User profiling creates detailed, data-driven descriptions or profiles of individual users or user groups based on their behaviour, preferences, and characteristics. It involves collecting and analysing data related to how users interact with a product, service, or platform to gain a deeper understanding of their needs, interests, and behaviours. User profiling is commonly used in various fields, including e-commerce, marketing, user experience (UX) design, and personalisation.
User profiling typically groups users into specific groups based on multiple metrics. These metrics can include:
- Purchase behaviour: grouping users based on the type of items they purchase from an organisation, how often they buy them, and their spending thresholds.
- Web traffic demographics: Visitors to the website can be organised according to specific age, gender or other demographics.
- Customers/users can be organised into groups according to their brand loyalty, typically through a loyalty program.
What are some of the key components of user profiling?
- Demographics: Information such as age, gender, location, and occupation can help create a basic user profile.
- Psychographics: This encompasses users’ interests, values, lifestyles, and attitudes. Psychographics delve into the “whys” behind user actions.
- Behavioural data: Analysing how users interact with a website or application, including their click patterns, browsing history, and transaction history.
- Preferences: learning about user preferences, like product or content categories they prefer or specific features they frequently use.
- Contextual data: This includes data about their device, their location when accessing the platform, and the time of day they’re active.
- Feedback and surveys: Information gathered from direct feedback or survey responses can provide insights into user satisfaction, needs, and pain points.
- User goals: Understanding what users try to achieve when using a product or service.
Why is user profiling important?
Targeted marketing is one of the key use cases for user profiling. To understand customer preferences, behaviours and demographics, marketers might use the insights from user profiles to inform the creation of targeted advertising and promotional campaigns.
User profiles might be helpful for personalised recommendations and content customisation. E-commerce websites and streaming services that want to recommend products, services or content that aligns with individual user preferences. Similarly, content creators and websites tailor their content to match the interests of their audience. For instance, news websites might display different stories based on user profiles. Companies also conduct market research based on user profiles to identify trends, needs, and gaps in the market.
In UX and product design, user profiles help create products and services that cater to different user segments’ specific needs and desires. User profiling is also beneficial for understanding how users interact with digital interfaces. Similarly, for software applications, user profiling can lead to adaptive user interfaces that change based on individual user preferences, making the software more user-friendly.
User profiling can also improve the quality of customer support. Teams can gain insight into a user’s profile to inform more personalised assistance, as awareness of a user’s purchase history can help to address product-related issues.
User profiles can aid in making data-driven decisions in the context of predictive analysis. When used in accordance with predictive analytics, user profiles can provide direction for anticipating future user behaviours.
While there are myriad ways in which user profiling can benefit organisations and a variety of forms in which this data can be retrieved, it’s essential to handle user data responsibly and comply with data privacy regulations to ensure users’ information is protected and used ethically.