Why Digital Personas Are No Longer Enough – gb

Brands today are constantly on the lookout for the perfect user experience (UX) formula that will keep their digital audience engaged all the way to conversion. But connection is a two-way street, and to be successful, requires a sophisticated understanding of who it is you’re trying to connect with.

For that, brands have personas – ideal archetypes of the people who might come to them for goods and services. And while personas are helpful, what they lack are the layers of complexity that define everyday interactions – including browsing for stuff online.

A cosmetics brand, for example, might direct its collection and messaging at a specific demographic. A typical persona might be Coachella Chloe, a 19-year-old college freshman and fashion enthusiast who never turns her phone off. Based on the variables used to define Chloe, our cosmetics brand will make a number of assumptions about the digital behavior of their target audience.

But while some things about Chloe will remain constant, many things won’t. Her behavior online, for one, is subject to any number of influences depending on where she finds herself, what device she’s using, and of course, what she’s trying to achieve.

Making Chloe a happy digital customer requires more than simply taking into account her persona. Only the combining of persona with intent and context can lead to an in-depth understanding of Chloe’s mindset – the emotional foundation that will impact her navigation.

Become a mindset reader with behavioral analytics

We analyzed millions of user sessions to better understand the digital patterns of behavior associated with different and recurring consumer mindsets.

We investigated three distinct combinations of persona, intent and context, looking at what happened when one of the variables – persona, intent, or context – was different.

To understand the impact of context on mindset, for example, we examined the difference in behavior of a converting group of users on laptop versus non-converting users on mobile. From our research, we were able to extract two distinct mindsets – distracted and determined.

We found that determined users were quick to make up their minds about the products they were drawn to, browsing fewer items and heading straight to the pages that interested them.

They were twice as likely to land on the cart page, for example, than the other group.

Distracted users were 23% more likely to land on a product page than determined users and saw these pages 22.3% more than their determined counterparts. They also displayed an 18.8% higher chance of reaching the homepage during their navigation, indicating longer, more chaotic sessions.

Distracted users on mobile were 17.6% more likely to reach the checkout than determined users on desktop, suggesting a real intention to buy. Despite this, determined users had 59% more chance of reaching the checkout confirmation page than when distracted, presumably encountering enough friction at checkout to defeat their initial purchasing objective.

Determined users also saw the cart page 82% more times during their navigation, spending 1.7 times longer there than when distracted.

Why think beyond digital personas


Putting consumer mindset at the heart of their strategy helps digital teams adapt interfaces to changing environments and fluctuating user moods. It allows them to move beyond the composite sketch of persona to address real-life situations and the feelings they trigger.

Because digital behavior and digital journeys are anything but static. Coachella Chloe, for example, will browse differently depending on whether she is determined or distracted. By developing experiences that can adapt to her changing mood, our cosmetics company is that much closer to delivering a consistently satisfying experience to its valued audience.

Next-gen, mindset-based analytics can help brands move beyond a persona-only marketing strategy to unlock a whole new level of consumer understanding. Read the complete report to find out how digital businesses can define their most profitable mindsets and really put user reaction at the heart of experience development.


Embracing Mindset Segmentation for a Better Digital Experience – gb

With more and more brands embracing the idea that customer journeys are fundamentally emotional, I am often asked how analytics can be leveraged into experiences that address the needs of different consumer mindsets.

It’s a great question. With such a huge market for online retail, how do you create seamless digital journeys that meet the needs and expectations of every consumer? And how do you do this knowing that one consumer does not equal one consumer journey, and that visitors will navigate your site differently depending on their circumstances?

The emotional side of the digital experience

Digital marketing teams today have the tools to understand the nuances of visitor behavior, and have started to embrace the emotional side of data. Where they once segmented their audience according to personas, they are now adding a layer of insight to their workflow by adding consumer mindsets to the equation – i.e. the feelings that go hand in hand with digital behavior.


Think of it this way – digital journeys are influenced by more than just demographics and content. Factors like device, time of day, and quality of service all impact navigation. So do variables like traffic source, customer intent, etc.

For example, when ContentSquare’s office manager is trying to book six flights to Las Vegas on a desktop, she has a different experience than when she is on the subway platform, looking up last-minute package trips to Tulum on a mobile with a spotty connection. She might be focused in the first instance, and frustrated in the second.

Connecting with profitable mindsets

The challenge for brands today is to develop navigation paths that adapt to the potential mindsets of their most profitable audiences – answering the needs of focused users and those who, for a variety of reasons, are more distracted in their navigation.

And since e-Commerce disruptors like Amazon or Airbnb have accustomed today’s consumers to a near-faultless user experience (UX), and raised the bar for digital convenience even higher, it can seem like a daunting challenge.

The first step to answering all these different needs is to understand them. Really getting to know the ways in which visitors navigate your site will help you refine segments according to behavioral criteria. It is this level of understanding that will help you tailor optimizations to specific mindsets, removing another layer of guesswork and truly putting consumer experience at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Knowing where that productive mindset drops off, or which field is a field too many for the distracted mindset will help teams focus improvements, and create journeys that can withstand the influence of all those factors brands can’t control.

Because while you may be unable to control your users’ mindset, you can anticipate it, and make sure that your UX caters to it.