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Computers Can Take Social Media Data and Make Marketing Personas

By Penn State News

December 20, 2016

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Pennsylvania State University (PSU) researchers have used computers to study information from social media accounts and automatically build marketing personas.

PSU professor Jim Jansen wants to use this research to enable computers to group consumers into marketing segments in real time by observing how they respond to online videos and other social media data.

Jansen notes computer-created personas can be developed in real time and at relatively low costs, and they can be updated quickly as economic conditions and demographics continue to change.

The researchers developed algorithms to analyze a range of data from 188,000 subscribers of a news website, including demographic information, topics of interest, customer interactions, and YouTube profiles. The algorithms then identified unique ways that groups of people were interacting with the information--in this case, news videos.

Jansen says news site editors could use this information to better collect and target content to these audiences. The technology also could be applied to other types of consumer transactions, according to the researchers.

"It could work at any consumer touchpoint--any place where we can see what the consumers are buying or what they are viewing before they buy and then tie it back to some demographics," Jansen says.

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