Posts Tagged ‘demographics’

Seth Godin recently had a blog post titled “Fifty is the new thirty“. In it he validated his claim by offering up evidence of longer life spans and career activity. The point he made was that those that follow demographics were still ignoring older consumers, instead choosing to accept stereotypes perpetuated by those very same erroneous statistics. Bottom line: businesses that use age demographics to base their marketing on were missing out on potential customers by outright not addressing them.

If your marketing is based on psychographics this would not happen. Psychograpics targets Needs/Wants/Fears/Desires. It is attitude and viewpoint oriented. It can be used to inform and shape impressions of a product or service. There is no age or gender boundary. (Unless, of course the product/service is specifically designed that way.)

Pull your head out of the demographic rut and widen the marketing approach. Nobody succeeds by limiting themselves right at the beginning.

Advertisements

This Tract is a site that used Census data from 2000 (currently) to give the demographics of neighborhood communities. Great data for marketers trying to target areas for specific products and/ or services.

http://thistract.com/

Much has been made about Social Networking and Marketing. Chief among these concerns is monetizing these sites/sevices.

Some of the more niche driven sites like Flixster or Good Reads would seem like obvious candidates for their media inspirations to take out ads. (And some have. You are not likely to object about a movie ad on a movie oriented SN site.)

But there are other catch all sites where the community has already suffered some marketing infringements, so they are leery of any overt motions in that direction. To them I say go with your strengths; demographics and statistics. You can sell this information as aggregate numbers without giving away member personal info.

Other companies have successfully done this for decades. Social Networking sites have the advantage of being up to the minute and containing a wildly diverse set of subjects.

Some companies have taken advantage of SN and actively engaged consumers. Many still have not and the ones that do don’t always have the ability to monitor everything that might pertain to them.

It’s a start. Ideally companies would eiter support these platforms monetarily or pay for the priviledge to interact with members. There’s still time for that to happen.

There was an interesting article on the Ad Age site this week. It basically said that marketers had no business on social networks. I think the jury is still out on that and, as with everything, it depends on the usage.

First, the problem: Social networks attract large groups of people. More so now that the activity has jumped beyond the high school/university crowd. This is precisely why marketers are interested. Large groups of easily demographed potential consumers. Marketers love that the search engines on these sites allow them to find specific targets. (More so on MySpace and Facebook, but the niche social sites allow for good leads as well.) So, with all of this material provided to them, and the sites under pressure to turn a profit, marketers take this new avenue,…and do precisely what they do to everything else. They try to find a way to cram an ad down your throat.

It comes down to marketing noticing Web 2.0 but not really understanding it. Things move forward and they see a new delivery route instead of trying to think of what it is they deliver. All they are really doing is forcing people off of the well known sites and onto something newer and not as likely to be targeted. (Yet)

The solution: Web 2.0 puts the power in the consumer’s hands. Ad blitzkreigs are not as effective because more people are turning to this delivery system for their entertainment, communication and education. They are able to tune out the ads. Instead, now is the time to woo consumers by actually proving to them that you DO SOMETHING. That’s why blogs are important to businesses. You have to prove yourself. Give something of interest or value. For social networks it may be a sponsored application or some other new tool of value for the site. If people like it, they’ll remember who provided it, the value to themselves and make the connection to the company when they are in consumer-mode for the product or service represented. The same old ways are not going to work. Follow the lead of our new President-elect. Change.

I joined Classmates.com quite a while back. The features that were free were extensive enough that I could post enough about myself (or read about others in my class) to start some communication and catch up with some folks. More of a curiousity factor than anything else.

Then the creator began changing things and in the process erase my information. Free features were cut back in an effort to monetize the site. I got tired of re-entering my vitals and having less to be able to put down, so I slacked off on interaction.

