It’s happened to everyone who has a Facebook account: you’re scrolling through your feed when suddenly, an advertisement for the exact toaster you were looking at last night on Amazon pops up. Unbeknownst to you, this is behavioral segmentation at work.
What is behavioral segmentation?
Because you don’t know this yet, you post about how creepy it is that Facebook can see inside your mind and actions. In the comments, some people agree with you. Others say it’s simply a marketing tactic and that all major companies do it to help show you relevant advertisements. One smart marketing friend jumps out with the exact term — behavioral segmentation. They let you know that all good marketers are using it to help keep their customers’ buying experiences relevant.
The truth is that, thankfully, Facebook can’t see inside your mind. But it can —and does — use data from cookies and IPs to track everyone’s online behavior. And like every other smart company in the world, Facebook uses behavioral segmentation. Put simply, b
What is behavioral segmentation in marketing?
Here’s what behavioral segmentation looks like in everyday marketing. First, understand that the point of this user segmentation model is to help you understand and anticipate your customers’ desires and needs.
To that end, you need to study your customers’:
- attitude toward your product, service, or brand in general
- use of your product or service and response to that service
- overall knowledge of your brand and products
- purchasing tendencies
How do you identify customer segments?
There are several different characteristics to look out for and study when you’re diving into behavioral segmentation (see below). By knowing these behavioristic variables, you can then use analytics software like Google Analytics, Qualtrics, and Sailthru to find out which of your customers fit into which user segment.
You can also use polling software like PickFu to ask potential audience members directly how they would respond to certain aspects of your product.
The 4 types of Behavioral characteristics in marketing
Let’s take a look at some examples of the main four types of behavioral market segmentation.
Also known as occasion segmentation, this type of buyer segmentation can be easier to study than others. Occasion-oriented shoppers tend to buy most heavily during holidays and other special occasions.
Let’s pretend we’re the company Pusheen. We sell products based on the popular cat character Pusheen and her friends. We notice that keychain sales tend to go up around Christmastime, so we study our customers to find out who purchases more keychains as Christmas gifts. Then, we put those buyers into a segment together and send them marketing emails in the days leading up to Christmas and other holidays that they’re likely to buy gifts for: Mother’s Day, for example, and even lesser-known but equally celebration-worthy holidays like National Best Friends Day. Add a sale or promo to that marketing email and your chance at securing a conversion goes up.
Your seasonal buyers can be a fantastic source of revenue if you know how to market to them.
Within your audience, there exist all types of buyers: the bargain-hunting shoppers who only buy things that are on sale or clearance. The spontaneous shoppers who purchase everything they see. The careful buyers who research products across several different sites, read
Think about the shopper who leaves items in the cart for a long time but does eventually come back to purchase. The buyer who won’t purchase unless free shipping is offered (and who might just spend that minimum $30 to get free shipping). The buyer who needs an easy returns policy in order to commit.
Many times, these behavior types blend and blur. Disentangle them as much as you can and split them into segments!
When you go to the hair care section of your local Target, what do you look for in a shampoo? There are dozens to choose from. But if you have curly hair, you’ll probably grab a shampoo that speaks specifically to you, the curly-haired person. Example: L’Oréal Paris’s “anti-frizz, non-drying” Ever Curl Shampoo and Conditioner.
If you have super oily hair, on the other hand, you might buy Head And Shoulders Instant Oil Control Dandruff Shampoo.
In short, benefits-based buying is when you purchase a specific shampoo based on its benefits to you. You choose the product based off the benefits that they provide you.
It’s important to take note of which of your customers buy products based on specific benefits. While this is true for any type of product, it’s especially important if you sell products and services that specifically benefit different characteristics. For example:
- personal care products (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste)
- beauty products (foundation, mascara, lipstick)
- services that accommodate a range of abilities (writing-coach services, tutoring, courses of any kind)
- massage therapy and spa packages
Sometimes you’ll see a post on Instagram that says something like, “I LOVE this coffee from @bestcoffeeshopever, seriously the best I’ve tasted in my life and there isn’t even sugar in it. If you know me you know that is huge!!”
