What is User Segmentation: A Guide with Types & Examples

user segmentation

User segmentation is vital for building relevant and engaging experiences across all touchpoints in the user journey.

In the article, we explore different types of user segmentation, explain how to design a user segmentation strategy, and how to leverage segmentation to enhance user retention.

Let’s get right to it, shall we?


  • User segmentation involves grouping users based on shared characteristics.
  • Segmentation enables in-depth user behavior analysis and targeted user engagement.
  • User data segmentation groups users based on properties like their pricing plan or sign-up date.
  • Demographic segmentation is based on personal and population characteristics, for example, age or gender, while firmographic segmentation uses company-level properties like industry.
  • Behavioral segmentation is based on what users do inside the product, whereas psychographic segmentation concentrates on their psychological traits.
  • Start creating your user segmentation strategy by defining the main user personas, focusing on their JTBDs, roles, company data, pain points, and benefits of using the product.
  • Next, use welcome surveys to collect essential customer data for initial segmentation.
  • After that choose the user segmentation model that matches your goals.
  • To capture user behavior data, use feature and event tagging and visualize and filter it by segment for analysis.
  • To achieve, your objectives use the insights to devise bespoke engagement strategies for different segments.
  • As you implement your strategies, use analytics to monitor their impact on key metrics.
  • To reduce time to value, segment your new users based on their needs and personalize their experiences.
  • To engage users with relevant messaging, segment them based on the user journey stage.
  • Segmenting users for secondary onboarding helps you avoid overwhelming users with complex functionality before they’re ready for it.
  • To reengage inactive users, target the segment with in-app messages, push notifications, and emails.
  • After identifying your power users, you can turn them into product advocates through referral or affiliate programs.
  • Upsell messages are most effective when they target user segments ready for the adoption of relevant premium functionality.
  • To select new feature testers, segment them by the time to adoption and survey response rates to ensure you gather the insights you need.
  • Userpilot is a product growth platform with powerful analytics, feedback, and engagement functionality. To find out more about its advanced segmentation capabilities, book the demo!

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What is user segmentation?

User segmentation is the process of grouping users based on shared characteristics, like demographic properties or behavior.

Thanks to segmentation, teams can extract meaningful insights from user behavior data, design personalized experiences for users, and target them with relevant messaging.

Why does user segmentation matter?

There are two main reasons why user segmentation is non-optional.

Firstly, it allows you to make valid conclusions from user behavior analysis.

Think about it:

Your user base isn’t homogenous. For example, users have different goals or use the product on different devices. Consequently, their behavior patterns vary. Analyzing product usage without taking it into account would skew the results.

It doesn’t stop there.

By comparing the behavior of different user segments, you can find ways to improve the user experience. For example, you could compare the behavior or your power users and churned users with the same use case.

Secondly, user segmentation enables SaaS organizations to make the customer experience more relevant for their users.

For example, users with different goals will need different features to accomplish them, and the onboarding process should reflect this. Thanks to segmentation, you can trigger onboarding flows tailored to different use cases.

Different types of user segmentation

Modern analytics tools allow you to segment your users based on various characteristics.

Here are a few segmentation types commonly used by SaaS teams.

User segmentation based on customer data

This type of user segmentation uses customer data that you’d normally find in your CRM, like their pricing plan type, sign-up date, or spending history.

Such segmentation can help marketing and sales teams retain customers and drive account expansion through upsells or cross-sells.

User profile in Userpilot
User profile in Userpilot.

Demographic segmentation

Demographic segmentation groups users based on their personal and population characteristics, like age, gender, education, language, geographic location, or family background.

This kind of segmentation is useful for analyzing your target audience and tailoring your marketing efforts. You can also use it to localize user experiences.

Firmographic segmentation

Firmographic segmentation uses information about users’ companies. For example, you could segment users based on their industry, company size, maturity, location, or financial details, like revenue.

Behavioral segmentation

In behavioral segmentation, you create segments based on their product usage. That’s all the things they do inside the product – or don’t.

