Nine in 10 marketers say behavioral segmentation is the most effective form of customer segmentation for their businesses today. What’s more, organizations that take advantage of behavioral data from their customers outperform their competitors in sales by 85%, on average.
How often users visit your website, the frequency with which they engage with you across channels, the intensity of their activity: These are all customer behaviors that, when analyzed through behavioral segmentation, can lead to better nurturing, more conversions, and greater customer loyalty.
In short, to leverage behavioral segmentation — and, in turn, adopt a behavioral marketing mindset — for your company is to acknowledge you need more than just basic demographic and contextual data to unequivocally understand your customers’ intent and how to market to each one individually.
Let’s dive deep into why behavioral segmentation is such a trusted technique among digital marketing professionals such as yourself — and how you can make the most of it for your strategy.
What is behavioral segmentation, exactly?
The bare-bones behavioral segmentation definition is “customer segmentation amplified.”
Basic customer segments are built upon your audience’s attributes and general engagement metrics (site visits, form fillouts, etc.) and, ideally, are automated and updated dynamically (something you can accomplish easily with a customer data platform like BlueConic).
Behavioral segments, meanwhile, are based on more intricate customer behaviors: browsing habits, engagement recency and frequency, purchasing patterns, and other online and offline activity.
As we’ve outlined, customer segmentation helps marketers understand their audiences: their broad actions (pages visited, app sessions, form submissions, etc.).
Behavioral segmentation, though, takes this concept of understanding one’s leads and customers to a whole other level — one that allows marketing pros such as yourself to get granular insights about what really drives consumers’ research process and buying decisions.
Customer behaviors are strong signals of customer lifecycle stage, giving you an opportunity to influence the velocity with which they move from one stage to the next.
For instance, by segmenting your customers based on behavioral patterns, you can discern “heavy” shoppers from “light” shoppers: individual customers who are more likely to purchase high-priced items from you and those who aren’t (or haven’t shown they are willing to yet, at least).
Behavioral marketing benefits
Of all marketing methods you could execute for your organization today, behavioral marketing should be at the top of your list — right behind unifying all of your customer data into a single source of truth (see: CDP) and eliminating redundant martech (a topic for another day).
Segmenting individual consumers in your funnel (past buyers, top prospects, target customers), then messaging to only the most engaged ones is how you eliminate inefficiencies in your strategy — like wasted time, spend, and resources — and maximize your team’s potential.
Activities like behavioral targeting for Facebook ad campaigns and perfectly timed and relevant modals, overlays, or toaster messages based on user status (e.g., purchasing decisions from existing customers, first-time visitors’ paths through your site) enhance your ability to better market to and connect with high-value customers.
Chance to convert top customers and build loyalty with them
Why does knowing who has (or is likely to have) a substantial customer lifetime value (CLV) matter?
Well, think about all of the marketing strategies and tactics implemented during your tenure with your company. How often have you said to yourself, “If only we had better targeted that messaging or campaign by focusing on the right people and suppressing messaging to the wrong ones, we could’ve gotten X more conversions.”
With behavioral segmentation — and, in turn, a concerted behavioral marketing program — you greatly reduce the odds of targeting just low-value customers or unlikely-to-buy prospects.
Instead, with targeted messaging based on a range of unique and telling consumer behaviors, you enhance the chances of acquiring new customers who spend more (or buy more frequently) as well as getting former customers to purchase again.
Your end game with behavioral segmentation is to realize its biggest benefit: getting customers with sizable CLV so you can focus more on continually nurturing them instead of one-time shoppers — something that’ll make your life easier and your performance metrics much higher.
Behavioral segmentation examples for marketers
We’ve discussed core customer behaviors to pay attention to before, so we won’t do so again here.
However, it’s certainly worth exploring a couple fairly specific behavioral segmentation examples to give you some additional context as to what’s achievable with this approach.
Example #1: Delivering discounts to high-momentum site users
Let’s say a known prospect who’s never bought from you visits your website three times per week since they entered your database. Now let’s say that user visits your site 12 times this week alone.
Their momentum score in BlueConic — their last seven days of activity compared to their weekly average — would be substantially higher. This would indicate they might buy from you soon.
You can capitalize on this momentum with a custom-tailored, individualized message to them. For instance, you could promote a 5% off deal to close the deal.
You’re probably confident that when an existing customer comes back to your site they’ll buy again. But if you’re unsure a prospect who never has will, timely discounts like this can help close the deal.
Example #2: Retargeting ads to frequent, yet-to-convert visitors
A high bounce rate is a major headache for marketers — especially when those bounces come from high-frequency visitors who window shop, so to speak, but never purchase from you.
With behavioral segmentation, you can retarget ads to these “regulars” when they leave your site via email or display and pay-per-click ads to regain their attention — and get them to open up their wallets.
Let’s say you’re an outdoors and sporting goods retailer. You know a potential customer has viewed camping gear product pages a few dozen times in the last 30 days. They’re close to buying, but not quite there.
Based on this user’s behavior, you can retarget her with personalized ads with a customized offer to promote tents, lanterns, and other gear they investigated as they browse elsewhere online — and in the minutes, hours, and days following their site exit to maximize your odds of converting them.
The key to doing this effectively is having a single customer view that can tie behavioral data with interest and other types of customer data (such as propensity scoring and customer lifecycle stage) to deliver 1:1 ads and emails that go beyond just using data points like “past products viewed.”
Customer behavior analysis: Best accomplished with a CDP
Identify loyal customers with high CLV, get those customers to buy more in the long run, and turn them into brand evangelists: That’s how you win with behavioral segmentation.
Right in the middle of this marketing process, though, is thorough, constant customer behavior analysis — ideally a task you’ll handle with a customer data platform.
For instance, with BlueConic, you can build customer behavior models with AI Workbench. You can utilize this machine learning functionality to discover new audience behavior patterns and build models to predict purchase and churn.
With the flexibility afforded by AI Workbench, you can also use up-to-date behavioral data in conjunction with other data points you have about that customers (demographic data, etc.) and data from external systems (like weather).
This gives you the ability to target a high-momentum customer and, on a particularly sunny day, target them with a sunglasses deal.
Behavioral segmentation simple with a customer data platform
By incorporating online customer behavior, offline data, and purchasing decisions into unified and persistent profiles (one part of achieving that highly coveted single customer view), you can more accurately automate and personalize messaging to those individuals over time.
There’s certainly other software out there that can help you comb through your customer behavior analytics to better comprehend how they interact with you online and offline.
If that software can’t segment and activate your customer data in real time, though, it’s time to turn your attention to a CDP.