The tag doesn’t mention an advertisement, because it isn’t one. It’s someone who really, truly loves a product so much that they had to post about it on social media — and tag the company.
This is every business owner’s dream. While this hypothetical person will probably get coffee at other coffee shops sometimes, she’ll stick to @bestcoffeeshopever as much as she can because it’s her favorite. She’s a loyal customer.
It is well worth your time to find out who your loyal customers are and group them together. Known as loyalty segmentation, it’s one of the most valuable groups in your audience.
Think about how major companies reward their most loyal customers. Starbucks has a rewards program that enables frequent customers to collect stars, which earn them free drinks and meal items. Which, of course, keeps them coming back to Starbucks.
Alaska Airlines (and most airlines, for that matter) has a program where if you use its credit card, you earn frequent flyer miles — plus you get one “buy one, get one free” flight every year. Because of these two things, pretty much everyone who lives in Alaska is a loyal Alaska Airlines customer. They might even convince out-of-state family members to sign up for the Alaska card.
Happy loyal customers make perfect advocates for all types of brands. Make sure you know who your loyal customers are and create campaigns that reward them for that loyalty. Their satisfaction will keep your business strong.
In user status segmentation, you look at your sales and often the actions within those sales to figure out how often someone uses your product.
Take Airbnb. The lodging-brokerage site is increasingly popular, and you can bet that the company pays attention to how often its customers make Airbnb bookings. Those customers then receive notifications about upcoming Airbnb offers.
Airbnb goes a step further, offering customers the opportunity to rent out their own home while they themselves are on vacation. Airbnb’s business model has an unusual focus: co-founder Brian Chesky said in a 2016 interview with Fast Company that, “This company is first and foremost about the hosts, not the guests.”
The hosts pay a service fee for each booking they take on their properties. Guests also pay Airbnb a service fee, but it’s the hosts that find the guests. So it makes sense that Airbnb encourages its guest customers to turn into host customers. And the more a guest user books with Airbnb, the more often they are gone from their own home.
Airbnb can keep pitching the potential of making money from hosting while guest users are on vacation, likely seeing new hosts join its platform as a result.
Netflix Behavioral Segmentation
In another example, Netflix saves money and keeps its customers by knowing their usage patterns. According to marketing expert Neil Patel, Netflix likely wants its users to watch a certain amount of hours of Netflix every month.
Using analytics, the company has probably figured out that a certain number of hours watched per month brings with it a higher percentage of user retention, that is, users who don’t cancel their subscription.
This drives Netflix to customize each viewer’s experience to be as relevant and interesting to that user as possible.
Because user behavior and Netflix itself are both always changing, Netflix is constantly tracking usage — time spent on Netflix, amount of pauses, fast-forwards, or re-winds, what time of day customers watch — to personalize their customers’ experience.
This type of user category marketing can benefit you, too.
Journey stage segmentation
In journey stage segmentation, your goal is to find out where customers are in their journey. Group them together and create advertisements targeted to each group.
The customer journey stages are as follows:
- Awareness — customer finds out the product exists
- Education — customer learns about the product
- Consideration — customer thinks about what the product can do for them
- Purchase — customer becomes a first-time buyer or user
- Adoption — customer retains product and/or buys again (or rejects it)
- Advocacy — customer spreads the word about the product
For audience members in the awareness stage, figure out how to get them interested in learning more about you and your services. With audience members in the consideration stage, try to nudge them into becoming first-time buyers. If a shopper leaves an item in their online carts, that customer is in the consideration phase. A smart company will then remind the customer to come back and buy.
Why is behavioral segmentation important?
Behavioral segmentation goes a step deeper than demographic segmentation. While demographic segmentation is an important starting point, it’s important to understand your audience on a deeper level. This knowledge helps you customize your messaging to specific groups of people who are displaying similar behaviors.
