like the one below appears showing you all the wide variety of things you can segment against.

web analytics segmentation example paris

Let’s say you wanted to select only the visitors that came from Paris. Simply select demographics, then city and write in Paris, name your segment something (I imaginatively called mine parisians) and you’re done. Save it and you can now compare just the Parisians versus the rest of the world.

Additionally you’ll notice Google has ages and gender in there. That works if you have demographics enabled in your tracking. If you did you could set up a segment called 65+ year old men and you’d be able to filter out the people that might be farmers!

Segment, Segment, Segment.

Of all the uses of analytics tools segmentation is one of the most insightful in terms of what you learn. In most business websites you have a large number of visitors coming from a wide variety of different sources all of whom have different agendas and goals. If you look at them all as one bunch of interested visitors it’s like comparing perfume with lipstick. Both are cosmetics, but one makes you smell nice and one makes you look good. How then do you know to sell the perfume – and not the lipstick – to the Parisian lady? If, however, you have at least figured out that the affiliate website from Paris is driving a lot of good quality traffic and these visitors have a tendency to buy perfume, there is a good chance that you have found her.