For example, you could segment users based on whether they use a feature, when they perform specific actions, or how long it takes them to complete tasks.

Psychographic segmentation

Psychographic segmentation uses information about shared psychological traits. It’s not about their objective properties but rather what they believe: their values, opinions, interests, and lifestyle choices.

SaaS companies can use this kind of segmentation to diversify their product lines and tailor marketing campaigns to attract the right customer base.

How to create a customer segmentation strategy

Ready to create your user segmentation strategy? Here’s our 6-step guide to the process.

Step 1: Create user personas

The process starts with defining the main user personas, or fictional representatives of the main user groups. For example, Userpilot’s personas include the product manager and the product marketing manager.

User persona example
User persona example.

What information do you need to collect about them?

Make sure you know their:

Step 2: Collect customer data

With user personas in place, it’s time to collect user data for segmentation.

This is easy to do with welcome surveys when they first log into the product.

There’s a misconception based on B2C experiences that welcome surveys add friction to the user journey and should be kept to a minimum.

In B2B, this is true only to a certain extent. Irrelevant questions can discourage business users from carrying on, but they’re usually happy to answer questions that help you deliver a better customer experience.

Welcome survey in Userpilot
Welcome survey created in Userpilot.

Step 3: Decide on your segmentation model

The next step is choosing the segmentation model. This depends on your goals.

For example, if your goal is improving customer satisfaction, you might use psychographic segmentation and group your users based on their NPS or CSAT survey responses. In this way, you can analyze differences in product usage and target them with experiences designed to address their pain points.

The reality in most SaaS companies is that teams try to move lots of needles at the same time, so you’re very likely to use all of the models above in parallel.

Step 4: Track user behavior among different user segments

Having chosen the customer segmentation model and assigned users to different segments, you’ve got to collect and analyze the relevant data.

Most of the time, however, you may already have the relevant data because you’re already tracking feature usage or specific events. All that is left is to visualize in reports or dashboards and filter the data for specific segments.

If you’re still shopping for an analytics tool to track and analyze user behavior, look for a platform that allows you to tag features and events from the front end, without coding. Solutions that automatically track all events aren’t always a good idea, as you end up with tons of irrelevant data that’s expensive to store.

Filtering by segment in Userpilot’s Features & Events dashboard
Filtering by segment in Userpilot’s Features & Events dashboard.

Step 5: Create strategies for different user segments

As you have analyzed the behavior of your user segments, use the insights to work out how to improve the metrics you’re targeting.

It’s hard to make general recommendations on how to do it because it depends on the findings and your goals.

For example, suppose your goal is to improve user satisfaction and you discover that the dissatisfied users underutilize a feature that’s very relevant to their use case. In that case, you can design in-app patterns to drive feature discovery and adoption.

Or if you realize that it’s mostly mobile users that tend to be less satisfied, your focus should be on optimizing the mobile experience.

Satisfaction survey in Userpilot
Satisfaction survey in Userpilot.

Step 6: Measure the impact of those strategies

As you implement the changes, monitor their impact on the key metrics and iterate until they move the needle in the right direction.

You can do it by visualizing the metrics in a graph and tracking trends over time. If there are multiple metrics to track, create dashboards where you can view all the data between switching views. This functionality will be available in Userpilot soon.

Product usage dashboard in Userpilot
Product usage dashboard in Userpilot.

User segmentation examples to improve customer retention

In the previous section, I gave you an example of how you can use user segmentation to drive product results.

Let’s look at 7 more instances of user segmentation applications aimed at improving retention.

Segment new users to personalize customer experience

Imagine logging into the product for the first time and being flooded with information about all the product features and processes, most of them irrelevant.

How would you feel? For me, it would be extremely overwhelming and make me wonder if I’ve chosen the right product.

To avoid overwhelming users and reduce the time they need to reach value, use segmentation to personalize their experiences.

Here’s how:

For each user persona, design a bespoke onboarding flow focusing on the core features they need to accomplish their objectives. If possible, design custom dashboards or UI layouts for them so that they can easily find the features.

