Proper segmentation is the first step in building a scalable, efficient and effective marketing communications strategy.
If facilitates effective targeting and saves money by allowing us to direct our marketing budgets more effectively by focusing only profitable or desirable segments – moving away from broad or mass approaches.
In their academic paper by Monica Hodis and Colleagues propose a segmentation of Facebook users (four segment matrix of Facebook users.
These segments are summarised and described as the following (Hodis, 2015):
- Attention seekers users with low level of consumption and high levels of creation on Facebook (Hodis, 2015.
- Devotes – users with both high level of consumption and creation on Facebook
- Entertainment Chasers – users with low levels of consumption and creation on Facebook – simply use Facebook as a means to avoid boredom
- Connection seekers – high level of consumption and low level of creation
In the paper several examples are given on how certain segments can be used in marketing campaigns – but these are quite lightweight – and do not, in my opinion provide for a serious foundation for marketing planning.
For example – it is noted that if you could recruit an attention seeker to embrace your brand on line – there would be greater credibility in this form of branding that simply advertising.
Additionally – the paper also promotes the use of games, quizzes and competitions to involve consumers of Facebook who provide less content on Facebook (being Entertainment chasers and connection seekers in their example).
And while I agree that marketers need to take a different approach to marketing to Facebook users than ads targeting users on their “interests” which users claim to be “creepy”, I’m not convinced that this matrix is the solution.
According to Kottler et al  and what we are taught in Marketing 101 there are several guidelines that should be followed when implementing a segmentation of a market. These include:
- Segments should be mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive –- every person should only belong to only one segment targeted, and everyone should be in a segment
- Segments should be homogeneous- people in the segments should be alike, beit income, gender, opinions, life stage, lifestyle, etc.
- Segments should be identifiable – you need to be able to identify the people in the segment so that you can find them to target them in your campaign
Of course, there is much more to Segmentation that these three points – but I do believe that the Facebook Segmentation Matrix fails on all three of these points.
On the first point, in reviewing the segments – I found it difficult to identify where I was in the matrix. Sometimes I’m highly active on Facebook and upload a lot of media (photos, videos, posts), sometimes I don’t. I almost always use Facebook to connect with friends and my family which is overseas. So, does this make me an attention seeker or a connection seeker? Or both?
It concerns me that movement between the segments can be so fluid.
On the second point, the groups in the four segments are anything be homogeneous other than their behaviour at one point in time. With over 1 billion people on Facebook segmented into 4 groups – any segment is going to be a heterogenous.
The model considers the Attention Seekers the “stars” of the segmentation – but this group is anything be homogeneous – think of high-volume media posters – these users vary by age, nationality, gender, interests.
Apart from being a highly heterogeneous group – consideration must also be given to the subject matter and the quality of the material they are posting – consider the high number of cat videos posted every day – is this the “star” segment that you are looking for in your business? (Actually, it might be if you are in the pet business – but you don’t need a segmentation model to find them – they seem to be everywhere!).
The use of high profile Facebook (and YouTube, and Instagram) posters with large followings have long ago been cherry picked by marketers to act as ambassadors or influencers for their brands. These are valuable assets to markets. But there are very few of them – and are individually matched to an industry (cosmetics, motor vehicles, etc) – and while the Segmentation Matrix no doubt includes many of these posters – it cannot be assumed the entire segment is valuable or relevant.
And the final point – the segment should be identifiable to be actionable. How do you actually locate this segment on Facebook – if you want to target say Connection Seekers, how do you do this on Facebook? How do you find them? Is there an algorithm that can search for users who connect with friends but don’t contribute content to the sight? How do you accurately find them when people are moving in and out of segments all the time based on what they did on Facebook that day or that week. When the segments aren’t stable – it isn’t possible to allocate individuals to a segment.
I find that Facebook Segmentation Matrix an interesting exercise in understanding how users spend time on Facebook and what the motivations are in using the site. However, I believe the segmentation tool too broad to be used as a useful marketing tool to better identify and target attractive segments.
What do you think?
 Monica Hodis et al (2015): interact with me on my terms: four segment Facebook engagement framework for marketers, Journal of Marketing Management.
 Monica Hodis et al (2015): interact with me on my terms: four segment Facebook engagement framework for marketers, Journal of Marketing Management
 Kotler, Philip & Keller, Kevin Lane (2017), Marketing Management Pearson Education International, 17th Edition