How to Create Buyer Personas With Google Analytics

social media how toDo you want to learn more about your social media followers?

Have you created social media buyer personas?

You have to know your audience before you can serve them on social media.

In this article I’ll show you how to create buyer personas for your social media audience using Google Analytics.

Why Buyer Personas?

A buyer persona goes beyond the definition of your target audience. You use them to create fictional identities that represent people within your target audience who share similarities.

landing pages report in google analytics

Use Analytics data to find information you need to create your buyer personas.

With solid buyer personas informing your social media messaging, you can formulate content to better target your audience’s interests and concerns. This will in turn make for a more engaged audience.

You can find a lot of information about your brand’s online audience in the search data from your website’s analytics.

Here’s how to build buyer personas with Google Analytics.

#1: Research Your Website Traffic by Keyword

Begin by opening up Google Analytics, then go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Google/Organic and set the Secondary Dimension to Keyword.

find keyword traffic in google analytics

Go into Google Analytics to find your keyword traffic.

This shows you the keyword searches that bring visitors to your site over a relatively long time period.

While the vast majority of the referring keywords will be “not provided,” the remaining data will be enough to get you started.

organic keywords in google analytics

Here is an example of top organic keywords displayed in Google Analytics.

Copy the list into a spreadsheet so you can edit it.

#2: Find User Similarities in Search Traffic

Sort through the keywords in your spreadsheet and group them into themes or categories.

For example, if you market sporting goods, you might divide the keywords into categories such as clothing, footwear, balls and other equipment. You might also have categories for location-specific searches or sports-related questions.

istock 17613452 searching man

After you determine which keywords send customers to your website, imagine what types of people are searching for them. Image: iStockPhoto.

Once you’ve created the categories, use them to determine what types of people are searching for these terms. Use the information you have to find the right questions to ask yourself to come up with accurate representations of your customers.

Make a list of personas such as “serious runners interested in buying sneakers locally for under $100,” or “beginners thinking about getting into mountain climbing.”

These are your rough buyer personas.

#3: Refine Buyer Personas by Social Channel

Now that your personas have been roughly defined, use the referral traffic data from Analytics to create prototypical audience members for each of your social media channels.

Back in Google Analytics, go to Acquisition > All Referrals. Choose Second Dimension and click on Landing Page.

social stats in google analytics

Find out what content your readers like by social media channel.

Download this data into a spreadsheet and group the landing pages by social channel so you can determine which kind of content resonates best with the followers from each social media channel.

istock 20418222 listening

Who is listening to you? Where are they? Image: iStockPhoto.

The patterns and preferences you find will help you create a sharpened buyer persona for each social network your brand manages a presence on.

For example, a restaurant might find that Facebook refers more people looking for reservations and that Twitter refers more people looking for daily specials.

With that information, the restaurant can install a custom reservations tab on their Facebook page to better serve their existing customers and begin promoting their lunch specials on Twitter to bring in new customers.

#4: Fill Out Social Details for Your Personas

You can take things a step further and beef up your personas by looking at how your fans and followers on social media describe themselves to see if you can spot any patterns.

Twitter’s native Analytics provides relevant insights, especially from the Your Followers Also Follow and Interests sections.

twitter interests data

Using the often-overlooked Twitter Analytics module, you can learn what topics (other than those directly related to your brand) are popular with your followers.

Followerwonk will pull common keywords from your followers’ Twitter bios.

On Facebook, you can use Graph Search to learn more about the interests of your fans by running queries such as “pages liked by fans of [your business page]”.

Examine the smaller social media sites your audience frequents—for example, Behance, Empire Avenue, TripAdvisor, OpenForum or Quora—to help you further narrow down their interests.

For example, people who spend time on Q&A sites are likely to enjoy information written by experts, while those who like photo sharing social networks will look for content rich in images.

istock 2850391 persona

Use social media buyer personas to zero in on your customers’ interests. Image: iStockPhoto.

The more information you compile for your buyer personas, the more personal you can make your messaging, content and outreach.

Over to You

Follow the steps above and you’ll learn more about your social media audiences and maximize the business impact of your social marketing.

Once you know what your social media audience searches for, you can adjust the content you create and your messaging so they match the interests of each social media channel’s buyer persona.

Better understanding through data analysis is what lets you do this, and the potential rewards are huge. When the members of your community feel that you understand them and have a knack for addressing their needs, they’ll pay more attention to what you have to say. They’ll also interact more with your posts. This means more organic reach to like-minded people, which will drive more business.

Use the information available to you on Google Analytics to learn more about your audience and serve your customers better on social media.

What do you think? What tools and techniques are you using to learn more about your social media audience? Share your suggestions and comments in the box below.

Images from iStockPhoto.

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About the Author, Ben Jacobson

Ben oversees new media marketing and at Action Packed Media, a boutique managed service agency based in Israel. Action Packed Media also offer subscription-based email marketing solutions via ManagedForMimi.com. Other posts by »




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  • Susan

    Keywords are not available in the Secondary Dimension??

  • Pingback: Marketing Day: Mobile Video Ads Rising, Facebook Launches Audience Insights Tool & More()

  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    Buyer personas are crucial for your business in that they enable you to prevent common design and development pitfalls, such as making decisions based on assumptions or designing a product based on the mental model of someone who doesn’t fall into your target group. Buyer personas allow you to create solutions and prioritize product features according to the needs of each buyer.

  • treb072410

    Great information, thanks for sharing..

  • http://www.jessemcfarlane.com Jesse McFarlane

    Demographics and Interests reports in Universal GA are also useful for this process.

  • http://about.me/osbennn Ben Jacobson

    Glad you found it helpful!

  • http://about.me/osbennn Ben Jacobson

    Good point, Jesse – especially in the age of “(not provided)”!

  • http://about.me/osbennn Ben Jacobson

    Thanks for reaching out, Susan. My thinking was that correlating keywords with landing pages would be the most effective way to determine “intent” – a key factor for understanding personas and their various stages in the decision making process.

  • Ralph

    One of the more insightful reads on Social Media in a while. Thanks for putting this together.

  • Haley

    How would you define a competitor from a band perspective? Someone who is similarly trying to gain followers or someone you want to model after?









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