Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about customer profiling and web analytics. Customer profiling isn’t a new concept by any means – in fact, it’s been a fundamental part of marketing for decades. But in the context of web analytics, few people seem to be taking advantage it. And that’s why I wanted to blog about it, because customer profiling can be really powerful, easy, and represents yet another untapped opportunity for web analytics ROI.

What is an Xographic customer profile?
As always, let’s start with the basics. First, you’re probably wondering what I mean by xographic customer profiles. Good question. In all truth, I just invented the term today :) But I like it. It describes any set of demographic, technographic, geographic, or psychographic attributes you can identify for your customers. For example, gender, marital status, age group, income level, hobbies, technology preferences, home ownership, birthplace, etc. These are all xographic attributes that can incorporate into a customer profile. Of course, there are other customer attributes like attitudinal data and satisfaction scores that could also fill out a customer profile, but I want to write about those in my next blog.

Where to find xographic customer profile information?
Typically the best place to locate customer profile information is your own internal data warehouse. This information is often captured at the unique customer level, and can source from any number of channels. For example, a member registration process, a call center, in-store sales, conference attendances, newsletter subscriptions, etc – these are all good sources of customer profile information.

Enhancing web analytics with xographic customer profile data
To begin with, ensure you are measuring unique people and capturing a customer IDwith your web analytics platform. Once you have your customer ID, there are actually several ways to build a richer profile with Omniture SiteCatalyst. I won’t go into all the methods here, but one of the easiest methods is to use Omniture’s SAINT import tool. SAINT is incredibly flexible and you can use it to add attributes to almost any record in SiteCatalyst.

In this example, you’d simply create a SAINT grouping for your customer IDs. Then you’ll want to pick a few key xographic attributes that you want to add to these profiles. For example, you might start with age group, gender, and income level. That’s three attributes in total that you’ll be adding for each customer ID. Once you’ve imported your customer profile attributes via SAINT, they will appear within Omniture SiteCatalyst and Omniture Discover relatively quickly.

Profiting from this new customer perspective
Now comes the fun part. Starting with Omniture SiteCatalyst, you can quickly segment any of your success metrics across these profile types. For example, which age group contributes most to success on your website? What about income level? Remember, success doesn’t need to be revenue. It could be leads or page views or even self-service inquiries. In that sense, you can fairly quickly assess which customer types are most likely to submit a customer support inquiry and take action to better understand the challenges this particular segment may be having.

Xographics profiles and N-dimensional Segmentation
But let’s kick it up a notch for some even more interesting optimization. Jump into Omniture Discover. As I’ve talked about in my previous blog on n-dimensional segmentation, the possibilities for business optimization are virtually limitless so if you’re not using Omniture Discover, now is a great time to start!

Using xographic customer profiles to improve campaigns
First, let’s say you are primarily focused on campaign marketing and you want to understand which types of customers are responding to your specific campaigns. This is easy. Pull up the Campaigns Report in Omniture Discover, and then pull up the different xographic reports you have. With one click, you can quickly segment your campaign respondents by income, gender, or age group – or if you prefer, all three. Let’s say this reveals that Women, age 18-24, earning $40-55k per year are converting the best. Great! You can now refine your future marketing campaigns to focus on this audience segment. There are actually many content web sites that attract this exact customer type. And because you’re looking at conversion and not just response, your campaign will likely produce much higher ROI instead of higher response rates.

Using xographic customer profiles to enhance ad targeting
If you’re a content publisher with an ad-driven website, another powerful concept is to examine content affinities by xographic attribute. With Discover, highlight a particular section of content such as your Sports section. By filtering on this section, you’ll instantly see which age group, income level, and gender is most likely to visit this particular content area. In doing so, you can now provide prospective advertisers with a highly targeted opportunity to reach this audience. Furthermore, for those of you that sell advertising based on unique visitors, Discover offers deduplicated unique visitor counts for this particular segment so you can quickly provide your prospective advertiser with an estimated reach for their campaign at any given period of time.

Using xographic customer profiles to improve the conversion funnel
Any website with a conversion funnel can use xographic profiles to improve their conversion rates. This includes any retailer or eCommerce site, registration funnels, member and subscription funnels, and even self-service funnels. Start in Omniture Discover with a fall-out report that highlights your conversion funnel, and pull up your Most Popular Pages report. Now pull up your xographic reports onto the same palette. You should have 5 or 6 reports on your screen. Looking at the fall-out report, determine your most significant areas of attrition. Let’s say it’s Step 2 of the funnel, where you ask for Personal Information.

Now, in your Most Popular Pages report, filter for all visits that include the first two pages but do not include any pages beyond that. It’s generally easiest to do this in the Advanced Segment filter, rather than clicking on each page individually. Once you’re done, Discover will feature data for only those visitors who have bailed out of this conversion funnel and their key xographic attributes. To make it extra easy on you, run an AB compare so you can compare this with generic site visitors. Doing so will quickly highlight for you those key customer attributes that define unsuccessful visits.

For added perspective, try adding to your AB Compare segment to view all people who actually completed the purchase process. This comparison will help you drill into the key factors that may have contribute to funnel abandonment, and where you want to focus your next optimization initiative.