Personas: The Digital People

16 February 2021


  1. The aspect of someone’s character that is presented to or perceived by others.
  2. A role or character adopted by an author or an actor.

In the digital marketing world and product development world, it’s crucial for both the design team and marketing team to step into the shoes of their target audience. To truly be able to create a solid product and effective campaign they must understand the thoughts, emotions and drive behind the potential users. How do they achieve this? By mapping personas – fictional people that are created with immense detail right down to the blemishes on their cheeks in some cases. These individual and unique profiles allow designers and marketing professionals to see their product through the eyes of the target audience and identify what works well and what may need some improvement.


How is a persona created?

Persona mapping is not as easy as just thinking fictional characters up and inventing characteristics for them. Each trait is decided upon after thorough research into the target audience. This is to ensure that each persona accurately represents the real-life people who will be using the product.

Features like age, ethnicity, background, profession and gender are just a portion of the qualities that are taken into account when mapping accurate personas. After these personal traits are established, factors such as their routines, habits, interests and technology use/competency are laid out. This further helps to build the profile of a character.


Why are personas useful?

Once the personas have been constructed, they’re put into scenarios to gauge how they would react to certain triggers, problems and elements. It is from these scenarios and experiences that key information is deduced that will help a designer or marketing professional improve their product and making it more engaging to the target audience.

For example, we mentioned that not only personal traits but also interests and routines are established when creating personas. Well, let’s talk about Natalie. She is 24, uses a Windows desktop machine for seven and a half hours during the day in her job as an accountant but will then transition to a MacBook Air in the evenings at home whilst watching TV and drinking tea.

Natalie has a short attention span and so when she’s scrolling through her favourite online clothing retailer, she would prefer to have large and easily identifiable buttons. Because she’s also watching her favourite TV show, the number of clicks it would take to find the items she wants should be minimised.

In this instance, a web designer can deduce that flashy, distinguishable buttons should be created – UI elements that don’t need 100% of someone’s attention to be identifiable. For clothing stores, they’re often browsed in the background whilst the user is multitasking. The persona of Natalie can help the web designer establish this. Her habits, age and even occupation work to highlight improvements that can be made to the website.

Being an accountant, it’s safe to assume that Natalie is also a fast reader and able to scan content on a screen quite swiftly, so when it comes to scrolling through the list of clothing items, she’ll probably be scrolling quite fast whilst still taking in all of them. Her age also indicates that she most likely grew up during the golden age of social media and spent a lot of time scrolling through platforms, quickly identifying all the content on the screen and moving on.


Personas in digital marketing

From a digital marketing perspective, personas will help tailor the message and ensure it’s on-brand and well-received by the intended target audience. Looking at the marketing strategy through the eyes of the various personas ensures that the marketing professionals can understand the audience’s feelings and thought-process through each step of the campaign – identifying potential shortcomings and areas that require improvement. This will ensure a detailed and comprehensive campaign that has exhausted all avenues in an effort to impact the market more effectively.


Personas in digital design

Personas are essentially used in the same fashion as they are for digital marketing with digital design – but it’s looking at more how the user perceives and reacts to each of the UX and UI elements of a website or application. A digital designer will design a website/application based on the personas’ preferences as opposed to their own. When it is complete, they’ll step into the shoes of each persona and take a journey through the digital product to see how each type of personality navigates the website/application in their own unique way. The information is then collated to find the best possible middle-ground for the average type of target audience the website/application is aimed at.


Digital marketing and design specialists in Melbourne

AWD Digital is a full-service digital agency offering a suite of boutique design, marketing and SEO services created to take your business to the next level. You can rest assured knowing that our digital team engage in a variety of best practises (such as persona mapping) to produce the optimal digital product for your business.

If you’d like to contact us to find out how we can help you, then please fill out our online enquiry form or call our team on 03 9001 6255.