Advertising is often considered to have four main functions: (a) targeting, i.e., selecting whom the marketing messages are sent to, (b) message creation, i.e., copywriting, which referes to creating ads and other marketing communications that are customized for the selected target group(s), (c) channel selection, i.e., deciding which mediums to use in order to reach the target group(s), and (d) reporting, i.e., analyzing the results of an advertising campaign.
When it comes to advertising, personas can help in all of the above advertising functions. For example, you can use personas in targeting, to select the customers who receive your company’s marketing messages. Moreover, personas can also be used for message creation – ideally, personas result in more personal ad copy texts that are resonating well with the target audience that the persona represents. Similarly, by knowing in which channels the persona most spends his or her time, you can choose the appropriate channels for advertising strategy. Finally, you can report the results by persona, e.g., “Mary was the most recipient to our new campaign on Dinner in the Dark products, while David most enjoyed the Flight experience campaign”.
Personas provide alternative to numbers. Therefore, you can use personas to present your online analytics data as people instead of nameless, faceless target groups. This can help decision makers to “get into the shoes” of customers, offering a more immersive understanding of the customers than the “cold”, raw numbers.
When it comes to using personas for marketing, personas are most often used in targeting, i.e., selecting people who are to receive the company’s marketing messages. However, personas can also be used for copywriting – ideally, personas result in more personal ad copy texts that are better resonating with the target audience that the persona represents. Finally, personas can be used for market research, so that you segment the overall market (or customer base) not as nameless, faceless target groups but as personas with names and individualized attributes. This can improve the customer-centric decision making of your company.
Using personas for UX design means considering the needs of the users that the persona represents to design products (e.g., websites) such that their user experience for those users is optimized. For example, a persona can be someone who is technically sophisticated, elderly or has disabilities, which means that the design needs to consider accessibility from the persona’s point of view.
Personas and Scenarios as a Methodology for Information Sciences is an interesting research article that describes the use of personas, along with scenarios, as a methodology common in many domains. The article than makes the case for the use of personas in information science research, which is interesting.
The article presents a quick review of the strengths and weaknesses of personas and also presents a case study of the approach.
I found the article interesting in that data-driven personas, like those developed via APG, can be great research foundations.
Full article: Singh, Vandana. Personas and Scenarios as a Methodology for Information Sciences. Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries, 7(1), 123-134. Available at: .
In this perspective manuscript, my co-authors and I propose an approach of employing personas as an alternative form of making large volumes of online user analytics information useful to end users of the user and customer analytics, with results applicable in software development, business sectors, communication industry, and other domains where understanding online user behavior is deemed important.
Toward this end, we have developed a system that automatically generates data-driven Personas from social media and online analytics data, capable of handling hundreds of millions of user interactions from tens of thousands of pieces of content on YouTube, Facebook and Google Analytics, while retaining the privacy of individual users of those channels.
Our approach (1) identifies and prioritizes user segments by their online behavior, (2) associates the segments with demographic data, and (3) creates rich persona profiles by dynamically adding characteristics, such as names, photos, and descriptive quotes.
Salminen, J., Jansen, B. J., An, J., Kwak, H. and Jung, S. G. (2018) Data-driven Personas in the Age of Online Analytics and Social Media. Personas: User Focused Design. 1, 1, Article 1, 135-160.
In this research, we propose a novel approach for isolating customer segments using online customer data for products that are distributed via online social media platforms. We use non-negative matrix factorization to ﬁrst identify behavioral customer segments and then to identify demographic customer segments.
We employ a methodology for linking the two segments to present integrated and holistic customer segments, also known as personas. Behavioral segments are generated from customer interactions with online content. Demographic segments are generated using the gender, age, and location of these customers.
In addition to evaluating our approach, we demonstrate its practicality via a system leveraging these customer segments to automatically generate personas, which are ﬁctional but accurate representations of each integrated behavioral and demographic segment.
Results show that this approach can accurately identify both behavioral and demographical customer segments using actual online customer data from which we can generate personas representing real groups of people.
An, J., Kwak, H., Salminen, J., Jung, S.G., and Jansen, B. J. (2018) Customer segmentation using online platforms: isolating behavioral and demographic segments for persona creation via aggregated user data, Social Network Analysis and Mining. 8(1), 54.