The state of customer segmentation and targeting in 2020

The Man Men era of advertising is long gone, so why do we still fall back on the same methods of demographic targeting? In 2020, rather than focussing on demographics such as age or location, you should instead be thinking about intent.

The volume of data available to us is only going to grow. So instead of falling back on old methods or waiting for things to get simpler, it’s important to embrace these changes. By focussing on intent, you can tap into the customer journey and develop a stronger understanding of the relationship between your brand and your customers.

Demographics are all about making assumptions about your customers. When launching a new gaming platform, you might think it would be safe to target young people under the age of 30. After all, conventional wisdom tells us that only young people play games. But did you know that 30% of gaming content viewers are over the age of 35?

Another popular myth is that only women look up recipes online. So when launching a new cookbook, you might target women with your adverts. But 40% of cooking content viewers on YouTube are male. [Source]

And these are just stats from YouTube. This is just one platform which allows you to gain insight about consumer intent. If you stop targeting based on demographics and start focussing on intent-based signals, you could tap into an untapped wealth of potential new customers.

What does customer segmentation look like in 2020?

Rather than looking for demographic similarities which can tie groups together, we should instead look for intent-based signals. The following would be examples of customer segments using intent signals:

  • Individuals who spent more than 2 minutes on key sales pages
  • Individuals who have visited your website more than once in a space of time
  • Individuals who have watched videos related to relevant content
  • Individuals who have visited your physical store

This data might be gathered from your own website or from third parties. 

How does intent signal targeting work?

Let’s look at the example of a health and beauty brand launching a new luxury skincare product in the UK.

In conventional demographic targeting, the brand might focus their attention to women in the UK aged between 21 and 45. This would cast a far wider net, but the message might fall flat with women who aren’t interested in luxury skincare. 

Pitching the marketing message would also be more difficult as these people would be at different stages in the customer journey. Some might already be familiar with the brand, while others might have never heard of the brand of the type of product. Creating a marketing message that will address all of these needs will be a lot more difficult.

When using intent-signals, the brand could focus on individuals who have shown an interest in similar brands, who have watched luxury skincare videos on YouTube, and have interacted with beauty booking apps. Creating multiple demographics from intent signals allows marketers to deliver a targeted message that helps to properly address needs at every stage of the customer journey.

Where can I find out more?