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Create buyer personas using Google Analytics (GA4)

Learn two best ways to create buyer personas using Google Analytics data (GA4): Manual process using reports & Automatic generation using Persona by Delve AI.
16 Min Read    |   April 13, 2024
Available in: Espanol | French | Italian

Table Of Contents

    Every marketer worth their salt knows what buyer personas are: archetypes of ideal customers based on qualitative and quantitative data. They are typically created through user surveys, interviews, and focus groups.

    However, such methods are expensive and time consuming, representing only a small section of your entire consumer base.

    On the other hand, quantitative methods such as web analytics and statistics are more cost-efficient. And what better analytics tool is there than Google Analytics?

    With over 32 million website owners using Google Analytics to understand how people reach their sites, assess content performance, and optimize for conversions, it stands out as one of the best tools for analyzing online customer behavior and interactions.

    The platform offers detailed reports based on behavioral data collected from websites and apps (where GA4 tracking code is implemented). Insights from these reports can be used to develop buyer personas.

    Our article explores two ways in which you can use Google Analytics data to create buyer personas:

    • Manually by using Google Analytics reports
    • Automatically by integrating Google Analytics with Delve AI

    No matter which method you choose; creating buyer personas using Google Analytics (GA4) enables you to build relevant personas and discover market segments or niches that were previously unknown.

    Why use buyer personas in marketing?

    Most people know that personas are built through intense qualitative and quantitative research, which results in effective customer personas.

    Well-built personas consequently give you inputs on user demographics, goals, challenges, needs, motivations, jobs to be done, emotions and personality traits.

    Not only do they help you empathize with your buyers’ but also bridge communication gaps, empowering you to:

    • Optimize marketing campaigns
    • Create informative and actionable content
    • Develop new products, features, and services
    • Find the best marketing platforms and communication channels
    • Increase brand awareness and engagement
    • Buyer persona uses in marketing

    When used along with customer journeys, personas enable you to identify user drop-offs and touchpoints. You can then reach out to them on platforms they are most active on and provide content that guides them through purchase.

    Some might think that persona creation is challenging; but it is not. In fact, everything boils down to just three simple steps:

    1. Know your customers
    2. Segment your audience
    3. Develop buyer profiles

    Let’s break down each of these steps.

    Know your customers

    Many times, we assume we know our marketing audience. But do we really? Without information directly gathered from them, it's impossible to be certain about anything.

    Companies waste 37% of their marketing budget because they don't know their customers well. The trial-and-error method is great, yet it will demand resources that you don’t always have.

    This calls for the need to thoroughly analyze your prospects with qualitative and quantitative data.

    Qualitative research helps you understand their goals, challenges, opinions, along with the factors that influence purchase decisions. It can include one-on-one calls, surveys, interviews, observations, and focus group discussions.

    Contrarily, quantitative research provides numerical insights through statistical analysis using data from tools like Google Analytics. Numbers that answer the how, what, and when questions about your users accurately.

    Segment your audience

    After gathering raw data about present and future prospects, start looking for similarities and differences.

    Group individuals based on common attributes such as demographics, behavior, interests, hobbies, pain points, job status, ambitions (personal and professional), purchasing power, and communication preferences.

    You might end up with as little as one or as many as five customer segments; they will contribute to the development of your ideal customer profile.

    Develop buyer profiles

    Buyer personas will be the culmination of all your hard work. You just need to identify your most important customer segments, determine who they are, what they need, and how much they are willing to spend on your product or service.

    Many persona tools and templates are available online to help you.

    Once you have filled in all the data and built a customer profile, give it a name, profile picture, and background to create a persona.

    Creating personas is as simple as that. However, they will be useless unless you use them in your marketing, sales, and product development strategies. The better they are, the more personalized your messaging and outreach campaigns can become.

    Key audience reports in Google Analytics (GA4)

    Google Analytics has been updated multiple times since its inception and is currently in its fourth version – GA4.

    It has recently replaced Universal Analytics (UA), bringing with it a list of new features and updates that gives marketers the ability to understand the types of actions people take on a particular website or app.

    Updates aside, Google Analytics reports cover a wide range of aspects, like demographics, acquisitions, engagement, traffic sources, customer journeys, conversions, keywords, and more.

    That said, here is a list of Google Analytics reports that you can use to manually create a buyer persona for your business.

    User reports

    The User reports in GA4 will tell you all about your website visitors and app users, such as their age, gender, location, language preferences, and interests, and the technology they use.

