How to Make the Most of Mobile Customer Segmentation

mobile customer segmentation

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Mobile customer segmentation is a can’t-miss step in the campaign process. Without segmentation, marketing campaigns are just promotional blasts — but with it, campaigns can become personal and meaningful.

First, a quick definition: A segment is a subcategory of app users. It’s a way of splitting your audience into logical groups. Segments can be based on factors like demographic attributes, user behavior, app engagement stats, and more.

Segmentation makes it easier to target users with personalized messages and in-app content. Every user is different — a promotion that drives conversions for new users might not work on long-term users. For better results, app teams plan campaigns around these segments instead of blasting the same marketing message to every user.

Still, it’s not always easy to create useful segments. There are countless metrics, behaviors, and user attributes to base your segments on — and not all of them will subdivide your audience in a meaningful way.

These three tips will help you toe the line between too broad and too narrow. It’s time to start defining user segments that fit just right.

Segmentation Tip #1: Go Beyond Demographics

market segmentation

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Demographic segments are arguably the easiest to create. Attributes like age and gender are relevant no matter what industry you’re in, so it’s intuitive to split up your audience on demographic lines.

However, demographics alone don’t answer the deeper questions. Demographics don’t tell you which of your products users are most interested in; these segments simply compare demographic groups against each other.

Essentially, demographics are blunt tools that explain roughly who buys a product, but not who is most likely to at a given time. Perhaps your product sells especially well to one demographic, but what if a different user’s session time exceeds a certain threshold, like one hour? This person could show a strong purchase intent, regardless of their demographic attributes. It’s worth segmenting them out and targeting them with promotions, even if they don’t fit your typical customer profile.

You can do so much more than just segmenting users based on demographic intel. We recommend combining demographic attributes with other filters, like user behaviors. You could track how the most engaged users in several different age ranges interact with your app, or you could target dormant users in several different countries with a reactivation campaign.

For example, you could segment shoppers in a retail app by…. (include a couple bullet point examples across verticals)

By adding extra filters on top of demographics, you can narrow your segment and craft even more meaningful campaigns.

Segmentation Tip #2: Define a Purpose for Each Segment


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There are many reasons to create a mobile customer segment. You can distinguish your audience based on:

  • What each user wants out of the app
  • How much revenue each user contributes to the app
  • What general attributes each user has
  • What stage each person is at in the customer lifecycle

Segments should be created with a specific purpose in mind, like re-engaging dormant users or monetizing loyal users. It’s possible to build segments for any number of obscure metrics — but if that segment doesn’t describe users in a useful way, it only adds to the confusion.

Segmentation is especially valuable in cultivating user loyalty. If an app marketer understands where a user is in the customer lifecycle, they can deliver promotions that make sense. A coupon code might lead to a sale if a customer has shopped around for a few minutes — but if they’re a brand new user, the popup might be more annoying than helpful. Timing is critical when it comes to encouraging conversions, and the only way to get timing right is to understand how each user has interacted with your app. That’s why segmenting users based on their behavior is so effective.

When in doubt, try to define a purpose for each segment. Perhaps you’re planning to promote an upsell to your most loyal users, like a premium subscription for a music streaming app that enables higher bitrates or better playlist creation tools. In this case, you’d need a segment that defines what it means to be a “loyal user.” This way, you can guarantee that your segments remain actionable.

Segmentation Tip #3: Re-evaluate Your Segments Over Time

mobile marketing segmentation

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Another factor to consider is time. Even if you get your segments right today, people change over time. Your app itself will probably have different features in a year or two; your users’ behaviors are likely to change as well.

Users move back and forth between segments during the customer lifecycle. For example, a loyal users segment might include people who book at least one ski trip every year — but how many trips can each individual person book? If a loyal user only wants one ski vacation per year, they will temporarily move out of the segment of users looking for a ski trip (even though they’re still loyal and they’re likely to return next year).

Furthermore, it’s not only users that change over time; apps change too. You might define loyal users as gamers who’ve triggered a certain in-game event or TV viewers who’ve streamed a certain number of shows. However, the basic flow of your app might change over time. If a game adds new events or if a media app changes the limitations on a free account, the old definition of “loyal user” may not work anymore.

In short, it pays to verify that your segments make sense. Apps change, and users flow between segments based on their behaviors. If segmented campaigns stop yielding results, re-examine the contents of those segments to ensure they still describe your audience effectively.

Segmentation Tip #4: Never Stop Testing

segment testing

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The only universal rule of customer segmentation is that there are no universal rules. The perfect balance between broad and narrow filters is subjective — and it’s different for every app.

If you research mobile customer segmentation, you’ll come across many more ideas for how to effectively subdivide your users. But it’s crucial to verify for yourself that these segments are working as they should.

Let’s say you create a segment for inactive users and include anyone who hasn’t launched your app in seven days. If you schedule a push notification campaign for this audience, you should see different results than if you targeted only your active users. What happens if you send the same campaign to both audiences and see the same engagement rates? This could be a sign that your definition of “inactive users” isn’t precise enough, so both segments end up behaving roughly the same.

Continuously A/B test your segments to ensure your campaigns are as effective as possible.

The Simple Solution to Mobile Customer Segmentation

Segmentation is a requirement for mobile personalization. But it takes more than just time to create meaningful user segments. Without a solid analytics platform, you won’t have enough data to base your segments on — and without integrated messaging, you won’t be able to use those segments in a meaningful way.

With Leanplum, segmentation lives under the same roof as all of your other mobile marketing needs. We help you use those segments to power messages across channels, like push notifications, emails, in-app messages, and more, as well as personalize the in-app experience.

What’s more, Leanplum enables retroactive segment creation. Sometimes it’s hard to predict which attributes and behaviors will make for effective segments. Instead, you can deliver a messaging campaign to your whole audience, and then delve into the data to find out if any segments behaved differently. Defining segments after a campaign’s completion ensures that each segment is based on real data, not guesswork.

Schedule a demo to learn how integrated marketing platforms help you build better segments.

Leanplum is the mobile marketing platform built for engagement. We help brands like Tinder, Grab, Tesco, and Zynga orchestrate multi-channel campaigns — from messaging to the in-app experience — all from a single, integrated platform. Schedule your personalized demo here.