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How to Segment a Target Audience

How to Segment a Target Audience

Audience segmentation is the process of breaking your target audience into groups according to unique characteristics. These characteristics could include things like:

  • Age 
  • Sex
  • Location
  • Employment 
  • Income 
  • Education level
  • Household size 

Understanding the characteristics of various audience segments allows you to tailor your marketing efforts so they can have the highest possible impact. In this article, we’ll look at how to segment an audience using the Semrush One2Target tool.

With One2Target, start by choosing up to 5 domains to define your market audience. It can help to begin by specifying the product or service you’re trying to bring to market.

For a broad audience overview, choose the top domains that exist within the market generally. For example, if you were bringing a new mountain bike to market, you could choose the top five bicycle brands in general. 

If you want to explore a specific niche audience, focus on brands that sell the specific types of product or service you’re looking to sell. 

For example, let’s say you’re trying to sell mountain bikes. In defining your market, make sure you choose domains specifically related to mountain bikes, instead of road bikes or BMX Bikes. 

For this case study, we chose 5 mountain bike brands and entered their domains into the tool.

Comparing domains in One2Target

Getting specific about the product or service you’re trying to sell will ensure the audiences you’re exploring fall squarely into your target market. 

Once you’ve defined your target audience, begin analyzing the audience’s characteristics. To do this, use the Demographics Report, the Socioeconomics Report, and the Behavior Report

The data collected within these reports will help you identify several audience segments within your larger target audience. 

Demographics

Begin by looking at the Demographics Report. Here you’ll discover data related to audience Age and Sex, as well as audience web traffic data, and geo location metrics.  
The Audience section of the report reveals the age and sex breakdown. Here we discover that the largest segment of our audience are men aged 35-44.

Audience section in One2Target

Also look for any data points that stand out from the trend. For example, the audience for Giant Bicycles and Canyon Bicycles are nearly 25% women. Or, you may notice that the segment of the audience aged 45-54 and the segment aged 25-35 are also large. While smaller than the largest segment, these are significantly sized segments you wouldn’t want to ignore. 

Socioeconomics 

Next, look at the Socioeconomics Report. Inside this report, you’ll find data related to audience Households, Employment, and Education. 

The Households section reveals the average Household Size and Income Level for each domain’s audience. It looks like the majority of households are 3-4 people. And most have a low to middle income.

Households widgets in One2Target

Again, we can look for anything that stands out. For example, yt-industries.com tends to have a higher segment of high-income audience members than the other brands. Likewise, giant-bicycles.com tends to have a higher segment of large households. 

Next, Look at the Employment Status and Education Level stats, you can learn more about your audience.

Employment Status and Education Level widgets in One2Target

The top three Employment Status categories are listed at the top of the graph. For the mountain bike audience, the majority of audience members work full-time, are unemployed, or work part-time. Looking at the Education Level, the majority of the audience has completed highschool or college. 

Interestingly, yt-industries has a higher average education level than the other competitors, and they have a larger than average percentage of their audience that fall into the business owners category. Likewise, trekbikes.com has a higher than average portion of Homemakers in their audience. 

Behaviors 

Finally, check out the Behaviors Report, which offers data on audience Interests, Social Media Preferences, and Devices. The first section of the report offers a chart revealing the top audience Interests and Social Media platforms. For this use case, let’s focus on Social Media.

Audience Social Media preferences shown in One2Target

It appears our audience prefers Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram. A higher than average number of giant-bicycles.com’s audience use Pinterest, and a lower number of yt-industries.com’s audience use Twitter. 

Next, look at the audience Devices. This section tells us what kind of devices the audience prefers when surfing the web.

Devices widget in One2Target

The majority of the audience uses Mobile to visit the websites we’re examining, though there are some interesting trends. In terms of outsized usage among competitors, yt-industries.com’s audience has a higher average number of Desktop users. On the other hand, canyon.com’s audience skews heavily toward mobile devices. 

Now that we’ve looked at audience Demographics, Socioeconomics, and Behaviors, we can define a few of our top audience segments.

Looking at each report, we can begin by choosing the most prevalent audience characteristics as our main segment, then we can look at smaller sections with shared characteristics that seem significant. 

For this case study, we’ll define 2 segments: 

Segment 1 

Demographics – Males aged 35-44

Segment 1 - analysis of Demographics data

Socioeconomics – Employed full-time with a low to medium income and 3-4 person household

Segment 1 - Households analysis

Segment 1 - analysis of Employment Status and Education Level data

Behaviors – Prefer using their mobile devices to spend time on YouTube and Facebook

Segment 1 - preferred devices data

Segment 1 - most preferred Social Media

So, here’s one segment of our audience. Men aged 35-44 who have a low to medium income and live in households with 3-4 people. Perhaps families, or young people rooming together. They’re employed full-time and have a college degree. They prefer mobile devices when spending time on YouTube and Facebook.

Segment 2

Demographics – Females aged 25-34

Segment 2 - analysis of audience demographics

Socioeconomics – Homemakers or business owners with a college education and a lower income living in 2 person household

Segment 2 - households data analysis

Segment 2 - Education level and Employment status data analysis

Behaviors–Prefer using their mobile devices to spend time on YouTube and Facebook, but also like Pinterest and Instagram

Segment 2 - audience of two websites prefers different social media

Segment 2 - preferred devices data

So, here’s the second segment. Females aged 25-34 living in 2 person households with lower incomes. Many are homemakers or business owners and they have college degrees. Along with Youtube and Facebook, they can be found on Instagram and Pinterest. They’re less likely to spend time on Reddit or TikTok, and they strongly prefer using their mobile devices.

After you’ve uncovered and defined your segments, you can begin thinking about how you want to target each segment with your marketing efforts. The offers and marketing decisions you make will depend on the segment you’re looking to target. 

For example, the way we’d approach Segment 1 (men aged 35-44 with larger households and full-time jobs who prefer Youtube) will be different from how we approach segment 2 (females aged 25-34 who are homemakers with smaller household sizes and lower incomes). 

The language used, images shown, channels used, and offers made will vary depending on who you’re communicating with.

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