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User Profile And User Profiling: A Quick Comprehensive Guide

User Profile : Introduction

Personalised content makes people more likely to convert.

Your message, design or product development become much more effective and compelling when you tailor your app, campaigns or content to a specific target audience based on their demographics or behaviour.

No wonder 96% of businesses see a significant improvement (as much as 63%) in conversion rates from personalisation.

user profile and user profiling

Now, let’s define what a user profile really is:

What is a User Profile?

A user profile is a collection of information associated with a user.

Or put it this way: it is the clear and specific digital representation of a user’s identity. The moment users register their details, they get their own their space (profile) on your system.

And that “profile” helps you understand key details about them and their relationship/behaviour with your product or service. You get to see their interactive behaviour, preferences and pet peeves.

user profile and user profiling

There’s a difference, however, between a user profile and its cousin — user profiling, but they dovetail to work for you.

User profile vs user profiling

While a typical user profile depicts information about your users, user profiling describes the process of understanding a group of users and developing a profile about them based on your findings.

Obtaining information about these users and their interests is the main purpose of user profiling:

What do they need from life, and from your product?

What do they worry about what your product can solve?

What are they aiming to do in specific areas and how does your product help them with that?

Gerhard Fischer, a renowned Professor of Computer Science, mirrors the same idea. “A fundamental objective of human-computer interaction research (user profiling) is to make systems more usable, more useful, and to provide users with experiences fitting their specific background knowledge and objectives.”

Fischer is spot on. Another key benefit of user profiling is the valuable data you can always refer to when doubts or challenges arise in building or modifying your product.

Now, how do actually profile people who are your target users, and ensure you’re building systems or apps that suit their needs? Here are key elements to consider when doing user profiling:

6 key ingredients of user profiling

  • Demographics: Know the basics. Learn about your (potential) users. Age, gender, race, religion, family size, ethnicity and education.
  • Location: If your app is based on users in a particular region or location, find out what those areas are.
  • Computer Experience: Are your users savvy enough to navigate your app? What computer skills do they possess, and what skills do they need to possess to understand your app?
  • Socio-economic data: Knowing whether or not you are targeting a group that can afford your products and app services is important. When you know the income range of your users, you can better price your product.
  • Technology: From the moment users go online, they’re deliberately or indeliberately giving out data in the form of personal information.

Building a product that will only be compatible with desktops might not favour your business when the majority of your users are using mobile devices to access your product.

  • User Psychography: Understand your user’s attitude and behaviour toward other tech products.

Gathering your data around the user’s psychography is wise, and you have to use virtually all the sources available to you — from their Facebook likes and online groups and conversations to buying behaviours and demographics.

  • Product Experience: Are your users familiar with using a type of your product — maybe one from your competitors? Know if your user has experience with your competitor’s products or some other product related to yours.
  • Stock Photo: Help your team understand this not a drill and the user is an important part of your product development; that the customer is real and not some fictional character.

With user profiling, you will stop designing for everyone, and limit your efforts to creating the right product for a specific group of people [a niche].

Now, back to user profile. Here are three steps you need to build a user profile that properly depicts who your users are and what they want from your product.

3 steps to build a user profile.

1. Know the type(s) of data you need to build your user profile

Collect as much data as you can — as long as it’s relevant to your user’s interaction or their use of your product.

For example, if you’re building a social media automation tool, you primarily need your users to provide you with information about the social networks they want to automate posts for. But that’s, of course, just one example. The data you require from users to build their profile on your product depends on the type of product or system you’re building.

You can get information about your users or potential users from product managers, market analysis, customer support, surveys and interviews.

In the end, you’ll create the user profile based on data you collect from relevant and credible sources, and data based on existing knowledge about your industry and users.

2. Understand your different types of users

Primary Users – Your primary users are those who interact directly and regularly with your product. A primary user is in direct contact with your system or app interface and is usually most affected by it. These users account for the highest volume of sales.

Secondary Users – They use the product infrequently or through an intermediary. The secondary user is that friend who refuses to buy her own Netflix subscription but feeds off your account.

