How To Use Analytics Data To Build Your Guest Personas

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /
Posted on May 14th 2014

Engaging with your audience is all about knowing your audience. By using data drawn from Google Analytics, you can find out the key information you need to create strong guest personas for your social media audience, helping you formulate content that is more relevant, more valuable and more engaging.

Want to get started? Here are 4 simple steps.

1: Analyze Your Site’s Traffic by Keyword

To start, open Google Analytics, click on the Acquisition section, then select All Traffic > Google/Organic and make sure the Secondary Dimension is set to Keyword.

You can now see some of the keyword searches that have driven traffic to your property’s website over a fairly long period of time. Over the last few years, Google has gradually started withholding more and more of this keyword data, but you can still gather enough info here to get started.

Copy and paste the list into a spreadsheet so it’s easy to edit.

2: Identify Common Themes

Examine the keywords on your spreadsheet and sort them into groups based on common themes – you might notice many of the keywords refer to budget or price for example, or perhaps there’s a clear group which is related to accommodation near a famous local attraction or activity.

When you’ve created these categories, some ideas should start to emerge about the types of people that are likely to be searching for these key terms. Using these broad categories as a basis, you can start asking yourself relevant questions to draw up a more detailed representation of your guests.

Now start working on a list of guest personas, such as “families looking for budget accommodation for the school holidays.”

These are the beginnings of your guest personas.

3: Refine Guest Personas by Social Platform

Once you have a rough outline of who’s out there looking for you, it’s time to create more finely refined guest personas for each social media platform your property has an active presence on.

Return to Google Analytics, go to Acquisition> All Referrals, then select Second Dimension and click on Landing Page. Like before, you can copy this data into a spreadsheet and sort the landing pages into categories – this time by social channel – to identify the type of content that generates the best engagement rates with your audience on each social media site.

The patterns you notice here may give you some valuable insights that will help you refine your strategies on each network. For instance, if you find that Facebook tends to bring in a lot of traffic that heads straight for your Specials/Deals page, you may begin promoting these special offers more aggressively on the platform to maximise the effect.

4: Zero-In On Your Guests’ Interests

It’s possible to focus in on your guest personas even more – simply by listening-in to how your audience behaves and talks (especially about themselves) on social media.

If your property is active on Twitter, you’ll find the site’s own, often overlooked, Analytics tool provides valuable insights into the brands and topics that interest your followers, while Facebook’s Graph Search can be used to run queries like “other pages liked by fans of (your property’s page).”

The more you can find out about your guests’ likes and interests, the more personal, and more effective, you can make your campaigns across all platforms.

When your guests feel that you genuinely understand their wants and needs, they’ll pay more attention to what you have to say. Better yet, they’ll be more likely to engage with your posts, which means more organic reach to their wider social network, a bigger audience, and more bookings.

What do you think? Have you tried using Analytics data to develop stronger guest personas and boost your social media campaigns? Is it something you would try in the future? Let us know in the comments below!


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