Building out Experian Mosaics® and Claritas PRIZM® Segments for Paid Social Media

The Upper Crust, Beltway Boomer, Kids & Cul-de-Sacs, Power Elite, and Promising Families.  All of these should ring a bell if have experience with the power of marketing segmentation tools.  Segments are often based on the premise that “birds of a feather flock together” or we are more alike then we are different to those in our immediate neighborhoods (think blocks, not zip code).  Segmentation tools used a plethora of data to determine which segment of the population contains your best customers and subsequently how to reach them from a marketing perspective.


So, here the question: “If these segments are provided in your marketing brief for social advertising purposes, how do you target them?”The answer: “It’s easier than you probably think, and it won’t break the bank.” Typically, the targeting options social platforms currently provide aren’t match perfectly with each segment.  If they do, it might come with a lofty price tag.  But a lot of what you need is sitting right in front of you.  Here’s a step-by-step way to tackle it:

1. Determine the Best Segments: This probably goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway. Be sure and identify which segments you’d like to target.   These should be the segments that have a high propensity to purchase your product or service.  Collectively, they should make up about 20% of all segments.

2. Select your Geography: Segmentation data often gets rather granular when it comes to geography, even getting down to block groups. You might feel compelled to get very specific here but don’t get too concerned because the steps below will help hone in on the right users.   Using country, state, and/or DMA are all perfectly fine.

3. Line up Demographics: Here’s where things get super interesting. The profile data on your segment comes into use at this point.  What you are looking for here is the demographic data that is going to start to segment your audience away from the pack.  These are the heavier hitters.

      • Age: Available with most social buying platforms this is a key differentiator of a segment. Go broader if you need to.  It’s better to have a wider net.
      • Presence of Children: If they have children, how many, and their age ranges.
      • Urbanicity: If they live in the city, suburbs or rural area.
      • Employment: If they are employed, unemployed, retired, stay-at-home parent, etc.
      • Education Level: To what level of education have they reached.
      • Income: This one is sometimes tricky because in Facebook/Instagram it was originally a data point and it was removed.  It’s back but it’s not as robust and is now uses publicly provided on zip codes to measure income (e.g., top 5-50% average HH income).  Only use it if affluence is the key characteristic of the segment.
      • Home Ownership: Home owner or renters.

4. Exclude: In addition to including audiences, you can also exclude audiences.   There are certain demographics that you often cannot exclude such as ethnicity or income.  So, this is a way to narrow your audience further if there is an important demographic that is important to leave out.

5. Layer on Behavioral/Psychographic Parameters: At this point, you’ve already segmented a good portion of you audience off.  You can keep this “base” as one of your target groups for prospecting purposes, but this is where you can truly apply some of the behavioral and/or psychographic information that is provided about the segments.  Here a demonstration of how you can break down the targets:

    • Media: Create an audience based on the media information provided such as cable networks, newspapers, radio formats, etc.
    • Hobbies: Create an audience based on hobbies including travel, dining, outdoor/indoor activities such as hiking, biking, going to the movies, etc.
    • Retail: Create an audience bases on other retailers they like that are both online and/or offline.
    • Like Brands: Create an audience based on brands they like such as CPG, Automotive, Financial Services, etc.


    For the purpose of example, we made up a segment and named it “Stellar Silvers”. Here’s a snapshot. They are empty-nesters living in suburban areas with college or post-graduate degrees.  They are ages 62+ and either retired or on their way to retirement (yah for them!).  They love to travel, dine out and taste different wines. They enjoy reading and watching cable shows.  When we visit the profile of the “Stellar Silvers” using our marketing segmentation tools, we learn all about their lifestyle including a full-range of profile points. From there, we build out our targeting in our ad tools. Here is a condensed example of what that may look like:

          • Broad Audience: Age 60+, suburban, with a college+ degree, full-time or retired.
          • Media: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Conde Nast Traveler, Food & Wine, The Travel Channel.
          • Hobbies: Traveling, Movies, Dining, Golfing, Shopping.
          • Retail: Nordstrom, Target, Amazon, Crate & Barrel, Wayfair.
          • Like Brands: Cadillac, Lincoln, Mercedes, BMW, Betty Crocker, Colgate, Chase, Liberty Mutual.


    And presto, you are successfully created targeting groups based on marketing segments.   From here, you can start your ad campaign and start optimizing for the best performing targets and the creative.  For more on paid media including content strategy and event tracking, be sure and read the following blog posts:


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