What is Behavioral Segmentation? Strategies, Examples, and Tips

Behavioral Segmentation

Creating personalized marketing campaigns is more complicated than just sending a promo email to your customers on their birthday. Sure, you may get a few opens and maybe even a sale here and there with the birthday angle. But limiting your personalized communication to a single event rarely triumphs in today’s environment. 

If you want to build a successful marketing engine that will fuel long-term growth, you’ll want to use behavioral segmentation to drive your messaging. Only then will you have the data necessary to send people relevant messages, use their actions as the foundation for personalized marketing campaigns, and realize the exponential business growth you crave. 

Behavioral segmentation is the motivation behind many strategic decisions—who you’ll target, what messaging to use, how you’ll reach your audience, and much more. When done right, your segments will do more than just enrich your marketing campaigns; they’ll improve ad targeting and help build better products for your business.

This guide will walk you through the basics of behavioral segmentation and how you can start using this strategy in your business today. 

The basics of behavioral segmentation

Behavioral segmentation differs from other types (like demographic segmentation) because it groups your target market by actions they take, not their characteristics. This type of audience segmentation tracks different consumer behaviors like message clicks, email opens, website engagements, and more. 

You shouldn’t ignore other types of customer segmentation in favor of behavioral segmentation. Organizing customers by basic information such as age, location, gender, profession, and interests is fundamental, and when combined with behavior, these demographics can help you better communicate with your audience.

You can use this behavioral segmentation data to determine which messaging will resonate best with specific groups. Segmented communication is a good practice for online stores to embrace because personalized marketing is more effective than delivering the same content to all your customers. Segmenting your audience based on behavior enables you to send timely, relevant messages to each customer group based on actions they’ve taken. 

Imagine you’re the owner of CultureKings, a popular streetwear retailer. With behavioral targeting, you can send discounts to people who have spent more than $250 in your store but haven’t shopped with you in four months. Or you can create a campaign to send browse abandonment follow-ups based on the items they viewed but never bought. 

Behavioral segmentation and targeting help you deliver personalized messages at the right moments—which can result in more engaged customers and greater sales.    

Types of behavior segmentation

With behavioral segmentation, you can split your audience into smaller groups based on various actions they take and attitudes that drive their behavior:

  1. Shopping behavior: What items did someone buy, look at, or abandon?
  2. Customer loyalty: Who are your highest-value customers? 
  3. Occasion and timing: What upcoming events will a customer have? 
  4. Engagement: Which messages do people open and click?

Shopping behavior

When you categorize individuals by their purchasing behavior, you evaluate how customers act as they consider buying from you. Their behavior helps you understand their stage in the sales funnel and influences the offers you send to them as they progress. 

Assess the following behaviors before categorizing a customer:

  • The number of times a customer interacts with your business
  • What buttons they click in your Messenger bot
  • The type of information a customer seeks before buying (reviews, return policy information, warranty information, etc.)

Once you determine where a shopper fits into your predetermined categories, you can send more targeted messages or launch ads based on your criteria. ManyChat’s Customer Segments feature helps you filter your audience based on Tags, Custom Fields, and System Fields so you can turn people’s actions into personalized marketing.

For example, suppose a user’s actions indicate they fit into an “I’ll get it later” category. In that case, you can send them a message stating that the item they were looking at has a limited supply. For the “needs proof” shopper, send them a message emphasizing their desired item is in demand.

Customer loyalty

Loyal customers are usually the most profitable repeat buyers for businesses. More often than not, it can be cheaper and easier to market to customers you already have.

Loyalty-based behavioral segmentation helps you focus on convincing existing customers to buy again, not on acquiring new ones. It works by tracking a customer’s participation in rewards programs. Such programs are a Fortune 500 strategy that everyone, even small businesses, can execute. 

Your rewards program can provide as many offers as you want, for any product or service you wish. As users acquire points, they’ll naturally want to collect more and more until they reach that reward. Make it more engaging by creating offers that help them earn extra points. To keep up with today’s mobile-first landscape, you can create a fun loyalty program right inside Messenger with ManyChat that customers will be thrilled to join. 