Behavioral segmentation is not always cut and dry. Sometimes your customers behave in manners that seem irrational, but even studying strange or back-and-forth behaviors can help you better understand your customers.
In the long run — and often the short run, too — behavioral segmentation saves you money, earns you new customers, and helps you keep current ones.
What behavioral segments can I target on PickFu?
On PickFu, you can target the following behavioral segments:
- App Store Spending Habits - Target Non-paying app store users, Users who spend $100 on the app stores
- Audiobook Listener - Target Audiobook listeners and People who don't listen to audiobooks
- Beauty Product Preferences - Target People who prefer natural beauty products, People who prefer affordable beauty products, People who prefer luxury beauty products, and People who prefer new beauty products
- Beer Consumption Frequency - Target People who don't drink beers, Consumers of 1-5 beers a weeks, Consumers of 6-10 beers a weeks, and Consumers of 10+ beers a weeks
- Traditional Tv Subscription - Target Cable subscribers
- Coffee Drinking Frequency - Target Drinkers of <1 cup of coffee a days, Doesn't drink coffees, Drinkers of 1-3 cups of coffee a days, and Drinkers of 3+ cups of coffee a days
- Console Gamer - Target Console gamers
- Cosmetics And Body Care Consumption Habits - Target Infrequent body care product users and Frequent body care product users
- Crowdfunding Participant - Target People who haven't donated to crowdfunding campaigns and Crowdfunding participants
- Dietary Habits - Target Dairy-free diet adherents, Gluten-free diet adherents, Keto diet adherents, Low-carb diet adherents, Omnivores (non-vegetarians)s, and Vegetarians/vegans
- Educator Or Coach - Target Educators and coaches
- Exercise Frequency - Target People who exercise less than once a weeks, People who exercise 1-3 times a weeks, and People who exercise 4+ times a weeks
- Favorite Book Genres - Target Apocalyptic/dystopian readers, Arc, archetecture, and photography readers, Biography readers, Business readers, Children's book readers, Christian book readers, Cookbook, food, and wine readers, Diet, health, and fitness readers, Fiction readers, Graphic novel and comic readers, History readers, Humor/entertainment readers, Mystery and crime readers, Politics and social sciences readers, Religion and spirituality readers, Romance readers, Science fiction readers, Self-help and relationships readers, Sports readers, Teen and young adult book readers, and Travel readers
- Favorite Mobile Gaming Genres - Target Action game fans, Adventure game fans, Arcade game fans, Board game fans, Card game fans, Casino game fans, Educational game fans, Family game fans, Music game fans, Puzzle game fans, Racing game fans, Role playing game fans, Simulation game fans, Sports game fans, Strategy game fans, Trivia game fans, and Word game fans
- Favorite Mobile Gaming Mode - Target Single player (no competition)s, Multiplayer (against my smartphone)s, Multiplayer (against my friends/family)s, and Multiplayer (against strangers)s
- Favorite Movie Genres - Target Action movie fans, Adventure movie fans, Animation movie fans, Comedy movie fans, Crime movie fans, Drama movie fans, Documentary fans, Family movie fans, Fantasy movie fans, History movie fans, Horror movie fans, Mystery movie fans, Romance movie fans, Sci-fi movie fans, Superhero movie fans, and Thriller movie fans
- Favorite Social Media Platforms - Target Facebooks, Instagrams, LinkedIns, Pinterests, Reddits, Snapchats, TikToks, Tumblrs, Twitters, WhatsApps, and YouTubes
- Favorite Sports - Target Athletics fans, Badminton fans, Baseball fans, Basketball fans, Boxing fans, Cricket fans, American football fans, Golf fans, Ice hockey fans, Martial arts fans, MMA fans, Motor sport fans, Soccer (European football) fans, Swimming fans, Table tennis fans, Tenis fans, Volleyball fans, Winter sports fans, X-games fans, Other sports fans, and People who don't watch any sports
