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Beyond Influence: Reaching High Value, Engaged, Influential Consumers

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This report is devoted to the new class of influencers as digital puts influence at more fingertips than ever: 45% of the population we term Influentials, and 20% of uber-influencers we term …

This report is devoted to the new class of influencers as digital puts influence at more fingertips than ever: 45% of the population we term Influentials, and 20% of uber-influencers we term Pollinators; and the niche sites that form their primary feeding and spreading ground. It's through these niche sites that marketers can most effectively source mass impact in a digital world. This new audience dynamic has profound implications for how marketers can effectively approach digital media.

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  • Thank you and Welcome. You’ll see from the title of this presentation that we are going to be talking about the power of niche passion based media. Through this research we talked to people who some may identify as influencers. What we learned through this exercise is that there is a new powerful segment that has emerged online…and we are excited to speak to you about how this segment of connected and influential both consumes and discusses online content.
  • The genesis of the research really was spending time on the sites within our network. Reading comments on tennis.com, GAYOT or sportscardigest. The readers of these sites are engaged and passionate. These are verbatims we heard in our research about why they love specific long tail sites that they visit. We knew that their was something different about both the readers and their relationships with the niche sites and we set out to quantify these differences.
  • What are the differences demographically, psychographically and behaviorally of these important audiences?Specifically, what is the “share of heart” that passion baded niche sites play in their overall media ecosystemAnd…most importantly, for those of you in this roo, how can you leverage these niche based passion media to engage with these influencers?
  • We partnered with Added Value to conduct a survey of online users aged 18-65 who were passionate about one of these 15 content categories. Some of the content areas were broader (news, technology, food & wine) and some very specific (skiing, yachting, aviation), …Since we recognized that many of these content categories appeal to affluent consumers we made sure that we had enough respondents with HHI $100K+.within our Internet representative sample. We also supplemented the sample through recruitment on Martini sites.
  • Because we refer to the term “niche site” we wanted to define it very clearly up front. I happen to be a tennis enthusiast. While I could read about the French Open on Yahoo! Sports or ESPN, in our terminology those are portals or general content sites respectively.Niche sites are vertically focused and go very deep on a specific content area. 57% of those sampled from the online panel visit a niche site related to one of the 15 topic areas we had outlined.Our hypothesis was that engagement and “share of heart” of content is higher on the niche sites related to these passion areas. A ferrari owner is going to feel more engaged on ferrarilife.com than he would on car and driver.
  • I want to back up a little and talk a little about the notion of influencers. This is a model from 1962 very similar to what I learned in a marketing class 25 years afterwards. The otion is that innovators and early adopters represent only 16% of consumers. This model is no longer applicable in today’s world of tweeting and foursquare. Today, allmost everyone has the opportunity to influence others about areas that they are passionate about – and not only within their personal network of friends, family and colleagues, but also the broader web.
  • I want to back up a little and talk a little about the notion of influencers. This is a model from 1962 very similar to what I learned in a marketing class 25 years afterwards. The otion is that innovators and early adopters represent only 16% of consumers. This model is no longer applicable in today’s world of tweeting and foursquare. Today, allmost everyone has the opportunity to influence others about areas that they are passionate about – and not only within their personal network of friends, family and colleagues, but also the broader web.
  • Before we get into the results it’s important to discuss how with Added Value we thought about influentials. 1st these users had to be engaged in one of the 15 categories we outlined (ranging from style to finance to skiing). Secondly they had to use the Internet at least weekly to get information within that category.Next we asked questions about what they do to influence other people about the category. And these five statements ranged from “talk about/share my opinions’ to ‘I am the first to try new products/servives’ to “I blog about the category.’Our a priori assumption was that if respondents conducted two or more of these activities we would consider them influencers.What we found is that there is a significant subset that not only conducts two of these outline behaviors but ALL five of them.
  • Before we get into the results it’s important to discuss how with Added Value we thought about influentials. 1st these users had to be engaged in one of the 15 categories we outlined (ranging from style to finance to skiing). Secondly they had to use the Internet at least weekly to get information within that category.Next we asked questions about what they do to influence other people about the category. And these five statements ranged from “talk about/share my opinions’ to ‘I am the first to try new products/servives’ to “I blog about the category.’Our a priori assumption was that if respondents conducted two or more of these activities we would consider them influencers.What we found is that there is a significant subset that not only conducts two of these outline behaviors but ALL five of them.
  • Before we get into the results it’s important to discuss how with Added Value we thought about influentials. 1st these users had to be engaged in one of the 15 categories we outlined (ranging from style to finance to skiing). Secondly they had to use the Internet at least weekly to get information within that category.Next we asked questions about what they do to influence other people about the category. And these five statements ranged from “talk about/share my opinions’ to ‘I am the first to try new products/servives’ to “I blog about the category.’Our a priori assumption was that if respondents conducted two or more of these activities we would consider them influencers.What we found is that there is a significant subset that not only conducts two of these outline behaviors but ALL five of them.