If you don’t know the most optimal route to value for different customer segments, use path analysis to dissect what successful users do at this stage.

When new users sign in, trigger a survey to segment them and use their responses to launch the right interactive walkthrough or onboarding checklist.

User segmentation example: new sign-ups
User segmentation example in Userpilot: new sign-ups.

Create user segments based on the stage in the customer journey

How you engage your users depends not only on their JTBDs but also the stage in the user journey.

For example, for newly acquired users on the free plan, your priority is to activate them and convert them into paying customers.

To segment users based on their user journey stage, define the milestones that they need to reach to progress to the next stage, like signing up for the product or converting to a paid plan.

Next, use your product analytics tool to track the events.

User segmentation example: new paying users
User segmentation example in Userpilot: new paying users.

Segment active users for the secondary onboarding process

Once the user experiences the product value and adopts the key features, they’re ready for secondary onboarding. That’s when they discover more advanced functionality that enables them to realize the full product potential.

How do you know they’re ready?

Again, use your analytics tool. Set up a custom event made up of the actions needed to activate, like sending 10 messages, and segment all users who complete the event.

As soon as this happens, start targeting them with onboarding flows focusing on more complex features.

User segmentation example: active users
User segmentation example in Userpilot: active users.

Segment disengaged users to improve user engagement

Disengaged users are one of the key user segments because they have a massive impact on product success. If a user doesn’t engage with the product regularly, they’re likely to churn.

That’s why it’s good practice to segment such users and target them with communications to bring them back to life.

If a user doesn’t engage with a single feature only, it’s easy to give them a nudge with an in-app message.

However, this won’t work with inactive users. To reach them, try push notifications (if they opted in to receive them) and emails.

User segmentation example: disengaged users
User segmentation example in Userpilot: disengaged users.

Segment power users for WoM marketing campaigns

Power users are the most successful and loyal customers. They make excellent product advocates because they know the product well, can use it competently to derive value, and are highly satisfied.

How do you know someone is a power user?

Again, depends on the product. For example, it may be the users who have been paying customers for a certain period, have adopted certain advanced features, or use the product frequently enough.

To harness their loyalty for WOM, consider inviting them to a referral scheme in which they get rewarded for recommending your product, an affiliate program, or making them product ambassadors.

User segmentation example: power users
User segmentation example in Userpilot: power users.

Segment customers to contextually prompt upsells

This is another example of segmentation based on the stage in the user journey and it builds upon secondary onboarding.

If your SaaS is like most others, you have a tiered pricing system, with certain features available only in the higher plans. You may also offer features as add-ons.

The goal of such a pricing model is to maximize customer lifetime value.

The catch is that account expansion efforts don’t work if the features aren’t important for the user.

What’s more, you can’t push users to upgrade to a higher plan after they log in for the first time. They first need to discover what the product has to offer and adopt the features in the free plan.

Only then can you start targeting them with upsell and cross-sell messages. They could be triggered contextually, for example, when the user completes an event that indicates they’re ready.

User segmentation example: users to target with new feature upsell message
User segmentation example in Userpilot: users to target with new feature upsell message.

Segment users for early feature announcement

Before you roll out your features to the entire user base, you may want to consider a dark launch or beta test to assess its performance in real life.

Which users should you choose for the test?

Firstly, the new functionality needs to be relevant to their use case. Secondly, they must be a representative sample of the user population. Thirdly, they must be willing to test your product and, ideally, provide feedback.

To find users who meet the last criteria, you can segment them by the time to adoption and survey response rates.

Once your segment is ready, use toggles to enable the feature to them and send them in-app messages inviting them to take part in the test.

User segmentation example: positive feedback providers
User segmentation example in Userpilot: positive feedback providers.


The ability to group users based on shared properties or behaviors is essential for customer success. It allows teams to better understand their user needs and tailor their experience to satisfy them.

If you’d like to learn more about segmentation in Userpilot and how you can leverage it to engage users and advance your product goals, book the demo!

Try Userpilot and Take Your User Experience to the Next Level

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