User segmentation

Author: Patrick Jordan for Gain Capital, May 2016


Key findings



We are looking for the most valuable ‘groups’ of users that share common needs and behaviors to target product development efforts.

  • Existing users - Understand the needs and behaviors of people currently conducting Retail Online Leveraged Trading, specifically our current users and their potential value (not per user but by segment)
  • Underserved users - Identify other segments whom we don’t serve or that we currently underserve and understand their value.
  • Personas - Based on these develop and agree target personas that we can use to help us build products.


Baseline what we know, validate with survey, deep dive to add detail

Phase Key inputs / activities Purpose
Phase 1 - Secondary research
  • Existing research segmentation research
  • Literature review – market reports
  • Internal experts, ethnography
  • On-site trading behaviors
  • Ad hoc Gain users

Process of breaking down and building up hypothesis to test in the primary research phase

Phase 2A – Primary research (quantitative)
  • 1,500 to 3,000 surveys globally
  • Existing users across the platforms
  • Demo account users – particularly those that never made it to full users

Testing hypothesis to observe that the basis for segmentation is valid

Uncover the basis for persona creation

Phase 2B – Primary research (qualitative)
  • Depth interviews with 15 to 20 users to validate segments and to tease out personas

Ensure that the personas really do exist and put more meat on the bones

Phase 3 – Persona creation
  • Create posters
  • Localize personas by region

Bring personas to life and localize them so we relate to them

Strategic direction

How can we achieve our aims

Existing segmentation review

A number of research attempts, some consistency, nothing that has landed internally or that is applied to product development

Research Methodology Basis of Segmentation Segments
Foolproof (2014) Qualitative (18 observations) Trading style Quick Trader; News Focused; Market Focused; Charts Focused; Explorer
Rokkan (2014) Qualitative (43 interviews) Psychographics and trading attitudes and behaviors Ambitious, Tech-Savvy Millennial Novices; Realists
GfK (2014) Quantitative (number surveyed not known) Trading experience Beginner; Experienced; Special
Forrester (2008) Quantitative (1412) Trading attitudes and behavior, psychographics Ambitious Techies; DIY Currency Traders; Realistic Enthusiasts; Diversified Independents

A variety of approaches to segmentation have been taken in the past

They vary in terms of methodology and by the variables used to differentiate groups

Rokken & Forrester provide the most complete view of our users

Research Participants’
trading experience
Participants  Pros Cons

Foolproof (2014)

None (7);
intermediate (5);
experienced (6)

UK, 22-65;
14 male, 4 female

Clear design implications

Small, narrow sample

Segments give limited information about users

Rokkan (2014)

Prospective traders (13);
current traders (30)

USA; UK; China

Segments clearly identifiable Segments give rich information about users

Small sample size

May overemphasize the role of age

GfK (2014)

Beginner; experienced


Large sample size

Segments clearly identifiable

Segments give limited information about users

Forrester (2008) users (448);
ex-demo users (465);
online investors (257);
potential online investors (242)

USA 90% male; mean age 36

Large sample size

Segments give rich information about users

Segments difficult to identify

Research done some time ago


The Foolproof and GfK segmentations are based on a single dimension and focus only on trading

The Rokkan and Forrester segmentations give a wider picture of users looking both at trading and at their wider lifestyles and values

The segmentations differ by the number of segments in each.

Research Segment description

Foolproof (2014)

Quick trader: Immediate trade based on news, tip; no analysis on platform

News focused: Trades based on news; seeks more news on platform

Market focused: Limited range of markets; uses news and charts

Charts focused: Not interested in news; uses charts to decide when to trade

Explorer: Explores and analyses markets based on news and charts

Rokkan (2014)

Ambitious, Tech-Savvy Millennial Novices: Competitive and confident, social media savvy; enjoy thrills, accept risk; little experience; limited product range; high service expectations

Realists: seek challenge; moderate risk; realistic success expectation; wide variety of markets; expect personalized service

GfK (2014)

Beginners: Little experience of online trading; seeking better ROI than investment; vary in how they use charts and news; many time pressured; variety of risk and confidence

Experienced: More experience of online trading; wider variety of products traded; older members may be less tech savvy

Special: Seek particular features and services (e.g. joint account for couple; advisory services for corporates)

Forrester (2008)

Ambitious Techies: Tech savvy; high consumption of online financial media; wide range of products; competitive and materialistic

DIY Currency Traders: Forex focused; chart based; low consumption of online financial media; low mobile usage

Realistic Enthusiasts: Seek challenges; ,mainly focused on forex; consider themselves informed, knowledgeable; not materialistic; independent

Diversified independents: Trade multiple products on multiple platforms; most don’t use demo; younger and more educated; not materialistic; independent


Experience levels are key variables in both the Rokkan and GfK segmentations

With the Foolproof and Forrester analyses there is a range of experience levels within each segment

Next: Secondary research - Literature review, media and analysis