Society changes at a rapid pace, and if marketers want to stay at the top of their field, they will need to keep their fingers on the pulse of that change. Often they will create costly, time-consuming ‘personas’ to accomplish this. According to new research from Pennsylvania State University, computers might relieve marketers of that burden.
In a study coming out of Penn State, information scientists developed a technology that uses computers to analyze information from social media accounts to automatically build what are known as a ‘marketing personas.’
According to Prof. James Jansen, marketing personas are used to help guide marketers amidst a virtual sea of data so that they can know as much as possible about trends among potential or existing customers. Jansen noted that we often have to use numbers to make our decisions, and these figures often come in high quantity and complexity.
Personas have been proposed and implemented in many places, but they are not easy to create, so researchers endeavored to automate the process of condensing marketing data into a virtual person.
Marketing personas are manually created using by using an aggregate of data from focus groups, surveys, and ethnographic data. These personas help marketers find target audiences for their content or products. This process is incredibly time-consuming, however, and the study showed that computers can create these personas in real time and can keep them updated as conditions and demographics change, all at a lower cost than it would be if they were created manually.A marketing persona is manually created using by using an aggregate of data from focus groups, surveys, and ethnographic data.Click To Tweet
The researchers used algorithms to analyze the available data from 188,000 subscribers of a news website. The data included subscribers’ YouTube profiles so that the algorithms could gather demographic information on subscribers as well as their interactions with videos on the site. Using this data, the algorithms could identify how communities were interacting with their content, including what topics contained the most viewed content.
The algorithms provided information that would allow content creators to quickly fine-tune their personas to help them target where they should be focusing their attention.
A Versatile Tool for Companies
The study used YouTube to test the technology, but researchers say that it can be scaled to use other types of social media for the purpose of persona creation. This opens the door for the technology to be used for more than just news websites. After all, businesses and entertainment outlets benefit from personas as well.
The technology can be used to analyze consumer behavior, meaning that it can take what people are buying in consideration when forming or updating a marketing persona. Companies base their decisions on the information that they have at hand, so when they are trying to profile their target audience, having the most current data can be a critical factor in their success.
Many have noticed that their social media feeds are filled with advertisements that fit their interests, and with the technology produced by this new research from Penn State, we can expect to see this trend flourish in the marketing community. With any luck, this means that more people are going to have an easier time finding what they want to hear, see, or buy.