Automatic Persona Generation Data-Driven Personas Persona Creation Persona Design Persona Development Personas Use of Personas User Personas

How suitable are artificially generated facial pictures in data-driven personas?

In a previous post, we analyzed the demographic Bias in Artificially Generated Facial Pictures that raised a concern that the generated images might not fairly represent all demographic groups.

In this post, we discuss if these artificially generated pictures are good enough for use in personas profiles for real-world systems and applications,  which are highly dependent on images for the personas. One of the key aspects of generating personas using a data-driven approach is to be able to represent the persona profile with a matching picture.

Personas Use of Personas Value of personas

Are personas actually useful?

I hear this question a lot. It’s kind of an annoying question, like asking:

  • “is analytics useful?”, or
  • “is marketing useful?”.

Or, most importantly: “Is customer understanding useful?”

Personas are just a tool. It’s their use that creates (or doesn’t create) the value, just like with analytics or marketing.

Personas Use Case Personas Use of Personas Value of personas

Personas’ Value in Use: “Personas + x”


with this post, I want to draw your attention to one important thing:

personas, without ‘x’, are useless.

What does ‘x’ mean? The ‘x’ is the thing or activity you couple personas with.

If you just create personas, but don’t use them with a scenario, goal, or mission, they are useless. You have then achieved so-called desk-drawer personas; nice to look at, but utterly useless to the company you’re working with.

Therefore, the recipe to success with personas is:

personas + x,

where x =

Personas Use of Personas

Usefulness of personas (a quick note)

Here’s a very brief note about the concept of ‘usefulness’ regarding personas.

Usefulness of personas is tied to the (a) use case for which the persona is applied, which can be partially inherited from (b) domain (industry: e.g., in e-commerce some different persona information is needed than in journalism) and (c) job role (strategic / operational).

Therefore, dimensions for ‘usefulness’ in personas:

  • use case
  • industry
  • job role

Should be considered when trying to understand / measure persona usefulness.

Jansen, B. J., Salminen, J., and Jung, S.G. (2020) Data-Driven Personas for Enhanced User Understanding: Combining Empathy with Rationality for Better Insights to AnalyticsData and Information Management. 4(1), 1-17.

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Advertising Personas Marketing Personas Personas Use of Personas

How can I use a persona for advertising?

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”.

More articles on persona use cases

Jansen, B. J., Salminen, J., and Jung, S.G. (2020) Data-Driven Personas for Enhanced User Understanding: Combining Empathy with Rationality for Better Insights to AnalyticsData and Information Management. 4(1), 1-17.