12 types of Google Search users

Posted on Monday, 4. September 2017 in category Google AdWords. 4 min read • Written by

Andraž Štalec

On Google Search we can segment users according to two dimensions: which stage of the consumer decision journey they are in (Behavioural segments), and how well they know our brand (Brand familiarity segments). The trick is to cross-match these segments (which will leave you with 12 highly-targeted segments) and adapt your copy, approach and bidding for each one of them.

Behavioural segments

First, let’s look at how to define Behavioural segments:

Recent buyers

Users that recently purchased a product and are now in the post-purchase stage. They are not actively looking for a new product.

How to reach these users:

– RLSA targeting all users that made a purchase within the past month

– Customer Match list made up of all users that made a purchase within the past month

Who to exclude from the lists:

– No one

Close to purchase users

These are users whose behaviour suggests they are in the last stage of the purchase cycle. They either added a product to the basket, entered a checkout process or their Session Quality is high. Keep in mind that not all users from this segment have necessary visited your website, so expand your reach with similar audiences.

How to reach these users:

– RLSA targeting all users who added a product to the basket

– RLSA targeting all users who started a checkout process

– RLSA targeting all users with high Session Quality

– Users similar to RLSA made up of your recent buyers

– Users similar to Customer Match list made up of your recent buyers

Who to exclude from the lists:

– Recent buyers

Cross-match this segment with High volume buyers and All past buyers (described below) so you can adapt the copy and bidding.

I suggest limiting these lists to 7 days, as the majority of users will either complete or abandon the purchase during this time. Later on you can expand and/or segment these lists based on Duration segments (mentioned below).

In-market users

Users who are actively researching different products. They are in the research phase, and are not yet ready to buy. They may also only be “window shopping”.

How to reach these users:

– RLSA targeting all users with 2+ product detail views

– RLSA targeting all users with medium Session Quality

Who to exclude from the lists:

– Recent buyers

– Close to purchase users

Again cross-match this segment with High volume buyers and All past buyers, adapting the copy and bidding.

Limit these lists to the average length of your purchase cycle.

Qualified users

Also known as the Largest Addressable Qualified Audience, these are users who are within your target group but their behaviour suggests they are not actively searching for a new product.

How to reach these users:

– Basic Search campaign using generic keywords

Who to exclude from the lists:

– Recent buyers

– Close to purchase users

– In-market users

Cross-match this segment with High volume buyers, All past buyers, Users familiar with the brand and New High Quality Users.

Warning: Update your Customer Match lists regularly. I suggest you establish a routine process and update them every Monday.

Brand familiarity segments

As you see from the above, we use Brand familiarity segments to cross-match our Behavioural segments and create more accurate lists, enabling us to adjust the copy and bidding. This is recommended, as users more familiar with your brand will usually have higher conversion rates, so we can spend more to acquire them.

Now let’s look at Brand familiarity segments more closely:

High volume buyers

Users who make 3+ transactions per year (number may vary based on the industry and the client).

How to reach these users:

– RLSA targeting all users that made at least 3 transactions in the last 12 months

– Customer Match list made of all users that made at least 3 transactions in the last 12 months

Who to exclude from the lists:

– No one

All past buyers

All users who purchased one or more products in the past but are not High volume buyers.

How to reach these users:

– RLSA targeting all users that made a purchase in the past

– Customer Match list made of all users that made a purchase in the past

Who to exclude from the lists:

– High volume buyers

Users familiar to the brand

These are all users who know the brand but haven’t purchased yet. These might be visitors to your website or any other user who came across your brand in the past.

How to reach these users:

– RLSA targeting all users

– Customer Match list made up of all your contacts, leads, newsletter subscribers

Who to exclude from the lists:

– All past buyers

New High Quality Users

New users that have never interacted with your brand before, but based on their behaviour we can assume they are highly qualified users.

How to reach these users:

– Users similar to RLSA list made up of all your past buyers

– Users similar to the Customer Match list made up of all your past buyers

Who to exclude from the lists:

– All past buyers

– Users familiar with the brand

New Users

New users for whom we have no behavioural data and are not highly qualified users. They are basically a total mystery for us.

How to reach these users:

– You will reach these users with the default targeting described in the Behavioural segments above

Google Search user types: 12 highly targeted segments

In the end we are left with 12 highly targeted segments of Google Search users. Here’s a quick overview:

Additional segmentation by list duration can be applied to any of these 12 segments, generating numerous new segments for you. If some of your initial 12 segments are large enough, try applying Duration segments as well.

On the other hand, if your lists are too small, start combining them vertically (grouping different Brand familiarity segments together).

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