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How APG Assigns a Name to a Data-Driven Persona

The following is a post from the APG Team’s summer 2020 intern, Jaad Mohammed.

If you ever thought how the APG system assigns a name to a data-driven persona, you’ve come to the right place.

Since personas are representations of a typical user segment for a product’s current customer base, the persona needs a name! Nothing could make a persona feel more like a real person than giving it a name.

Below, we walk you through basics of what APG does to create a persona and to assign a name to the persona profile.

First and foremost, we need some kind of statistical data that our persona represents. For this, APG leverages privacy-preserving aggregated data of user interactions with product content posted on major online social media and other analytics platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Google Analytics, etc. [1].

Now with this data APG implements a sequential approach to automatically generate personas that consists:

  • Identifying the distinct user interaction patterns from the data set,
  • Linking these distinct user interaction patterns to the set of user demographic groups,
  • Identifying impactful user demographic groups from the data set,
  • Creating shell personas via demographic attributes, and
  • Enriching these shell personas to create detailed persona descriptions.
APG persona creation flowchart
APG persona creation flowchart

To get a more detailed understanding of our process, you can head over to [2]

Now that we have gathered the bases for the creation of persona (i.e., base persona), we can add personality to it by giving it a name.

We have built a dictionary of names by collecting popular names by gender and year of countries.  For example, the top 1,000 popular baby names any year since 1879 ( is available for the US. Then, through age group, gender, and location of a representative group, we can assign a temporal, gender, and ethnically appropriate name to a persona.

For example, for a 25-year-old female from India, APG can access common baby names for Indian females born twenty-five years ago and use that information for naming the persona.

APG is automatically this whole name assignment process even further!


By Jim Jansen

Dr. Jansen is a Principal Scientist in the social computing group of the Qatar Computing Research Institute, and a professor with the College of Science and Engineering, Hamad bin Khalifa University, and an adjunct professor with the College of Information Sciences and Technology at The Pennsylvania State University. He is a graduate of West Point and has a Ph.D. in computer science from Texas A&M University, along with master degrees from Texas A&M (computer science) and Troy State (international relations). Dr. Jim Jansen served in the U.S. Army as an Infantry enlisted soldier and communication commissioned officer.