    You can access this information at: User > User attributes > Overview.

    Google Analytics user reports overview

    The reports in the User tab also let you check out the platforms, devices, device models, screen sizes, operating systems, and app versions used at: User > Tech > Overview.

    Google Analytics user reports tech overview

    You can incorporate secondary dimensions and/or filters to design customized funnels to further segment and interpret your audiences.

    Acquisition reports

    Acquisition reports in GA4 (both User and Traffic acquisition) show you top of the funnel activity, that is, the marketing channels through which prospective customers first get to your website.

    Reports are also available on the number of clicks, costs, conversions, and revenue generated by different marketing campaigns.

    Google Analytics acquisition reports overview

    However, you will need to connect your Google Ads and Search Console accounts with Google Analytics to access revenue and search-related data, such as keywords, queries, and landing pages.

    It will help you spot your best-performing traffic sources and ensure that paid campaigns are contributing to revenue.

    Engagement reports

    Engagement reports let you analyze how users interact with your website content, providing insights into page views, screen views per user, engagement time, events, and conversions categorized by event names.

    Simply go to: Engagement > Overview > Pages and screens.

    Google Analytics engagement reports pages and screens

    Additionally, you can monitor your landing pages at: Engagement > Overview > Landing page.

    This little exercise helps you understand what buyers are searching for when they land on your site (add a secondary dimension "Landing page + query string"), along with the type of content they are attracted to.

    You can find an overview of all your conversions under the same tab: Engagement > Conversions.

    Google Analytics engagement reports conversions

    Create events specific to your website or use the predefined ones set up by the GA4 system. Once you click on any one of them, you'll be able to see which sources, mediums, and campaigns are driving the most conversions.

    Monetisation reports

    It is always a good idea to know which products are contributing to the revenue of your website and app. Such information can be found in GA4 Monetization reports.

    Google Analytics monetization reports overview

    Use the reports under this tab to analyze the performance of specific products, including their price, number of items added to cart, number of units sold, and revenue generated.

    Just click on Monetisation > Ecommerce purchases to see which campaigns, channels, and keywords drove the most revenue for your ecommerce website.

    Google Analytics monetization reports ecommerce purchases

    You can also check out in-app product performance at: Monetisation > In-app purchases. This will empower you to make decisions about your products, pricing strategies, and marketing plans.

    Steps to create buyer personas using Google Analytics reports manually

    Now that you have a fair idea of the different Google Analytics reports, let’s learn how to combine and use the attributes they provide for building a buyer persona.

    Remember, the screenshots and data given below are for illustrative purposes only, pulled from the Google Analytics demo account.

    Step 1: Enable Demographics and Interests reports in Google Analytics

    Demographics and Interests reports provide the foundational information needed to structure your buyer personas. So, it's essential to enable them in Google Analytics if you haven't already done so.

    Anyway, follow these steps to enable Demographics and Interests reports in GA4 (it’s slightly different from Universal Analytics).

    • Sign in to your Google Analytics 4 account
    • Navigate to Admin > Property > Data Settings > Data Collection
    • Select Get started in the "Enable Google signals data collection" option
    • Click Continue after you are redirected to the "Activate Google Signals" page
    • Activate for Google Analytics to start collecting demographics and interest data

    In addition, you can connect your Google Search Console account by navigating to Admin > Product links > Search Console links to access organic search and keyword-related information.

    Step 2: Get analytics data

    Once you have enabled Google Analytics reports, connected your data sources, and started pulling information from your website, it’s time to create customer personas.

    Simply log in to your Analytics account and select the property (website or app) you want to create personas for. Opt for a time period of six months to a year; the more extensive the data, the better it is for building personas.

    Google Analytics comes with a number of predefined sets that makes this easy.

    To set the data range, use the date range selector located at the top right corner of your Analytics dashboard (we will be setting it for the last 12 months).

    Google Analytics date range selector

    Once you have selected the time period you want to create personas for, move on to selecting the core attributes that will form the basis of your buyer personas.

    Businesses usually develop more than one customer persona, so try to generate reports based on multiple metrics and segment criteria so that you can create several personas under distinct customer types.

    Businesses typically develop more than one customer persona. So try to generate reports based on different metrics and segment criteria. This approach will allow you to create distinct personas representing different customer types.

    Step 3: Know key elements and data sources

    Create an outline of the core components needed to define your buyer personas. Here is an initial list of such features, along with the Google Analytics reports that provide said information.