- Favorite Stores For Beauty Products - Target Amazon beauty product shoppers, Beauty store beauty product shoppers, Department store beauty product shoppers, and Drugstore/low cost retail store beauty product shoppers
- Favorite Stores For Kitchenware - Target Amazon kitchenware shoppers, Bed Bath and Beyond kitchenware shoppers, Crate and Barrel kitchenware shoppers, HomeGoods kitchenware shoppers, Ikea kitchenware shoppers, Macy's kitchenware shoppers, Overstock kitchenware shoppers, Target kitchenware shoppers, Walmart kitchenware shoppers, Wayfair kitchenware shoppers, Williams Sonoma kitchenware shoppers, and Buy kitchenware somewhere elses
- Gaming Consoles Played - Target Android players, Cloud streaming gamers, Epic players, iOS players, Nintendo DS players, Nintendo Switch players, Oculus VR players, PC gamers, PlayStation 4 Pro players, PlayStation 5 players, Steams, Xbox One X players, Xbox Series X/S players, and Non-console gamers
- Hobbies And Interests - Target Arts and crafts, Athletics, Boatings, Campings, Cookings, Gardenings, Health and fitnesses, Hikings, Hunting/fishings, Interior decoration/renovatings, Playing musics, Playing video games, Readings, Technologies, Travels, Watching sports on TVs, and Others
- Hours Spent Mobile Gaming - Target Gamers who play <1 hour a weeks, Gamers who play 1-3 hours a weeks, Gamers who play 4-6 hours a weeks, and Gamers who play 7+ hours a weeks
- Interest In Cooking - Target People who don’t cooks, People who cook only out of necessities, and Avid home cooks
- Investment Frequency - Target Daily investment reviewers, Weekly investors, Monthly investors, Quarterly investors, and Yearly investment reviewers
- Kids' Toys And Games Buying Frequency - Target People who never buy kids toys, Occasional kids toy buyers, and Frequent kids toy buyers
- Liquor Consumer - Target Non-liquor drinkers and Liquor drinkers
- Literary Preference - Target Fiction readers and Nonfiction readers
- Midcore Mobile Gamer - Target Midcore mobile gamers
- Mobile Device - Target Android users, iPhone users, and Other mobile device users
- Mobile Gaming Frequency - Target Daily mobile gamers, Weekly mobile gamers, Monthly mobile gamers, Rare mobile gamers, and Non-mobile gamers
- Musical Instruments Played - Target Bassists, Cellists, Clarinetists, Drummers, Flutists, Guitarists, Pianists, Recorder players, Saxophonists, Trumpeters, Violinists, Other musical instrument players, and People who don't play musical instruments
- Nutritional Supplement Consumption - Target People who do not use nutritional supplements, Occasional nutritional supplement users, and Daily nutritional supplement users
- Online Shopping Marketplaces - Target Amazon shoppers, eBay shoppers, Etsy shoppers, Overstock shoppers, Rakuten shoppers, Walmart.com shoppers, and Wayfair shoppers
- Pc Gamer - Target PC gamers
- Paid Video Streamer - Target Paid video streamers
- Interested In Camping/Fishing/Hunting - Target People interested in camping/fishing/huntings
- Podcast Listener - Target Podcast listeners and People who don't listen to podcasts
- Preferred Types Of Nutritional Supplements - Target People who take calcia, People who take CoQ10s, People who take fibers, People who take folic acids, People who take magnesia, People who take multivitamins, People who take Omega-3/Fish Oils, People who take turmerics, People who take Vitamin Cs, People who take Vitamin Ds, and People who don't take nutritional supplements
- Primary Source Of Investment Advice - Target Investors with human advisers, Investors who use robo-advisers, and Self-directed investors
- Product Financing Habits - Target People who have not used financings, People who are open to financings, and People who use financings
- Reading Frequency - Target People who don't reads, Readers of 1-3 books a months, and Readers of 4+ books a months
