Use audience data to segment your users and build customer personas

Letizia Zappa
By Letizia Zappa

Collecting your users’ data is an important first step towards shaping your business according to the needs of your audience – what we call audience development. But there’s more to it. By using these data you will be able to segment your users and create customer personas to better target them before developing your audience.

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Audience Segmentation

By collecting your users’ data, you get lots of insights per se, but that’s not all. When different kinds of data are combined, the data can prove to be even more useful. By mixing online patterns, sociodemographics, opinions and feedback, you can start segmenting your users.

According to traditional marketing, market segmentation is “the process of defining and subdividing a large homogenous market into clearly identifiable segments having similar needs, wants, or demand characteristics”. From a web perspective, this means breaking down the visitors of your website according to different variables.

Let’s make an example and imagine that you own an e-commerce platform.
By collecting data about your users on your website, you may discover that those who buy the most your products are women in their 20’s, living in big cities, who love fashion and who are usually online in the evening. They claim to be really satisfied with the purchase experience. Or you may discover that a significant number of women in their 40’s visit your website but that only a few proceed to buy your products when they get to the purchase page. Most of them also rate the trustability of your website as “low” and this may be the reason why they do not feel secure purchasing online.

By correlating the different kinds of data, you can build very interesting segments, useful to better target users and improve your website and brand.

Customer Personas

Once you have a clear overview of your different segments, you should decide which ones you want to target. This means selecting those users that are most relevant to your website and can bring you value. Thanks to the segmentation, you can build customer personas to achieve this.

Let’s consider the aforementioned example: we discovered that users who buy the most on your fictional e-commerce website are women in their 20’s, who love fashion and who are online in the evening. You will want to take this profitable group into consideration and exploit it, both by better meeting their needs and by targeting the ones with a similar profile.

A customer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your targeted users based on real data that you have collected about your existing users. They help you better imagine the audience you’re talking to.
Customer personas are models that you craft to represent your target audience. The more detailed a customer persona is, the better. They are meant to be credible and quasi-real to provide you with a clear and concrete idea of who your audience is.

A customer persona for our example could be this:

Julia, 24 years old, with a fashionista lifestyle, who is studying for her master. She does a lot of online shopping in the evening before going to sleep.

This way, instead of only having anonymous data, you can mix them together. As a result, you’ll be able to craft a specific customer persona with a real name and characteristics. This will help you to:

  1. Focus your marketing efforts
  2. Address offerings
  3. Align your objectives

There are different tools available to segment users and to build customer personas, read more about them in our guide about audience development where we cover the topic from A to Z.

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