    Demographics

    Important demographic elements and details can be found under: User > User attributes > Demographic details > Age/Gender/Language.

    In the Demographics reports, you can simultaneously view user distribution based on age, gender, and language. It will help you identify your top-performing demographic segments.

    Click on Demographic details > Age report to compare variations across age groups in terms of key performance metrics like total number of users, engagement rate, events, conversions, and revenue.

    Google Analytics user reports age range

    Similarly, the Demographics > Overview > Gender reports help you determine the best performing gender for your business.

    Google Analytics user reports gender

    From the reports generated so far, we can see that our persona is shaping out to be a male user belonging to the 25-34 age category. You can validate this by clicking on Demographics > Overview > Gender report and adding Demographics > Age dimension.

    Google Analytics user reports age and gender

    You can also segment users by the language they use in Demographics > Overview > Language. Here, we see that a majority of our website visitors use English.

    Google Analytics user reports language

    On a different note, GA4 does not list languages as per their ISO codes, which used to be displayed in the Universal Analytics version.

    Location

    Similarly, the Country report allows you to check out the top countries your users are from. It can be viewed under: User > User attributes > Demographic details > Country.

    Google Analytics user reports country

    To analyze the top-performing regions or cities, go to: User > User attributes > Demographic details > Region/City. Filter this report by country or add a secondary dimension reflecting the same.

    Google Analytics user reports region and city

    Sometimes the city might not match the region. In this case, we see that while the top region is California, the top city is New York.

    Interests

    Once you have identified the age and gender of your ideal customers, you can find their interests at: User > User attributes > Demographic details > Interests.

    Set the filters to Gender > Male and Age > 25-34 (you can also include country and language) to discover what they are interested in.

    Google Analytics user reports interests

    While this report may not be very specific, it will provide insights into the general topics your customers search. As the screenshot indicates, this user segment seems to like technology, travel, and finance.

    Sadly, GA4 does not offer Other Category and In-Market Segment reports. So you cannot get details about users' lifestyle and purchase interests as you did with Universal Analytics.

    Technology

    You can find information related to user platforms, browsers, devices, device models, operating systems, and more under Technology reports.

    Click on Tech > Overview in the User tab to access this data. The reports will help you identify and analyze the devices, platforms, and browsers for which you must optimize your marketing content and website structure.

    Marketing channels

    It is important to determine the primary sources of your user traffic, whether it be through organic search, social media, paid advertising, or email marketing.

    You can find this data in the Traffic Acquisition report under the Acquisition tab.

    Google Analytics acquisition reports traffic

    Consequently, discover the pages where they land in Engagement > Overview > Pages and screens report.

    Both reports will give you data that can be used to understand ​​user behavior and communication preferences. For example, if most of your traffic is from email marketing, it suggests that your audience is more responsive to direct communication.

    Product preferences

    As explained previously, the Ecommerce purchase reports under Monetisation > Ecommerce purchases tell you all about the products most popular with your customers.

    You also have the option to filter this report using the demographics identified earlier, such as age range, gender, and country.

    Google Analytics monetization reports ecommerce purchases

    It will highlight the best-sellers in terms of quantity and revenue, revealing not just the individual product preferences but also broader product category preferences among your customers.

    Search queries and keywords

    Once you integrate your Search Console and Google Analytics accounts, you can easily spot keywords and topics of interest under Search Console > Queries.

    Google Analytics search console queries

    Search Console reports can additionally be filtered by country, region, and city.

    You can repeat all of the steps mentioned above with different metrics, like low engagement rates for your less interested audience. Group the reports by customer types, export them, and look for patterns to filter out your best-performing categories.

    When you have 3-5 user segments in place, you will be able to identify the core differences between them. Use these segments to draft customer profiles and build buyer personas.

    Step 4: Draft buyer personas

    Now let’s use the information collected from the Google Analytics reports to create a buyer profile.

    Age: 25-34 years

    Gender: Male

    Language: English

    Location: New York, United States of America

    Interests: Technology, movies, news, and finance.

    Marketing channels: Direct, cross-network, organic search, and referrals.

    Product preferences: Backpacks, bikes, t-shirts, hoodies, and mugs.

    Keywords: Youtube store, youtube merch, google tshirt, google backpack, and google merchandise store.

    This is but a rudimentary version of the buyer persona you want to develop. To make it resemble a customer you can relate to, enrich the profile with the following components:

    Google Analytics customer profile

    Name: Assign a generic yet distinctive name for virtual identification. Each customer segment should have a unique name, so that teams within your organization easily connect with them.

