How to set up audiences

Defining audiences is the first step in developing an effective personalization strategy. Here's how to create audiences inside Unless.

Why do I need audiences?

The basic premise of personalization is that page visitors have differing needs and expectations. So, delivering one site experience to everyone, leaves you with a website that doesn't truly resonate with anyone. By grouping your visitors into audiences you can tackle this problem and create targeted experiences.

Example: Here's how Blogger changes the homepage for different audiences.

Blogger Example

What makes a 'good' audience?

Conceptually, audiences are groups of visitors who have something in common. When deciding on an audience you should keep two things in mind.

1. What's the reach?

To maximize the impact of personalization, your audience should have a high reach which is either defined by volume or value.

  • Volume: The audience should be made up of a large enough percentage of your site’s visitors. Imagine you create a "visitors from LinkedIn" audience but those only make up 1% of your overall traffic - not enough to make an impact.
  • Value: Alternatively, the audience should be made up of visitors who are extremely valuable and deserve a unique message.

2. Is this feasible?

You must be able to identify members of this audience. Unless is not a crystal ball, we don't magically know everything about your visitors. Creating audiences based on gender, age, job title, interest, and more can be valuable but remember that the data has to come from somewhere. Ask yourself; can this audience be identified using the data and conditions provided by Unless? Can I provide the necessary data myself (e.g. by sending data through UTMs or the API)?

What audiences can I choose from?

In Unless, you can use three types of audiences:

  • Default audiences are five pre-defined visitor segments (→ "Everyone", "New visitors", "Returning visitors", "Visitors using a desktop device", "Visitors using a mobile device"). These audiences are available from the get-go and you can immediately start personalizing your website for them.
  • Suggested audiences are unique to each customer. They are based on algorithms that observe your website traffic and analyze your visitors' behavior. To get good suggestions, it is essential that you set up goals and use goal types. This helps the algorithms understand valuable visitor actions and over time they will build better suggested audiences for you.
  • Custom audiences are visitor groups that you compose yourself. For this, you can mix and match all available targeting conditions (read on for more on this topic).

How do I set up custom audiences?

For this, you can mix and match all available targeting conditions. They are sorted into eight categories (see full list) and grouped by type (context/behavior/persona). For each category, we created a separate guide that includes some examples and use cases, so here's just an overview of what's possible.

  1. GEO: Increase relevance and trust by showing your visitors localized content. You can localize based on country, state, city, zip code, or even a single IP address. Learn more.
  2. TIME: Show relevant content and special offers based on when someone visits your page. For example; "weekend visitors", "visiting outside office hours", "Christmas shoppers", and more. Learn more.
  3. DEVICE: Is your visitors' behavior influenced by device or browser? Do you want to change the CTAs on mobile view? These and more use cases can be covered with device-based audiences. Learn more.
  4. WEATHER: Does your conversion rate change with weather or temperature? Event, travel, catering, and fashion websites can typically benefit from weather-based audiences. Learn more.
  5. BEHAVIOR: Buttons clicked, pages viewed, PDFs read - through their behavior visitors tell you what they want and where they are in your conversion funnel - use this information for personalized messaging. Learn more.
  6. SESSION: Define audiences based on the duration of visitors' web session or the number of pages they viewed. You could, for example, set up a "highly engaged" audience for visitors who viewed more than 3 pages and show them a popup that gently pushes them towards scheduling a demo with you.
  7. PARAMETER: URL parameters and UTMs transfer a lot of data from your marketing campaign to your website. With Unless, you can translate this data into a hyper-targeted website experience. For example, you can dynamically change the headline of your landing page based on the ad someone clicked. Imagine how much time that saves on landing page design! Learn more.
  8. TRAITS: Traits are personal visitor attributes such as name, gender, email, job, purchases, etc. Traits are unique to your account. They can be sourced through the email capture add-on or through the API (set up by your developer). Learn more.

How to use and/or conditioning?

If you are just getting started with the and/or logic, it might be a little confusing at first. This setting indicates how many conditions have to apply so that a visitor becomes part of an audience:

Or: If any of the conditions apply to a visitor, they will become a part of the audience. Regardless of whether they match the other conditions or not.

And: Makes all conditions significant. A visitor will become part of the audience only if they match all the conditions.

Setting these up properly will make sure you target the right group of visitors. Usually, the and operator will create narrower, more specific audiences, while the or will allow you to create broader groups of visitors.

What is audience membership?

The membership duration defines how long a visitor remains part of an audience. You can set a time-based duration (in minutes, hours, or days) or limit the membership to the current web session. In general, your membership duration should be aligned with your sales cycle.

Example:

Let's say you run an ad campaign aimed at freelancers. Next, you create an audience and some personalizations around it. By setting a membership duration you can influence how long Unless will identify visitors who clicked on the ads as freelancers.

  • Session Visitors will be identified as freelancers for the duration of their current web session. If they come back to your website tomorrow, they will no longer be part of your freelancer audience and see the original homepage.
  • Longer Period Visitors will become members of your freelancer audience for as long as you'd like - let's say 30 days. If they come back to your website in two weeks, a cookie recognizes them as freelancers and shows them the associated personalizations.

How many audiences do I need?

It really depends on your website and your use case, there's no magic number. In general, we recommend to start with 2-3 broad audiences, once you get the hang of it and see some results, you can create more. To find out for whom to personalize first, take a look at your Analytics data. Here's a guide on how to uncover audiences.