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Improving targeting and segmentation approaches to boost conversion

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 10 Aug, 2016
Essential Essential topic

A review of the popularity and effectiveness of different CRO approaches

Segmentation and targeting are so important to delivering relevant marketing messages which boost conversion, yet the research suggests that many digital marketers are leaving money on the table because they are not serious enough about segmentation and targeting. In this article, I'll describe research we commissioned to understand the effectiveness of different approaches for segmentation and targeting as part of CRO. I noticed that another recent study has shown a similar situation in the US where 76% of marketing execs say they don't target with Behavioural targeting data according to a Razorfish study.

After 25 years in data-driven marketing, I’m biased, but the facts speak for themselves. The graph below is from the RedEye Whitepaper 'The 7 best ways to improve website conversion and sales for larger e-commerce businesses'.

It shows that for website conversion segmentation is more highly rated compared with, say copy optimisation but much less frequently used.


Email marketing segmentation and targeting

MarketingSherpa research shows a similar pattern for email marketing. The graph below shows the target audience to be the most effective thing to test, yet it is tested much less frequently than, say, subject lines. Email marketers test the easy things rather than more  effective factors such as better targeting.   emailmarketing

Direct mail

The entry in Wikipedia for 'direct marketing' shows the same effect for direct mail:   Success of any Direct Marketing campaign, in terms of number of times the desired response may vary between the best vs. the worst of the following parameters, depends on:

  • Targeting or list: best targeting yields up to 6 times the response, as compared with the worst targeting.
  • Offer: best up to 3 times the response, as compared with the worst offer.
  • Timing: best timing for the campaign up to 2 times the response.
  • Ease of response (best/multiple ways offered to respond) yields up to 1.35 times the response, as compared with not-so-friendly response mechanism/s.
  • Creative: best creative messaging yields up to 1.2 times the response, as compared to the least creative.


A key driver behind the rapid move we are seeing from email marketing to marketing automation is that marketing automation makes it easier to test and implement better segmentation and targeting.

Segmentation and targeting are the most important factors for any direct channel, direct mail, email or website. However much targeting testing and segmentation work you are doing, you can almost always make more money by doing more!

For more information you can download this summary report.

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By Expert commentator

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