- Recently Purchased In Categories / Departments - Target Appliances, Apps and games, Arts, crafts, and sewings, Audiobooks, Automotives, Babies, Beauty and personal care, Books, Camera and photos, Cell phones and accessories, Computers and accessories, Digital musics, Electronics, Gift cards, Groceries and gourmet foods, Handmade products, Health and households, Home and kitchens, Kitchen and dinings, Movies and TVs, Office products, Patio, lawn, and gardens, Pet supplies, Software, Sports and outdoors, Tools and home improvements, Toys and games, Video games, and Clothing, shoes, and jewelries
- Side Hustles - Target People with side hustles and People without side hustles
- Small Business Owner - Target Small business owners and People who don't own small businesses
- Smart Assistant User - Target Alexa users, Google Assistant users, Siri users, and People who do not use smart assistants
- Smoking Habits - Target Smokers and Non-smokers
- Sports Players - Target People who play badmintons, People who play baseballs, People who play basketballs, People who boxes, People who play crickets, People who play American footballs, People who play golves, People who play field hockeys, People who play ice hockeys, People who play soccer (European football)s, People who swims, People who play table tennare, People who play tennare, People who play volleyballs, People who play other sports, and People who don't play any sport s
- Streaming Device - Target Amazon Fire TV streamers, Android streamers, Apple TV streamers, Cable box streamers, Chromecast streamers, iOS streamers, PC/laptop streamers, Playstation streamers, Roku streamers, Smart TV streamers, and Xbox streamers
- Tv And Streaming Services - Target Amazon Prime Video subscribers, Apple TV subscribers, Cable TV subscribers, DirecTV subscribers, Disney+ subscribers, ESPN+ subscribers, HBO subscribers, Hulu subscribers, Netflix subscribers, Plex subscribers, Roku Channel subscribers, TubiTV subscribers, YouTube TV subscribers, Users of other free streaming services, and Subscribers to other paid streaming services
- Tea Drinking Frequency - Target People who don't drink teas, Monthly tea drinkers, Weekly tea drinkers, Semi-weekly tea drinkers, and Daily tea drinkers
- Toy Types Preference - Target Action figures toys buyers, Animals toys buyers, Cars and radio controlled toys buyers, Construction toys buyers, Creative toys buyers, Dolls buyers, Educational toys buyers, Electronic toys buyers, Food-related toys buyers, Games buyers, Model building toys buyers, Physical activity and dexterity toys buyers, Puzzle/assembly toys buyers, Science and optical toys buyers, Sound toys buyers, and Wooden toys buyers
- Travel Frequency - Target Infrequent travelers, Occasional travelers, and Frequent travelers
- Types Of Investment Accounts - Target Traditional brokerage account holders, Traditional IRA account holders, Roth IRA account holders, SIMPLE IRA account holders, 401(k) account holders, Roth 401(k) account holders, 529 account holders, and People without investment accounts
- Video Game Player - Target Video gamers
- Wine Consumption - Target Never drinks wines, 1-5 glasses a weeks, 6-10 glasses a weeks, and 10+ glasses a weeks
Frequently Asked Questions:
Behavioral segmentation splits an audience into segments based on similarities in purchasing behavior.
The four traditional types are occasion-oriented, benefits sought, user-oriented, and loyalty-oriented, though there are several more types.
Major companies like Netflix, Airbnb, Amazon, Starbucks, and more use behavioral segmentation. So do smaller companies! Every businessperson can benefit from studying their customers’ behavior variables.
Behavioral segmentation studies a customer’s external behavior. Psychographic segmentation seeks to study a customer’s inner world: their beliefs, values, and priorities, for example.
Whenever a business studies how often a user purchases a product, or if they buy products or services only during certain events or holidays, they then group those users into a segment and tailor campaigns to encourage or reward the spending they do. The Starbucks reward program and the Alaska Airlines frequent flier program are examples of behavioral segmentation to encourage and reward brand loyalty.
What are the other types of market segmentation?