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How to use device data for powerful user segmentation

With carefully targeted campaigns you get more bang for your marketing buck, but there are many ways you can handle user segmentation for targeting purposes. Here we'll give you a quick guide on how to make your segmentation based on a seemingly obvious but often overlooked factor: a user's device.

Pawel Piejko - 31 Mar 2017
5 min read

With carefully targeted campaigns you get more bang for your marketing buck, but there are many ways you can handle user segmentation for targeting purposes. Here we'll give you a quick guide on how to make your segmentation based on a seemingly obvious but often overlooked factor: a user's device.

What devices do your customers use?

Here at DeviceAtlas we sometimes come across businesses that don't seem to realize that device fragmentation even exists.

Assuming all your potential customers are using one of a handful of phone models, such as an iPhone or the latest Samsung, is a wasted opportunity at best and a real threat to your business at worst. Device fragmentation is a big headache for companies who don't optimize. Even iPhones are not all the same. There's a huge difference between how people use a 4-inch iPhone SE, and a massive 5.5-inch iPhone Plus, let alone various iPad models.

Just to give you an idea, there were over 2,000 distinct web-enabled device models used for web browsing in Q4 2016 in the USA alone, according to the DeviceAtlas Mobile Report. These devices were manufactured by over 200 unique phone makers!

What is user segmentation?

One of the marketing strategies that some companies use today is going as broadly as possible and hoping that something will stick. And sometimes, when a massive budget is available, it actually works. But this approach costs a lot of ad dollars and, at the same time, a lot of people get annoyed by your poorly targeted campaigns.

For most marketers today, laser-precise user segmentation is a fundamental aspect of their growth strategy. Segmentation is typically used for analyzing and reporting on existing customers and prospects to get a better understanding of the audience and, as a result, run better-performing marketing campaigns.

With multi-faceted user segmentation, it is much more likely that people you reach out to may be interested in what you have to offer and willing to learn about your product. But more importantly, user segmentation helps you make sure that the audience actually engage with your ads and other promotional content and that you reach them at the right moment.

5 simple device-based segmentation tactics you can implement right now

User segmentation techniques typically relate to a number of factors ranging from age, to gender, to geographical region, to education, to behavioral aspects, such as recently visited websites. Adding device data to the mix helps you make sure that:

  • Your ads look and work great on all devices and are rendered correctly for all users
  • Users are in the right context which you can easily detect by targeting certain device characteristics

Here's how user segmentation can be easily augmented by including detailed device information.

1. Device type

It may seem obvious, but you shouldn't overlook the fact that device type is one of the most effective ways of segmenting users.

The type of device used to access online content is enough to tell you about the input method (touchscreen, mouse, controller, or remote control), the most likely screen dimension, and the user's context. An example of a device type-based segmentation may include low-end phones, smartphones, tablets, desktop computers, TVs, and other web-enabled devices (consoles, projectors, cameras, etc.).

2. Screen dimensions for serving optimal ads

Serving ads that work and look great on the target device is essential to maximize CTRs and conversion rates. One of the ways to do it is to detect the screen size and screen resolution and then adjust the ads based on that knowledge.

The information about the screen size can also be used for adjusting other UX elements, such as form fields, menus, search, and calls-to-action. Elements that don’t fit on the screen can be simply not loaded on small devices which is what Amazon does on its homepage—on small screen sizes there is much less promoted content. Pop-ups and social sharing buttons can be dropped on smaller screen sizes as well.

3. Connectivity

There are many variables affecting connection speed, from device’s capabilities, to the data plan, to signal strength. All these aspects can dramatically change how quickly your ads and landing pages load on the user's device. Bandwidth-heavy ads or content should be avoided where good connectivity is not available, and there are many ways to detect this. User segmentation based on connectivity can use the following factors:

4. Hardware

For video ad campaigns, hardware information can be useful as well. Some videos may not work on phones without efficient CPUs and GPUs, as well as enough RAM. Hardware-based segmentation helps you make sure that video ads run smoothly on the target device. According to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, mobile delays can be as stressful as ... watching a horror movie.

5. Device-related insight on user habits

Users of specific devices have different habits which may be useful for user segmentation.

Here are some examples. iPhone users generally browse more often than Android users. The majority of iPhone users live in developed countries, such as USA, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, or Switzerland.

Inexpensive Android phones are often used by first-time smartphone users in emerging markets. At the same time, there are many developed countries where Android is the leading OS, such as Germany, Italy or Spain.

Of course, there are many other device-related considerations which you can use for user segmentation. Some examples detectable with DeviceAtlas include mobile browsers, OS version, or device’s ‘year released’. Get the full list of over 200 detectable device properties, here.

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