Tips on Identifying Persona Types by Their Web Behavior

Sep 07, 2016 | 3  min
author Bonnie Horner

Identifying persona types is a lot like buying gifts – it can be a daunting task and cause a lot of pressure! For example, I’ve been married for four years, and I haven’t always hit a home­run when it comes to buying presents for my wife. I’ll confess that in the beginning, I bought her things that I liked, which explains why she received a really nice rod and reel on Valentine’s Day (in my defense, it was made with graphite). It took time and effort to learn what gifts would mean the most to her and to stop assuming she’d like the same things I did.

When it comes to marketing, we often do the same thing. Our Facebook posts reflect our sense of humor, we write copy the way we speak, and we design web pages to fit our tastes. But reaching your audience effectively is about finding out exactly who they are and what they will respond to. To master these details, it’s crucial that marketers develop personas, or fictional profiles of your ideal customer. There are several methods to research your customers—web analytics, interviews, polls, etc. In this blog, we’ll dive into identifying persona types by their web behavior.

1.) Social Media: Resist the urge to share that meme.

I live by the rule, “With every post, a purpose”. What that means is that your followers are constantly inundated with cat videos, invites to expand their digital farm empires and photos of their best friend’s baby. Social media can be a crowded room, and you can’t afford to send blind messages that aren’t strategic.

Instead, embrace Facebook and Twitter’s outstanding social analytics. Start building your personas by looking at the median age of your followers, where they live, what time they’re engaging with your page, and what content gains the most traction. Twitter gets even more detailed with their analytics by offering up your followers’ favorite TV genres, political party affiliation and their top consumer goods (Fun fact: 60% of Pyxl followers like cheese the most). Once you know who you’re trying to reach, test out different forms of media and see what clicks. Want to learn more? Check out this article that can help you decide when to post your content.

2.) Website forms: If you want the info, just ask.

After the fishing rod gift turned more into jerkbait, I realized that I didn’t get her the gift she wanted because I simply didn’t ask her. Don’t be afraid to start the conversation with your personas. If you’re embracing inbound marketing, you know that a good landing page has a good form. Add incentives for visitors to share their personal information by keeping form fields concise and by offering a free eBook, webinar, discount or other content they may find valuable. Keep in mind that the better the incentive, the more likely someone is to complete the form. Put your visitors at ease by letting them know you won’t sell their information to third parties or spam them, but instead you just want to get to know them better, so you can more appropriately meet their needs.

3: Google Analytics: The “PG” version of cyberstalking.

A tool that not all brands use (but should!) is Google Analytics. It’s not as user friendly as forms or Facebook and Twitter reports, but it can provide an overwhelming amount of information and only requires some basic coding knowledge. With the proper code added to the backend of your website, you can attach identifying characteristics, like age, gender and location, to the people who visit your site the most.

You can then identify themes such as which age group is watching videos vs. reading content, if more males or females are coming to your site from Google searches or what regions of the country are interacting the most with your brand online. Study these trends to create your fictional profiles (For example, “Millennial Megan is an urban dweller who does most of her shopping online and is quick to leave a website if it’s too hard to navigate on her iPhone”). Interested in Google Analytics, but need to learn more? Check out Google’s free Analytics Academy.

With these tips, you’re well on your way to developing buyer personas and fine-­tuning your marketing message. Note that it doesn’t take extensive work to identify persona types, you just have to take the time to listen and study their behavior, which is why my wife now enjoys her shiny new Kindle (while I put that graphite­ reinforced rod and reel to good use).

If you feel like you could use more insight into building buyer personas, we’re happy to help. Just drop us a line!

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

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