Update Your Segmentation Model With Social Data Before It’s Too Late

LateAttention digital marketers: It’s time.

If you weren’t convinced before, I’m going to attempt to convince you again. If you aren’t infusing “why” people are using social media into your marketing segmentation model, you may be missing key ways to make digital marketing successful.

Traditional customer segmentation models typically look at some combination of behavioral, attitudinal and demographic data. If leveraged properly that information fuels marketing tactics from personalization to email marketing to direct mail. These models are built through survey data and can be the backbone of a sophisticated, integrated marketing program to identify, engage and activate those segments.

Faced with new data about social media behaviors, marketers need to figure out how to integrate social media behaviors into those models. Each day or week that goes by without including that data is contributing to the lack of effectiveness of the model itself.

This past week Pew Research released their 2014 Social Media Update. Among key insights among the 81% of American adults who are using the internet, are several statistics (paraphrased) showing usage continuing to rise:

  • 52% of online adults now use two or more social media sites, a significant increase from 2013, when it stood at 42% of internet users.
  • For the first time, more than half of all online adults 65 and older (56%) use Facebook. This represents 31% of all seniors.
  • Facebook is still the most popular social network, and engagement there has increased. 71% of internet users are on Facebook.
  • Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest all expanded their footprint across several demographic groups.

We’ve passed the point where social media is a revolution, and chances are most companies have some sort of social effort underway. To achieve the same lift that a traditional segmentation model can provide to more established tactics, marketers need to apply the same rigor to segmentation related to social data to get the most out of social media efforts. That rigor translates into insights, and insights will fuel tactics and approaches.

I continue to see companies that aren’t looking at social data this way – often leaving a separate team off to attempt to deliver results without the insights they need, disconnected from the market research teams that look at segmentation models. Maybe I’m just stating the obvious, and maybe companies have already started efforts to figure this out.  Are you seeing the same thing?

photo credit: Evan via flickr

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  • Ian Orekondy

    Hey Adam – great to see your latest thinking. Some of today’s most innovative companies are on the same page as you. One powerful way I see companies using social and overall sentiment data to drive product decisions, messaging elements, and media targeting strategies is by finding correlations between NPS, media (including social), and conversion rates. Essentially the findings are that when the product/service we’re marketing is performing, and the promotional efforts are aligned, the growth engine performs exponentially well. This analysis and the resulting strategies requires a range of skillsets (brand strategists, statisticians, media strategists, etc). A rare combination within any organization. My perspective is that it requires a close-knit team of specialists to unlock this value. It’s about *tight* teams that live and breathe a client’s business. Right?

    • Great to hear from you Ian and amen… the right combo of brand/analytics/media/strategy can really get to the bottom of this. Hope you are well and appreciate you still reading here.

  • Hi Adam – Just now stumbled across this post from last year. Good stuff. Thought it would be interesting to see what some of the stats were for 2015 after reading what you posted on for 2014. It looks like, as of Aug. 2015 (mid-year), Facebook internet users bumped up from 71% to 72%. Odd only a 1% bump, maybe more growth in the second half of the year (couldn’t find a more recent pew internet report). Though a massive bump from 2012 at 67%: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/08/19/mobile-messaging-and-social-media-2015/ — Also, Pinterest & Instagram stats are interesting: “Today 31% of online adults use Pinterest, up from 15% in 2012. Likewise, 28% of online adults use Instagram, a 15-point increase from the 13% of internet users who did so in 2012.” — At any rate, thanks for the post, let me know your thoughts on the new stats!