The terms “segment” and “segmentation” will soon end up on the list of dirty-marketing-words. Advancements in AI and machine learning bring much bigger and better things for marketers (and their target audiences). Audience segmentation, it’s been real. Now it’s time for audience characterization.
Segmentation, characterization… what’s the difference?
Audience segmentation is the age-old process of grouping people based on like attributes (behaviors, interests, actions) to match a predetermined target audience (a.k.a. a “persona”). Segmentation typically relies heavily (if not wholly) on 3rd party data, most of which is not collected at the user-level. The resulting segments are groups of static cookie pools, void of important indicators like intent signals, time and recency, and contextual factors (e.g. channel, publisher). Targeting audience segments is kind of like a “mass blast” approach to targeting. There’s just no longer a place for it in our industry, now that data science, machine learning, and AI can help us do things so much better.
Audience characterization is far more advanced and prescriptive. When properly done, it uses a variety of 1st, 2nd, and 3rdparty data sources to produce robust, individual-level profiles inclusive of detailed and differentiating values, needs, interests, contextual qualifiers, and more – oh, and it’s all continuously updated in real-time.
Gone are the days of static data sources and audience segments (hallelujah). With audience characterization, marketers finally stand a chance against our wacky, unpredictable consumer journeys. Why? Learn more about audience characterization and it’s impact on consumer journeys with our easy-to-read Audience Characterization infographic. Or, dig deeper with our full Explaining AI eBook to become well-versed on all AI topics that matter most for marketers.
Magnetic is an artificial intelligence company that uses machine learning to deliver smarter, faster, and more effective advertising. Our powerful AI platform continuously analyzes the attributes of over 350 million live user profiles alongside real-time inventory supply and bid opportunities to deliver highly performant audiences and profitable campaigns for our clients.