Tertiary Users – Affected by a particular system or purchased by a decision-maker. For example, a salesman in a B2B company using MailChimp doesn’t pay for the tool; his boss does. So he’s the primary user, while his boss is the tertiary user.

This categorization of users can become more complex or easier depending on your product and business model.

Also, categorizing secondary and tertiary users is totally up to you. Decide whether it’s necessary for your specific type of product.

3. Creating the User Profile

Two elements are critical for any user profile:

  • one is the design
  • the other is the user data.

But while these two are important in product development, UX design or marketing campaign, user data carries an upper hand.

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Key data in a user profile

You need to know the key data elements to have in your user profiles to properly meet their needs. So ask yourself, “What steps do I need to follow to build a user profile that rightly depicts who my users are, the objectives they’re trying to accomplish, and the data I need to serve them better?” Below are some of the data you’d need in building user profiles for most products:

1. Demographics:

Age and gender are usually all the demographic data you need to build apps and personalize them properly to specific users. But again, not all apps are built the same. Use as much demographics data as needed. The importance of demographics in the user profile includes the fact that it helps you group your customers by variables such as age range, race, ethnic background and more. By grouping users using demographic data, you get to understand each demographic segment, what they want and how they want it. At a time where 47% of Americans agree that ditching their privacy for a better deal is worth it, the more focused your demographic is, the better you speak to their emotions and reasoning and get them to use your product.

2. Geographic Location:

Where are your users? You can find and register your ideal customer by country, region, state, city, and even within a mile radius on some platforms. Image source For example, if Cold Stone is celebrating an anniversary and having a special promotion for customers living in Florida, they would send an in-app message to describe the bonus the users will enjoy in their South Miami store without disturbing the whole world about their South Miami promotion. Updating your customers about promotions happening in their backyard makes them more inclined to buy from you. In fact, businesses experience a 27% increase when they properly use location-based personalization.

3. Company information

Knowing your users’ company information helps you tailor promotions and product updates to users from similar companies. Especially if you’re in B2B, knowing where your users work helps you run campaigns and design products that are useful for their businesses. AutoCAD, for example, is an architectural design desktop app used mostly by engineers. Through the company information they have about their users, they’d know it would be wiser and more effective to market their product to architects, mechanical engineers and electronic engineers. That’s how having your user’s company information data help you strengthen your marketing and product success.

4. Profile Picture:

Putting a face to the name helps the users identify other people using the same product. It also helps you express yourself as the user. Image design by Andrey Saprykin For some products like Uber and Lyft, the profile picture serves as a security measure to help prevent fraud and protect the users in the system.
  1.  Unique User Identity
Simply put, this is a name your users pick to identify themselves to access your product or software this is called a username. Most times, usernames are coupled with passwords and the combination of these is called a login. All of that is your user’s identity on your product. Image source

How to do user profiling with Opentracker

Opentracker is a web tracking and analytics service that helps you make informed advertising and marketing decisions. Businesses that use Opentracker receive access to exceptional historical visitor data in a succinct, friendly format. Here’s how the tool helps you simplify your user profiling process:
  • Opentracker’s event tracking feature tracks every click on your site. This helps you understand where buyers are in the purchase journey. Combine this data with the right message and your conversion rates can go through the roof.
And after they become users or customers, you get to view their journey such as their name and date of purchase, for example. This gives you a better understanding of the channels you attribute conversions to.
  • Use Facebook and LinkedIn user profile data to populate your analytics reports.
If your users login with Facebook or LinkedIn they can provide you with their profile on those networks, and you can access as much valuable profile data as they allow you to. Find out how that works here. Additionally, you can search Opentracker for any custom data that helps you make better decisions.
  • Opentracker allows you to create a list of prospects that need a list of all electronic engineers that have recently read your new products page, view what your visitors or users are trying to accomplish and meet them with help right where they are.
This feature turns Opentracker into a very powerful CRM system – where you can combine contact information with actual website browsing history. Grab an Opentracker free trial here.
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