Granularity Definition

Granularity refers to the level of detail used to sort and separate data. Highly granular data is categorized or separated very precisely, giving small data groupings with specific shared characteristics.

Granularity has many different meanings, but in marketing and software it refers to the accuracy of data categorization. For the best translation of the term in this context, substitute 'granular' for 'precise'.

Granularity in segmentation

When it comes to segmentation and targeting, granularity determines the level of detail used to separate members of a target audience or customer base. The more granular the segmentation, the narrower the criteria are for each customer segment.

Highly granular segmentation splits an audience into groups a number of different variables. This may include factors like location, purchase frequency, loyalty point score, age, etc. Alternatively it can also split an audience into many separate groups along one variable, e.g. income in $500 incrementations.

The best results usually come from segmentation that is somewhere in the middle of the granularity scale. This gives precise segments, but not too precise to be ineffective when it comes to customizing your marketing efforts. Next to granular segmentation, granular targeting simply aims marketing efforts or promotions towards a specific audience segment.

Graphic showing data with increasingly granular segmentation

The graphic above shows inreasingly granular audience segmentation. The more granular the segmentation, the more citeria are used to separate customers.

Granular customization options

Similarly, a software system with highly granular customization options allows you to choose very specific criteria for campaign setup, etc. For example, this may be the option to define the precise circumstances for sending out an automated marketing email. Or, in the case of promotions, the precise criteria for activating a specific promotional campaign.

Benefits of granular systems

The main benefit of granular data and audience segmentation is giving you greater control over your data. The more ways there are to manipulate your data, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to achieve specific objectives. If you want to keep your segments simple then you can. But the ability to control them more precisely when you need is a huge advantage.

The same applies to granular customization options for setting up campaigns. Being able to fine-tune every aspect of a campaign means you’re much more likely to get the results you want. For example, the more criteria you can change for referral code redemption, the more effectively you’ll be able to set your campaign up to meet specific objectives.

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