I mention this for two reasons:

1) Classmates is being sued by a fellow who is contesting their advertising and email come-ons. (If you’ve joined you are no doubt familiar with their at-least-twice-weekly email campaign to get you on the site.) The suit contends that this gentlemen’s classmates were NOT looking for him as the ads and emails asserted. Look for this to go class action.

2) Classmates had a substantial population long before there was a MySpace or Facebook yet totally missed becoming as large as either due to their rush to monetize and their short sighted attitude towards features that accompanied the mindset.

Classmates also missed out on increasing their population with their advertising which looks to be geared towards baby boomers only. Classmates was an Internet hit by old thinking. But that thinking is what kept them from being first entrants and superstars by the new metrics of social networking. MySpace and Facebook are still struggling with ways to monetize without alienating their users, but both are valued at unbelievable sums and are constantly being courted by major business concerns. They saw that gathering the population was the element that made them attractive to marketers; especially now that the demographics for both are reaching cross to segments older than high school/university level.

The ironic thing is that I’ve started looking at Classmates with renewed interest in that there are many people there that are not participating in other social networks. (Nostalgia, thy pull is great.) This makes the site another possible target for data mining or market research.

Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise, an Internet tracking company has published data that determines Social Networking is searched for more on the Internet than Porn is. Tancer, who has a new book out, has analyzed web searches and provides interesting demographic and psychographic results based on them.

Social Networking has become THE way for interaction among many people, particularly in the 18-24 yr. range. (See previous post on how Social Network demographics change on these sites for further insight.)

So, now how will you spend that advertising budget again?

Social networking is popularly thought of as youth-centric. If you go by the media’s depiction of it. However, that’s not necessarily true.  Check out the following data from ComScore:

Demographic Profile of Visitors to Select Social Networking Sites

Percent Composition of Total Unique Visitors

August 2006

Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations

Source: comScore Media Metrix

 

Percent (%) Composition of Unique Visitors

Total Internet

MySpace.com

Facebook.com

Friendster.com

Xanga.com

Unique Visitors (000)

173,407

55,778

14,782

1,043

8,066

Total Audience

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

    Persons: 12-17

9.6

11.9

14.0

10.6

20.3

    Persons: 18-24

11.3

18.1

34.0

15.6

15.5

    Persons: 25-34

14.5

16.7

8.6

28.2

11.0

    Persons: 35-54

38.5

40.6

33.5

34.5

35.6

    Persons: 55+

18.0

11.0

7.6

8.1

7.3

Demographic Profile of Visitors to Select Social Networking Sites

Percent Composition of Total Unique Visitors

August 2006

Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations

Source: comScore Media Metrix

 

Percent (%) Composition of Unique Visitors

Total Internet

MySpace.com

Facebook.com

Friendster.com

Xanga.com

Unique Visitors (000)

173,407

55,778

14,782

1,043

8,066

Total Audience

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

    Persons: 12-17

9.6

11.9

14.0

10.6

20.3

    Persons: 18-24

11.3

18.1

34.0

15.6

15.5

    Persons: 25-34

14.5

16.7

8.6

28.2

11.0

    Persons: 35-54

38.5

40.6

33.5

34.5

35.6

    Persons: 55+

18.0

11.0

7.6

8.1

7.3

This leads us to a more familiar business model for marketing purposes as Social Networks expand and
splinter. The model of cable tv. The traditional networks represent MySpace and Facebook. These two represent the everything to everybody mindset that you have to have when you are the pioneer in a new market.

And make no mistake about it, monetization became a high priority once the numbers were tallied and bigger businesses bought in. Now there are Social Networks for any interest that you can think of. This parallels the diversification that has occured in cable. The groundwork has been done and with the addition of some bells and whistles; it becomes easier and less expensive to start up a Social Network. That translates into smaller monetization goals.

The appeal to advertisers is the exact targeting of potential consumers. Without all of the intrusion that Facebook and MySpace have been criticised for. So, the real race now is to see which Social Network in
each niche shakes out and becomes the representative in that market.