Using Google Analytics to think like a customer
What is a “Buyer Persona”
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional quick overview of a customer. Personas come from segmenting your customers into smaller groups. Basically, by organising your users into different distinct groups, rather than throwing them all in together, you create multiple marketing and business development strategies to connect with them more closely. In context, people are expecting more personalised shopping experiences than ever before, and grouping your customers into “personas” is one important way to do that.
Location: Sunnydale, California
Job title: Vampire slayer and high school cheerleader
Education: High School
Income: Occasional $30 she snags from her mum’s purse. Oh and jewellery she steals and sells from demons she slays.
In Buffy’s line of work, she needs clothes that are durable and have pockets big enough to keep vampire-slaying weapons, but that also look cute enough for her to be in the running for Homecoming Queen. Finding retailers that do both is hard.
Ways they interact with company:
Casual browsing, but a quick decision-maker. Buffy doesn’t have time to waste
Gets fashion tips from big magazines that cater to women
Needs customer service that isn’t time-intensive - she never knows when the world will face the next apocalypse.
Why are buyer personas important?
Ok, so yes that buyer persona isn’t necessarily the best example of a real-life customer. But there’s a lot to learn by taking the time to think through your customer types (or use-cases if you are into that jargon).
At the core of it, creating buyer personas can help you understand:
Why someone would buy your stuff
Does your product line match the needs of their lifestyle? Do you solve a frequent problem they have? Are you a brand that suits their budget?
Bonus Read: How To Achieve Product-Market Fit
How to reach people who will buy your stuff
Where are your customers getting information? What do they read and who do they talk to? What are the points of contact you can have with them?
What people expect from your business
Are you offering service standards they are expecting? Are they expecting a highly involved or a minimal relationship? What other factors besides product do your customers demand? How conscious are they about social return, product quality or environmental sustainability?
What would make someone hesitant about buying your stuff
Do your customer frustrations come out when interacting with your company? Are you within their price range? Do they trust you based on factors you know about?
Creating a buyer persona using Google Analytics
Creating a buyer persona shouldn’t be reaching into thin air. In fact, that’s one of the great things about analytics tools like Google Analytics - they are meant to show you useful information that helps you figure out what to do next with your business.
Step 1: Create A New Segment
It’s time to pick out who’s on your team.
With Google Analytics, you can create a user segment based on:
- Demographics, such as age and gender
- Behaviour like whether they are first-timers or loyalists, and how much they’re rifling through your website
- Affinities or interests, based on other information Google has on them
- Devices they use to get to you - their phone, computer, tablet, sonic screwdriver…
- Channels they use to get to you, such as referrals, social media, particular sales channels, organic search, etc.
In your Google Analytics dashboard, from the Audience Overview panel, click the + sign next to New Users. You can then create a new segment and configure it using the above dimensions. The Audience panel will be your home base for understanding customers through Google Analytics.
First, take a look through your panel and see if anything jumps out at you. Are you getting a lot of #milennials who are buying? Do have a large number of people who have an affinity for sport that are taking interest? Is it that people who are first time users rarely convert, but those that come back to your site a few times within three months are likely to buy?
When you create a segment, you are choosing characteristics to add on top of each other. You’re building a persona that gets more and more specific the more characteristics you add.
Step 2: Who are your people? Add Affinity Characteristics and Demographic Info
Google Analytics, being a child of the All-Powerful Godfather Google, can tell you a whole lot about your customers from other information they collect about them. Under the demographics tab on the left, you will be able to see a breakdown of gender and age, overlaid with your conversion rates. This lets you see if men or women are purchasing more, and what age bracket brings in the most revenue (ie who your messaging should be targeted to).
You’ll also be able to check out “affinities” or interests, which lets you see what else your users like. This one might take a bit more manual labour, to group particular affinities into categories that are useful to you.
Step 3: Where did they come from? Add Information from Acquisitions Reports
Acquisition reports will tell you how your customers became your customers. You can find out what channels they used, what tech they’re using and what kinds of search tools they use to find your website.
For example, you might want to create a segment that shows users who come to your site from social media, and lay that on top of gender and/or age. This could give you insight as to what kinds of influencer or affiliate marketers might be good ones to contact.
Step 4: What are they doing on your site?
Next, hit the “Behaviour” tab and “Enhanced E-commerce” tab. This is where you will be able to narrow it down to people who interact with your site in a way you’re particularly interested in (ie conversion rates, page-view rates and other ways to see engagement.
You can also take a look at what people are searching for within your site, which can help you understand what they are looking for more generally and what kinds of marketing you need to do. There are cheap apps like Instant Search which will let you add a search bar for internal use, to be able to get these insights.
This can be helpful to separate between those who are really interested in your products and those that are just passing through. Creating a segment that starts with just the people who do a lot on your site, and seeing what their demographics and interests are, is one very productive way to see who to market to.
Step 5: Fill In Qualitative Info
It’s important to remember that just because it may appear that Women In Their Late 50’s have high conversion rates, you shouldn’t necessarily gear your entire business to them. These kinds of buyer personas can help you understand your customer groups better, but avoid being too narrow or else you could lose potential customers, too.
Another important part of developing customer personas is using qualitative information from actual customers to fill in the gaps. This can come from focus groups, surveys, interviews or other conversations with people who use your products.
We could do this all day
But a lot of our Shopify clients don’t want to. Too busy or overwhelmed to make customer personas using Google Analytics? Talk to us.