Capitalizing on why people are online

in Internet Marketing Strategy

The Ruder Finn Intent Index surveys online users to determine the reasons they spend time online. The table to the right is a summary of the results published July 1, 2009 sequenced by category frequency.

The most frequent reasons people go online are to learn (88%), have fun (83%) and socialize (80%). The least frequent reason people go online is to shop (31%).

Some additional interesting results from the survey:

  • Seniors are going online today for the same reasons younger people are – to have fun (82%) and to socialize (80%).
  • The desire to learn drives people to the Internet – top areas are new subjects (68%), the world (65%), disease or medical condition (61%), eating healthier (55%) and managing finances (37%).
  • Almost half of people (47%) go online to learn to improve themselves and nearly one-third (31%) to find self-help experts or books.
  • 44% of people go online to create or update blogs and 42% of people go online to read other people’s blogs.
  • Three times as many people go online to compare prices (66%) versus people via dating sites (21%).
  • Top product categories people shop for online are household items (49%), electronics (45%), music (35%), movies (29%) and school or work supplies (29%).
  • More men (42%) than women (36%) go online to do business.
  • Women (48%) are more likely than men (39%) to go online to advocate for an issue or position.

This Intent Index provides some very useful demographic data and insights to consider for your business Internet marketing plans and activities.

How to use this information to benefit your business

Because only 31% of users are online with the primary intent to shop, businesses need to develop a comprehensive Internet marketing strategy to reach potential buyers through multiple channels:

  • The most frequent reason people go online is to learn. What educational content about your product/service/solution/industry can you provide to attract online users to your business and website?
  • How can you attract potential buyers from people seeking to have fun online? Are there relevant entertainment sites to target for advertising? Can you offer some appropriate means for people to pass time, be entertained or escape online?
  • Are you participating in Social Media Marketing to connect with people online?
  • Do you have a blog about a topic of interest related to your business to attract people who regularly go online to read blogs?
  • Review the detailed results of the Ruder Finn Intent Index to consider how you can fine tune your Internet marketing to get more customers and sales.

I will monitor updated results for this survey and post updates on any trends or additional insights.

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