How to Use Audience Segmentation in PPC Campaigns

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By Adrian Cruce

Running a successful PPC campaign is all about using data in the right way. Deploying data effectively enables you to dramatically increase the effectiveness of your marketing and target specific audiences. Audience segmentation is an important component of running a data-aware PPC campaign. Here are some of the ways that you can use it to enhance your next effort.

Divide Your Audience According To Actions

Using user activity to segment audiences is an effective tactic that has been in use for some time. By dividing your audience according to the actions that they take as they progress through the buying process, you can tailor parallel sales funnels that are designed to appeal to each one. With these sales funnels operating simultaneously and applied to the appropriate segment of your audience, you can boost your conversions across the board.

There are plenty of actions that you can use to segment your audience. Users visiting certain pages on your website can tell you a lot about their behavior from a marketing perspective. For example, users that buy products after reading your blog are more likely to be long-term users of your site. If not, they will probably be easier to convert into long-term users. Once you have segmented your audience according to their behavior, it is easier to analyze and interpret how the actions they take on your website act as predictors of future behavior.

With this information in hand, you can then start serving up customized content funnels to future visitors to your website according to what actions they take when they get there. This is a powerful technique for ramping up your conversions and enables you to put the data that you have gathered about your audience’s behavior to practical use.

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In-Market Audiences

Google offers a number of excellent tools that form a core part of any SEO professional’s standard kit. Among these, the in-market information tool is one of the most underutilized. In-market audiences will show you users that are currently comparing and researching your brands’ products. Google has included in-market audience data as part of paid ad campaigns for a while now, but it has only recently added the feature to its searches.

Following Google’s move, Bing also launched its own in-market audience tool. By combining both data sources together, you can gain a much more detailed picture of exactly who is investing in your product. This gives you the opportunity to start segmenting your audience before they have even visited your website.

Whether you go with Google or Bing, the in-market audience data that both providers use is drawn from a range of third-party providers. It’s nice not having to worry about gathering and analyzing data yourself. By accessing in-market audience data through either provider, you will be gaining the kind of valuable insight that usually comes with a significant resource cost.

By using in-market audiences as a base, you can subsequently add custom bid modifiers as needed. Once you have identified the audience segments worth targeting using the in-market audience tool, you can then add a positive bid modifier to make your automated bidding more aggressive for this audience.

Similar Audiences

Another useful feature that Google offers is the similar audiences feature. This feature will enable you to find users whose search behavior is similar to those on your remarketing list for search ads even though they haven’t visited your website before. The RLSA tells search engines what kind of audience you are targeting. As a result, the similar audience features enables you to target audiences that are more likely to be receptive to your brand than an average audience.

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In order to get the most out of similar audiences, you need to target your audiences. Instead of just looking for all visitors that match your general target audience profile, it is a good idea to add in extra search parameters to further breakdown your audience into more targeted groups.

Exclude Those That Aren’t A Good Fit

Segmenting your audience isn’t just about making sure that you are targeting the right people but also that you are excluding the people that you have no chance of reaching. Excluding these users from your audience from the beginning will enable you to focus your resources on the audiences that you have a good chance of reaching and resonating with.

For example, when you are gathering and analyzing user data to better understand user behavior, you can safely exclude those users who only visit your site briefly before leaving again. It is much more effective to focus on users who don’t just visit your website but go on to buy something, sign up for your email subscriber list, or take some other action that suggests they will become a long-term user.

Enable Users To Segment Themselves

Rather than investing the time and money needed to segment your audience yourself, you can instead have them do some of the hard work for you. For example, when users register for your email subscriber list or create an account on your website, you can ask them for whatever information you like. This provides you with a golden opportunity to gather user data that will be useful in segmenting your audience.

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As well as asking for contact and demographic data from new signups, you can also ask them exactly why they are accessing your website and what they expect from you as a brand. This data is helpful in devising custom sales funnels that you can direct different groups of users through. If someone is on your site to read your blog rather than order products from you, you will know that this is the most effective way of reaching and converting them.

When you use audience segmentation effectively, it enables you to more finely target your marketing campaigns and your content for different user types. Not only this. but you can customize your sales funnels so that you are maximizing your chances of converting users at every stage of their journey from when they first visit your website until they finally make a purchase.