    Profile photo: Include a picture for a more personal touch. You can use stock photos or create an illustration or vector image of the character. Make it as authentic as possible, considering factors like age, gender, ethnicity, and geographical location.

    Background: In the description, portray the persona's characteristics using sentences or bullet points. Add finer details about their profession, interests, hobbies, lifestyle, and needs.

    Buying process: List out the factors that compel your buyers to buy, along with their customer journey. For instance, the kind of advertising that works on them or the people influencing their purchase decisions.

    You can get this data under Acquisition reports in GA4. Analyze the buying process as well as important marketing channels involved under Engagement > Conversions.

    If you know about the challenges and pain points relevant to your users; write them down. All of these elements together will create a detailed customer persona that can be efficiently used in your marketing strategy.

    Step 5: Keep personas updated

    Don’t think that your work is done after creating a basic set of buyer personas using Google Analytics. Remember, users and their behaviors are constantly changing.

    Try to update your personas every six months, depending on your industry. Keeping your personas regularly updated will ensure that you are prepared for any sudden shifts in consumer behavior.

    Challenges with the manual process of persona creation

    Google Analytics is great for people who are just starting out with buyer personas. Yet, the manual process of creating personas with analytics data can often be tiring and intimidating.

    Resources are not the only problem.

    Here's a list highlighting some of the primary challenges associated with manual methodologies.

    Dimensions, metrics, and aggregated values

    Over time, the number of dimensions and metrics in Google Analytics has increased to the order of a few hundreds.

    Analyzing and segmenting this data based on behavioral patterns requires considerable time and effort. Additionally, there's a high probability of missing crucial elements that could affect the accuracy of your buyer personas.

    Generalizations

    Analytics reports commonly treat the entire audience as a single group, even though in reality, there are multiple segments with users sharing similar traits and behavior.

    While Google Analytics does offer the capability to create and use segments, these are often reliant on manually determined dimensions or attributes, thus offering limited information.

    Industry specific insights

    Data from tools like Google Analytics lacks industry-specific insights, giving out information that is irrelevant to the business's vertical, whether it belongs to retail, healthcare, or any other industry.

    The set of dimensions and metrics remains the same across all sectors.

    An alternative to manual persona creation techniques is to leverage automated tools like Persona by Delve AI.

    This eliminates the need to manually build mental models of digital users from hundreds of metrics and dimensions, providing an automatic and humanized view of your buyers.

    Automated tools eradicate errors and create robust marketing personas.

    They generate personas according to your business type (B2C/B2B) and extract industry-specific insights. Furthermore, different segments are created based on behavioral differences, offering insights into variations across user preferences and needs.

    Create buyer personas with Google Analytics and Delve AI (automatic persona generation)

    Nowadays, many online platforms and services are available that automatically create buyer personas for your business using multiple data sources.

    Persona by Delve AI stands out as the world's first software designed to generate personas from your web/mobile analytics data.

    Operating on aggregated and anonymized data from Google Analytics, it automatically segments users on the basis of their behavior, leveraging advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to create personas tailored to your needs.

    No more time-consuming manual analysis! All you need to do is:

    • Sign up for Persona by Delve AI
    • Connect your GA4 and/or Search Console accounts
    • Generate your very own AI personas

    With auto-generated personas, you gain clarity on your best-performing customer segments, refine customer experiences, and get targeting ideas to grow your business.

    Advantages of using Persona by Delve AI

    Here are some of the primary advantages of using Persona by Delve AI for creating buyer personas from your Google Analytics data.

    Automatic persona generation

    Delve AI's platform automatically generates accurate, segment-wise personas within minutes using your Google Analytics data. You don’t need to spend hours struggling to define and characterize your customer profiles.

    It pulls raw data from your web and mobile applications via Google Analytics in an anonymized and aggregated form.

    The data then undergoes multiple stages of data enrichment, learning-based behavioral analysis, automatic segmentation and humanization, resulting in the creation of deeply insightful buyer personas.

    Enriched analytics

    Customer data is augmented for a more comprehensive user context, drawn from over 20+ external data sources.

    data sources

    Some of these additional dimensions, not inherently present in Google Analytics, serve as inputs in the creation process and are accessible on the Delve AI dashboard.

