Long before “Freakonomics” revealed to a larger audience just how fascinating sports data diving can be, behavioral marketers were already expert at finding curious affinities in the data they were assembling. In fact, I remember that in the early days of Tacoda and Revenue Science’s evolution, they leveraged their infamous “black boxes” as audience discovery engines. In the process of targeting specific segments in their early campaigns they were also finding that unexpected segments of consumers were responding especially well to the messaging. And so one of the value propositions of behavioral targeting soon became its ability to ferret out new potential markets for a product.
Something similar goes on in many real-time bidding systems today. Whenever we walk through case studies of RTB programs, marketers inevitably find some surprise in the data related to who unexpectedly showed an affinity for their products.
Predictive analysis has become something of a common sport at holiday season. In just the last week we columnists have been drowning in studies of consumer purchase intent. According to one poll, it will be an “iChristmas” this year, with many consumers naming iPad, iPhone and iPod as their top wishes.
Well, as we veer into the holiday week here is a little nip of behavioral eggnog from our friends at data and analytics provider BlueKai. They have been running the numbers in the BlueKai Exchange, which pulls together anonymized third-party data on more than 300 million users worldwide to scope out the segments most likely to buy the year’s most coveted gadget, the iPad. While other signals from the Asian supply chain have been indicating this week that demand even for the iconic iPad 2 may be leveling, consumer lust for the cold, black, glassy but somehow inviting device still outpaces just about anything else in the market right now. So BluKai asked, using the available data, who has proven most likely to buy an iPad?
Well a lot of it is not surprising, unless you are expecting the still-pricey device to move more quickly out of the early adopter demo. Using a correlation score of 1-100, three segments fell into the “highly likely to buy” zone of scoring 90-99. Not surprisingly the skew remains heavily male -- this broad demo showed the highest affinity to iPad buying. Also in the top ranks are video game buyers. The iPad has proven to be an exceptional gaming experience. Not only mega-hits like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope get awesome on the larger screen, but more detailed titles like the sleeper Crimson: Steam Pirates really show off how a touch display on a lap animates the board game experience.
But the surprise entrant among highly likely iPad buyers is pet owners. Go figure. Now, to be sure, “pet owners” is a mighty broad segment. Most people I know own pets but I don’t think I would call them necessarily iPad candidates. I am guessing that the segment is defined by more active online pet product buyers and content hunters, designating higher pet devotion than normal. Of course that would include my wife, who rehabs feral felines and so accumulated about seven of her own in recent years. Yeah – that’s what I say every time we load another 25-pound bag of cat food into the car and forklift in the litter. Ouch! But my personal pet love wants nothing to do with the iPad.
When we descend down a rung from the most likely iPad buyers, an interesting assemblage of folks are among the “very likely to buy” group. Apparently scientists and healthcare workers have a strong affinity for the device. This actually is a holdover from the previous iteration of tablet hardware, the original stylus-based Tablet PC that ran under Windows. Introduced almost a decade ago by a Bill Gates who insisted stylus input would revolutionize interactions with the PC, it proved pretty much a flop except for some well-defined professional segments. Healthcare was a likely target for touch interfaces because much of the input here was forms-based and had to be done by people walking from room to room.
But also among the “very likely” iPad consumers we see both the obvious (business and international travelers) and the less so: vitamin takers, organic food proponents and apartment dwellers. Actually health and fitness is a very popular category for iPad apps, with a 300-position yoga guide being one of the top selling downloads. Also hot is (I kid you not) a “Sleep Pillow Ambiance” white noise and relaxation sound effects app. Put your iPad near your pillow at night, set the timer, and relax.
Yes, young, male, pet-owning, traveling, organic-sprout-eating, Omega-3-popping new ager – Apple has the device for you.
The full infographic laying out BlueKai’s map of iPad affinities is at its blog.