Occasion and timing

Everyone has purchasing habits. Occasion-based behavioral segments consider external and environmental factors that influence actions. On specific occasions, shared traditions can influence purchase habits, such as booking a hotel for New Year’s Eve or dining out for an anniversary. Other behaviors hinge on personal preferences, like buying a beer after work at happy hour.

Most people exhibit both universal and personal behaviors, so oversimplifying an individual’s needs by focusing solely on their common patterns does marketers and business owners a huge disservice. And it may cause you to miss out on reaching customers at opportune times (when they genuinely want to be contacted).

By analyzing occasion-based habits, you can get customers to modify their behavior. For example, Starbucks knows customers tend to come in for their morning coffee, but the crowds thin as the day goes on. By offering a buy one, get one free Frappuccino during the afternoon, Starbucks can draw a crowd later in the day of people who would normally avoid the coffee chain after their early morning fix.

Campaign engagement

Using campaign engagement as a behavioral segmentation variable, you can target groups based on their propensity to open and engage with your messages. This data can help you tweak the way you organize your audience and trigger messages on other channels like SMS or email to people who don’t engage on Messenger. You can also send different messages to people with the highest average engagement to encourage more of this behavior. 

Examples of behavioral segmentation

Bluesun Hotels

When Bluesun Hotels launched its remarketing campaign with Chat Marketer Daniel Pikl, the team used a motivation-based behavioral segment to personalize each customer journey.

The team sent paid Facebook messages to a cold list Bluesun hadn’t contacted in years. Users who clicked through the ad answered a series of questions from Bluesun’s Messenger bot about what they needed to have the best vacation.

Based on the information they provided, the Bluesun sales team segmented prospects and delivered tailored content to encourage an eventual sale. For example, if a couple was booking a trip, the hotel sent «things to do» lists that would help the couple have a more intimate vacation. Families booking with the hotel received resources on how to make family travel easier.

The Croatian hotel chain achieved impressive results using a Messenger-based campaign:

  • 17x Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)
  • 300% decrease in cost per lead
  • 9,300+ warm leads
  • 14,000+ Messenger bot subscribers

Jason Swenk

Agency trainer Jason Swenk launched a chatbot funnel which brought in $250,000+ for his business. He used purchase behavior (or “readiness to buy”) segmentation to determine which leads he should contact personally.

Users entered the bot from a lead magnet on Jason’s marketing site and entered into a qualifying sequence. Based on actions leads took inside the funnel, Jason could segment them into groups in order to determine who was most likely to buy. Once they hit the end of his funnel, he’d contact leads with a voice note inside Messenger.

This chatbot brought in a quarter of a million dollars for Jason with zero dollars in ad spend.


Nikmit is an eCommerce marketplace in Macedonia which provides online retail shopping services for consumers. Nikmit has a growing catalog of product lines, including apparel, personal-care items, consumer electronics supplies, kitchen items, and home decor items. 

The retailer wanted to build a subscriber list to inform a warm audience about their upcoming winter holiday campaign. Nikmit ran Facebook ads to generate awareness for different product lines and get people onto their Messenger contacts list. Then they divided contacts into different consumer groups based on the types of products they were interested in.

Once they began advertising for the holiday campaign, Nikmit targeted groups with relevant sponsored messages based on their inclination toward various products. In total, the retailer achieved:

  • $24,200 in additional revenue 
  • 20x return on ad spend
  • $.09 cost per opened sponsored message

Use behavioral segmentation in your marketing strategy today

Behavioral segmentation helps you gain a deeper understanding of what drives your customers—external occasions, specific benefits, position in the sales funnel, etc. The more you know about them, the easier it is to create personalized and timely opportunities that will nudge them towards closing the deal. As you learn more about segmentation, be sure to check out our guides on psychographic segmentation and demographic segmentation

Use the four behavioral segmentation techniques in this guide to make your marketing efforts more effective and generate greater returns.

Want to segment your audience better and drive more sales? Get ManyChat today. It’s free to get started.

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