Generating a Buyer Persona with Facebook Advertising

Generating a Buyer Persona with Facebook AdvertisingI am a big fan of David Meerman Scott’s work and I am in the middle of re-reading his book the New Rules of Marketing and PR 2nd edition! In the book he stresses the importance of having a “buyer persona” and his definition a buyer persona is a “distinct group of potential customers expressed as an archetypal person whom you want your marketing to reach”.

Translation – it provides a rich target for your marketing, you may even put a name or a face to it as one of his blog post detailed called How Well do you Know your Buyer Personas?

Kadient, a software as a service provider, has a number of buyer personas – 2 in fact – one named Anya and one named Luke. To compile them Kadient interviewed dozens of salespeople and then built a composite picture of their buyer into these two stereotypical people. (see photo from left to right, Heather Margolis, Director of Marketing for Kadient, Luka, Anya (both cardboard cutouts) and Jeff Ernst, Vice President of Marketing for Kadient).

So do you have buyer personas at your company? In reality few have them – some retail firms I have spoke to have them, luxury goods firms typically have them but its rare for a  technology firms to have them?

Not any more …

What if I told you that you could compile a buyer persona in 30 days with a minimal investment? A persona that would tell you what their favorite movie was, what their favorite music was, what their favorite TV show was, what their favorite books were, even their average age and marital status. How … Facebook!

As you may be aware I co-wrote the book Facebook Marketing for Dummies (Wiley) and I am in the middle of working on Facebook Advertising for Dummies (Wiley) right now. And I stumbled upon this concept while working on a Facebook Ad campaign. Do you know when you get over 1000 people to click on your Facebook ad that you can get a report that will tell you the most common Music, TV shows, Movies, Books, Age and Marital Status among the people who clicked on your ad was.

Frankly that’s buyer persona gold for free from your Facebook Ad campaign. Let me know if you have tries this and how it worked out for you – who knows you might even be a case study in my upcoming book!

17 comments to Generating a Buyer Persona with Facebook Advertising

  • Hi Paul,

    Your proposition is interesting and seems it has some application to the b2c world. Our firm has done extensive work since 2002 in buyer persona development for b2b since 2002 and it takes some effort to get at the qualitative insights needed to create buyer personas. David Meerman Scott echoes the same sentiment when he notes that it could take 20 or more qualitative interviews. An interesting thought though it is. As Facebook evolves, you never know!

    Tony Zambito

  • Agree Tony – it seems very B2C but I also think it can work for B2B (working on a campaign like that right now).

    And also its not the same as perhaps your approach but it certainly can help get more people started with a buyer persona than what I have seen so far.

  • Paul – this is an interesting way to develop buyer persona profiles! Many thanks for pointing to my stuff.

  • @David – thanks for the comment!

  • Tilla Torrens

    really interesting concept. I’m actually starting to work on buyer personas right now, because of David Meerman Scott’s book in fact 😉 I’m definitely going to look into this. Thanks!

  • @Tilla – good luck and thanks for commenting

  • The concept of the buyer persona is really interesting, and in the tech companies I’ve worked I haven’t really seen what you describe pursued very dutifully.

    Working for B2B vendors, we were always primarily concerned with identifying “repeatable sales” where there were certain environmental conditions. Like if a customer was using, say, Websphere and had x- integration scenario. I’d say that we spent 100x more time thinking through the customer environments than we did on thinking through the persona of the prospective buyer (which was usually classified merely by a handful of roles, like “enterprise architect” or “developer” or “CIO” or whatever, and some generic pain that they felt).

    Anyway, interesting stuff. Thanks.

  • @Travis – its a fair point when it comes to B2B – this could give you a more casual look at the data that maybe binds together your target audience

  • […] A very powerful side benefit of being on the Facebook platform. (to learn more see my blog post on generating a buyer persona with Facebook […]

  • […] A very powerful side benefit of being on the Facebook platform. (to learn more see my blog post on generating a buyer persona with […]

  • User

    Would you mind talking about an example facebook ad that would collect accurate data pertaining to creating a buyer persona? Sounds like an interesting idea but I’m not convinced as to how accurate or pertinent the collected data would be. Also, the last two comments here are spam, you should delete them (from “Lissa Storz” and “Joey Stanaway”).

  • @User – thanks I deleted those 2 comments – I don’t have a campaign I can share with you but every company is different. So I suggest trying it for your business and seeing if there is a benefit. You might learn something about your customers (or at least people interested in your product) that could give you insights into future marketing campaigns. And best of all its free as part of a Facebook ad campaign!

  • […] Generating a Buyer Persona with Facebook Advertising, March 30, 2010 […]

  • Athena

    Everybody should read twice :The new rules of marketing and PR- David Meerman Scott. The BEST book in marketing .

  • […] customer persona”. I discussed how you can do this for FREE with Facebook in a prior post called Generating a Buyer Persona with Facebook Advertising but unfortunately you do get what you pay […]

  • Hi Paul:

    I’d love to talk to you about your book.

    With B2B buyer personas we need to go beyond the personality details to capture the persona’s specific criteria for the category of solution we’re marketing. When we know what he likes and doesn’t like, what he’s tried before (and what he thinks about those solutions), we have personas that are actionable in terms of messaging and launch strategy.

    Why don’t you have a look at my new ebook — The Buyer Persona Manifesto — available for free (no registration) at If my ideas are interesting, let’s talk!

  • Wow Adele – sounds cool – I will download your ebook and check it out – thanks for posting

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