According to a study by Booz-Allen & Hamilton and Nielsen//NetRatings, "Seize the Occasion - Usage-Based Segmentation for Marketers," there are seven categories of internet users based on market segmentation by "occasionalization." This new form of Internet market segmentation identifies consumer segments based on online usage occasions rather than on user-based characteristics, such as demographics or attitudinal data. In some of the seven categories, consumers are more likely to buy, in others they are nearly immune to traditional online marketing pleas.
Briefly, here are the "Seven Degrees of Internet Surfing" included in the study:
One minute sessions that center around visits to two or fewer familiar sites. Users spend about 15 seconds per page and may not notice any type of message as they collect the needed information and log off.
- Just the Facts
Users seeking specific pieces of information from known sites. At 9 minutes, these sessions share the aspect of rapid page views. These Users have a low propensity to buy.
- Single Mission
Users want to complete a certain task or gather specific information. Generally lasting 10 minutes, users venture into unfamiliar sites within a single category to find what they need. A well-targeted banner ad may provide a good return.
- Do It
14 minutes in length and are notable for 2-minute page views. 95% of the time is spent at sites the user has visited at least four times in the past. Users may react to site sponsorships that bring real content directly to the consumer.
At 33 minutes in length, with 2 minute page views, these sessions are leisurely visits to familiar "sticky" sites, such as news, games, telecommunications/ISP, and entertainment sites. A company undertaking a brand positioning campaign would focus on Loitering sessions.
- Information, Please
37 minutes long and are used to gather broad information from a range of sites. Users in these sessions are mostly going to familiar sites, and linger on a page that piques their interest, giving marketers an opportunity to expose them to different messages.
Surfing sessions are the longest, averaging 70 minutes, with hits on nearly 45 sites in a typical session. Time per page is a minute or more. Surfers usually spend time on sites with lots of content, giving marketers opportunities to build branding awareness or sponsor content.
The study claims to show that successful e-tailers, marketers and advertisers will change their approach from one size fits all to a series of parallel sites targeted to appeal to multiple usage occasions.
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