    These dimensions include:

    • How: Device, Search query, Connection
    • What: Content analysis, Action, Conversions, Goals, Transactions
    • Where: Urbanicity, Territory, Climate zone
    • When: Day, Time, Weather, Season
    • Who: Organization, Industry, Language

    Industry specific insights

    By analyzing user behaviors such as viewed pages and searches, Delve AI extracts key structured attributes that are tailored to your industry.

    For instance, in the apparel and fashion industry, keywords are organized and presented based on relevant attributes like size, gender, occasion, type, color, age-group, and more.

    industry specific insights feature

    Delve AI's analysis systems autonomously extract industry-specific insights for over 40+ major B2B and B2C industries.

    Behavioral analysis using machine learning

    Figuring out buyer intent and understanding their decision phases in the customer journey are crucial elements that can greatly enhance your buyer personas.

    Delve AI uses machine learning techniques to unearth these insights, incorporating:

    • Intent: Know, Do, Website, Visit in person
    • live persona query intent
    • Decision phase: Research, Intent to convert (online/offline), Conversion

    Automatic segmentation

    Users are segmented automatically using behavioral factors like:

    • Engagement: Context, intent, and actions
    • Outcomes: Conversions and decision phases

    The size of each segment is showcased as a percentage (%) of users in the entire audience. As a result, personas are individually extracted for each of them.

    persona segment

    Humanized representations

    Delve AI transforms segment-wise data into people-friendly formats for easier integration and follow-ups.

    This is achieved by adding humanized details like preferences, personal lifestyle, interactions, and sample journeys to develop personas.

    detailed persona sample

    Shifting from data dimensions and metrics, these personas bring empathy into your data-driven marketing efforts, placing people at the center of all your decisions and business activities.

    User distribution

    A persona gives out valuable details by portraying one person, but it's also helpful to look at how attributes are distributed among users in a particular segment.

    persona distribution who

    For example, a persona might show a single age (e.g., 27 years old). However, looking at the distribution of ages among all users in a segment gives a broader perspective on age ranges.

    Sample user journeys

    Delve AI also extracts and displays sample user journeys for each segment. As mentioned before, combining personas with user journeys can help identify and address drop-offs and obstacles.

    live persona user journey sample

    B2B considerations

    Purchasing a B2B product or service typically involves multiple people. Moreover, B2B products may have different functions, resulting in decisions that engage multiple departments within a company.

    Given these differences, B2B buyer personas and user journeys should be structured at the organization level rather than the individual user level.

    Delve AI seamlessly addresses such B2B scenarios, providing in-depth details into organizations, industries, company sizes, job functions, and job experience levels of potential buyers in each segment.

    live persona b2b example
    live persona b2b example distribution
    live persona b2b journey

    B2B website visitors are automatically classified into one of the groups listed below.

    • Business prospects
    • Job seekers/recruiters
    • Investors
    • Partners/competitors
    • Press
    • Service providers
    • Blog readers
    • Government

    B2C and B2B buyers have different needs and expectations. In our article about B2B buyer personas, we explain how B2B purchasing processes are more complex than B2C, delving into differences in time, decision-makers, intent, and purpose.

    Wrapping up

    It's vital to understand your target audience and know their needs and priorities. With the vast amount of data available about buyers and their behaviors, especially from sources like Google Analytics, you can easily create your own personas.

    No more guesswork is needed to understand your digital buyers.

    Tools like Persona by Delve AI allow you to harness the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning, allowing you to generate data-driven buyer personas and get amazing customer insights.

    You can try it for free and receive results within minutes. Using such tools not only saves resources but also offers fresh ideas to grow your business.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    What is a buyer persona?

    A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers and represents their goals, pain points, hobbies, interests, motivations, frustrations, personality traits, and more.

    They are created using data from past buyers, current customers, and competitors, giving you a holistic view of your buyers based on shared commonalities.

    How do I use Google Analytics to create buyer personas?

    As explained in the article, you can follow these steps to create buyer personas using your Google Analytics data:

    Step 1: Enable Demographics and Interests reports in Google Analytics

    Step 2: Collect Google Analytics data

    Step 3: Know core elements and data sources

    Step 4: Draft buyer personas

    Step 5: Keep personas updated

    Which tool is used to create customer personas?

    You can use tools like Persona by Delve AI to automatically generate personas for your website, competitors, and social media audience. If you want a fill-in template, you can opt for Make My Persona by Hubspot, SEMrush Persona tool, or Xtensio’s user persona templates.

    Create personas automatically from your Google Analytics data
    Gain a deeper understanding of your digital customers

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