Persona-Based Targeting: Drive Conversions with Precision

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Consumers can be interested in the same product for entirely different reasons. One car-buyer may consider a BMW for the safety features, another for the horsepower and handling. The same is true in the B2B space.

When an audience is introduced to your brand, advertisers want to ensure ads resonate with their unique needs rather than bombarding them with every potential benefit and use case, many of which may be irrelevant to their specific problem.

Communicating to the right persona is just as critical, if not more, in a PPC context, where users have a high intent to buy but can also leave your site instantly to explore a vast array of other options.

It would be a search marketer’s dream if someone typed into the search bar:

“Hello, I’m a project manager at a 500-person company needing to more evenly allocate workload among team members so they don’t experience burnout. I’m looking for a tool to help and have this much to spend. I’m ready to buy. Here, take my money.”

Unfortunately, that isn’t how search typically works. However, it may shortly be with the arrival of AI chat. ​​So, how do you set up your Search program to drive leads from your target personas and provide them with an optimal user experience?

In this article, we’ll break down this process by diving deep into how to determine buyer personas and the messaging for your ad copy and landing pages. We’ll also explain how to set up your campaigns to target these personas by strategically using offline conversion tracking for first-party audience data. Lastly, we’ll explore why it’s necessary to consider the potential limitations of this strategy and when you might need to make adjustments.

Determining Your Personas

First, advertisers should decide how they want to segment their personas. Should it be based on company size? Industry? Company department? 

Consider what makes these personas distinct—what unique pain points lead them to search for your product, or how might they use it for a different purpose? Investigate historical search terms to determine how these personas identify themselves by searching for your product. Perhaps they are using modifiers such as “low cost,” “best” and “software for sales teams.”

Ultimately, you should consolidate these personas into a few key segments. If you segment too much, your performance is bound to suffer, with your volume spread too thin.


Once you’ve identified your personas, you’ll want to craft a message that speaks to their unique situation and is consistent from ad copy to landing page. It’s helpful to work out different ways to address their particular need, whether calling out a specific pain point or presenting a solution.

Example: “Spending Too Much Time Hiring?” (pain point) vs. “Hire Quality Candidates Faster.” (solution)

When designing your landing page, consider how each persona will respond to key elements such as pricing & customer testimonials. For example, a small business will likely emphasize value more and would appreciate seeing pricing on the landing page. An enterprise business, however, would respond better to the social proof of knowing that other similar-sized companies trust this brand.


Challenges arise when it comes to actually targeting personas on search, especially in cases where users need to identify themselves by their search terms. In this area, two primary tools are critical to help focus your efforts on specific personas: offline conversion tracking and first-party audiences.

Conversion Tracking

Some of your keywords may be searched more often or less often by specific personas, but you won’t quickly determine this if you are tracking a conversion such as an MQL. To gain more insight into what personas come from which keywords, segment your conversions by your persona when uploading into the account. 

This can be done based on a field in your form-fill or by data enrichment within your CRM. Once you have these persona-specific conversions in the account, you can better structure the keywords in your campaigns and even set the Persona B MQL as the conversion goal for your Persona B campaign.


Regarding audience targeting, Google’s in-platform audiences can sometimes be found wanting. There’s a good chance your personas don’t neatly match any of Google’s in-built audiences. Therefore, you’ll want to use your first-party data and piggyback off the targeting from other, more audience-focused platforms. 

As with conversion tracking, you’ll want to ensure that the first-party customer match lists uploaded into the account are segmented by persona. Layering these persona audiences will provide additional signals to guide your campaigns to serve the right persona.

Other platforms like LinkedIn and other ABM tools have much more robust B2B audience targeting. If you’re running efforts on those channels (exceptionally high-volume awareness efforts), then you’re in luck because you can retarget site visitors from those channels on Google. You’ll want to ensure that the persona you are targeting with those efforts is identified within the UTM parameters, and you can simply create an audience within Google based on the URL containing those specific UTMs.

The right messaging and segmented conversions & audiences provide a foundational structure for a persona-based search strategy.

Alternative Options

There is a chance, however, that depending on the size & nature of your brand’s market, you may see a drop in traffic with this campaign structure in place. 

If a decline in traffic isn’t made up for by more quality conversions, consider re-consolidating your campaigns and focusing on adjusting the post-click experience. This could mean incorporating a selector on your landing page that alters the page content based on the user’s selection. It could also mean utilizing a tool such as Mutiny that automatically adjusts the landing page experience based on third-party user data.

The Takeaway

By incorporating the right messaging with the right conversion and audience data, you can create a more tailored user experience and drive improved down-funnel results with your ideal audience.

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