Are personas done? Evaluating their usefulness in the age of digital analytics

Joni Salminen, Bernard J. Jansen, Jisun An, Haewoon Kwak, Soon-gyo Jung

Abstract


In this critique, we conceptually examine the use of personas in an age of availability of large-scale online analytics data. Based on the criticism and benefits outlined in prior work, we formulate the major arguments for and against the use of personas, analyze these arguments, and demonstrate areas for the productive employment of personas by leveraging digital analytics data in their creation. From our review of the prior literature and the given availability of online customer data, our key tenet is that personas are located between aggregated and individual statistics. At their best, personas capture the coverage of the customer base attributed to aggregated data representations while retaining the interpretability of individual-level analytics. Persona creation benefits from both novel computational techniques and data sources. To demonstrate this, we propose and implement automatically generated personas primarily based on quantitative data. We also review key persona validation issues and examine how these issues can be addressed with automated persona generation using real user data from online analytics platforms. Finally, we outline areas of future research in the persona domain within the field of digital marketing and advertising. Overall, to survive in the rapidly developing marketing industry and online customer analytics, personas must evolve by adopting new practices. There are implications for this evolution of personas in a variety of domains, including design, content creation, and digital marketing.


Keywords


Data-Driven Personas, Digital Analytics, Customer Insights, Digital Marketing, Marketing Automation

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21153/psj2018vol4no2art737

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