BrightHaus Digital Marketing Agency

Using Google Analytics to Develop Personas

July 4, 2016

Tracking visits and measuring increases in traffic, referrals, or conversions can be a testament to the success stories behind your digital marketing campaign. But even if webmasters see increases in web traffic and influxes of visits, these metrics still explain only part of the story that comprises your digital marketing strategy. While SEOs and social media marketers may have long focused on an increase in overall visibility, it is also critical for these marketing professionals to begin to understand the person behind the visit.

Getting to know the traits, characteristics, and interests of your users offers you an important chance to increase your conversion rate, test calls to action, and ultimately improve your bottom line. For a more exhaustive guide on personas in digital marketing, look no further than this brilliant piece on Moz. While there are a host of different tools that can help ascertain more about your user, Google Analytics also offers some intuitive data to let you begin scratching the surface. Below, we go over these features and how they might help you make your marketing matter.

Viewing Demographics in Analytics

Google’s ever-expanding network of products continues to grow everyday; from Google Search to Google AdWords, from Gmail to YouTube, Blogger to Maps, to Android devices and now even in the home on devices like Nest, Google has access to information that reaches nearly every aspect of our lives online. In collecting this data, Google’s Display Network, commonly used to retarget to visitors, collects a good amount of information on the way in which their ads display.

Personas in Analytics

Google Analytics now tries to give a bit back to webmasters and business owners looking to better understand their target customer. Viewing demographics information in Analytics requires only a small adjustment to the tracking code, but can lead to some powerful insights that may change the way in which you choose to market your website.

How to Setup Demographics Tracking In Analytics

The first thing you have to do get insight on the people visiting your site is to enable these reports in Analytics. Simply navigate to “Audience” in Analytics, and you’ll see the button for Demographics.

Enable Demographics in Analytics

Be careful to read through the screen you see here; in order to access this information, you are essentially requiring the user to surrender information that is collected for sites that use Google’s advertising products, and you may need to update your privacy policy or ensure that you’re adhering to Google’s privacy policy. Google will never share personally identifiable information; however, this gets us at least one step closer to understanding the characteristics that make up the visitors to your site on a macro level. The change in tracking code is a simple one; merely add this line to your Analytics snippet:

ga(‘require’, ‘displayfeatures’);

By requiring the Display Network ads information, this gives you the insight that you need to see things like inferred gender, age, and affinity metrics throughout the site. See it in action:

Age and Gender Demographics Screen in Analytics

Just looking at this site, for example, we can extract some pretty powerful insights that already help us start creating an image of what this visitor might look like. For one, we know the visitor is most likely a female between the ages of 25-34. This can drastically impact the way you’re marketing your website. Knowing that the target audience is primarily made up of females in that age range, marketers can then make more informed actionable recommendations on how to ensure your site appeals to those already visiting:

  • Does the messaging speak to a young professional females looking for career advice?
  • Are there images of women in this demographic on the site? Can the user imagine themselves as the target consumer?

Making these connections is an important next step in growing your marketing from clicks to conversions.

Affinity Signals

In addition to learning some concrete information about the inferred age and gender of those visiting your site, the affinity signals also provide some really clear indications of how to better market and better reach the users who are already visiting your site. Affinity signals show some interesting information, including user interests and in-market info to help better qualify visitors.

Affinity Signals in Google Analytics

These affinity signals, coupled with the age and demographic information referenced earlier, offer ways to further connect the dots and begin sketching a more complete image of the visitor. Now, we can begin to say that the target visitor is likely to be a female (66%) in her mid-twenties to early-thirties (30%) who likes TV, entertainment, arts, and has been looking a lot at jobs and education. This makes sense. We now understand that the target customer is a woman looking to begin her career as a young professional, and probably scouring resources online interspersed with regular visits to Hulu or entertainment blogs as the job search continues.

So what do we do with this? Making actionable recommendations based on further information on your site’s target visitor allows marketers to really take their content strategy and marketing nous to the next level.

Entice the visitor to your site by creating content designed to appeal to this demographic; for instance, write blog pieces about strong women in the workplace on TV. The blog piece could be entertaining and thought-provoking, all while establishing an affinity with your target user, and creating a compelling call to action for the site’s core conversion metric: In this case, a sign-up for further information on career education. Do you have any recommendations on how to market to the personas visiting your site? Have you discovered any shocking insights about your target demographic? Let us know in the comments below!

For more information on bringing some light to your digital marketing strategy, contact us today.

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