  • A quick visual on how all of this stacks up. – For our purposes we are considering general population the group that did not qualify as influentials either because they weren’t interested in one of these fifteen categories, they did not go online weekly to get information about the category – or, they might be casually interested but don’t broadcast their opinions. Only 35% fell into this general population subset (which speaks to the democratization of influence).When we looked at our original definition – sometimes or frequently doing two of the broadcasting activities – 65% of our respondents were classified as Influentials. When we looked at the more stringent definition – all five broadcasting activities – 20% were considered “uber-influentials” – a group that we define as “pollinators”. With the risk of taking this metaphor too far – these pollinators are attracted to the “nectar”of these niche, passion based sites and pollinating their ideas and opinions both online and offline.
  • Now that we have identified these groups of Influentials and the subset of Pollinators let’s profile how they differ from the rest of the internet population.
  • This spider chart illustrates the percentage of each segment that is interested in the 15 categories we profiled – you can see that for general categories like travel, news and technology 70-75% of the online pop. is interested in these categories. What you can also see by the is that influencers are even more engaged in these categories while pollinators are the most interested.
  • The difference is even more extreme when you get into golf luxury or classic autos and aviation.
  • We also asked respondents about the different resources that they used to stay up to date on that topic area. Not surprisingly, all three groups almost universally use the internet for news, weekly, but 3 in 4 pollinators are also accessing content about technology, food & wine, finance and the arts at least weekly. Influentials are also more likely to access content weekly online versus the general population.
  • Even more surprising was that half of pollinators claim to be accessing news on these special interest sports and lifestyle categories at least weekly.
  • There are not only behavioral differences but also psychographic differences among these three segments. Three in four Pollinators agree that is important to live life to its fullest. Perhaps to enable that wish, they are also the group most likely to feel the need to make a lot of money, pay attention to their appearance and feel it’s important to stand out from the crowd. Aain, the Influentials fall in between these two segments. Also focused on living life to the fullest, but not necessarily standing out from the crowd.
  • Interesting, pollinators are the group most cautious about making major purchases given today’s economic climate. In that vein, they are the group most likely to do extensive research on a new considered purchase. But they are also more likely to buy the latest luxury brand (even if it is just an upgrade) and are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products.
  • when we asked about likelihood to but auto and technology items in the next six months, pollinators were the group most likely to buy a new car in the next six months and the group most likely to consider a luxury car the next time they make a car purchase. Across the board, pollinators are a group more likely to own different electronics (or be in the market to purchase them). One stat which jumped at me was 1 in 5 pollinators owning an iPad (compared to 9% and 5% of influentials and GP respectively). 60% spend more than $1K annually on technology products.
  • We asked about spending in some of the passion areas, and not surprisingly, even within specific categories like travel or golf, pollinators far outspend influentials and the rest of the internet. Here we show the median spend across passion categories which is 7x for pollinators compared to non-influentialsAgain, a key difference among the pollinators is their relationship with brands – they are twice as likely to agree that brands not only reflection who they are bust also help them feel more confident.
  • We asked about spending in some of the passion areas, and not surprisingly, even within specific categories like travel or golf, pollinators far outspend influentials and the rest of the internet. Here we show the median spend across passion categories which is 7x for pollinators compared to non-influentialsAgain, a key difference among the pollinators is their relationship with brands – they are twice as likely to agree that brands not only reflection who they are bust also help them feel more confident.
  • And, perhaps it is precisely this awareness of the importance of brands - pollinators are the group most likely to talk about brands, products and ads (both the good and the bad). Influentials are not quite as well connected as pollinators, but they also tell their friends about the good and bad experiences
  • We saw on the previous slide that ¾ of pollinators consider themselves well connected and social in the “real world.” Their online behavior mirrors…they also have larger online networks with whom to speak about products and ads. 50% have more than 100 contacts in their online personal networks, compared to only 30% of influentials and 20% of general online pop. They also are more likely to have a larger professsional network online.And they access these networks daily. Compared to the general population Influentials are 1.3x more likely to visit facebook daily and pollinators are twice as likely. These indices are really high considering facebook’s high reach. When we look at twitter and Linked in, not surprisingly these indices are off the chart. 27% of pollinators visit twitter daily and 17% visit Linked In daily).
  • We’ve focused on the psychographic differences between these segments. When we look at the demographics, the key differences were in age – 61% of Pollinators are 18-39, gender (2/3 are male) and education – both influentals and pollinators are more educated.
  • Now let’s tie this back to the niche sites that we defined earlier.
  • We saw earlier that 57% of the online pop visits niche websites. 4 in 5 pollinators visit niche sites related to their passion areas (compared to only 40% of the rest of the internet).
  • Not only are they visiting niche sites to fuel their passion, but they are also sharing information by posting a comment, emailing an article, posting to facebook and tweeting about something they read. More importantly 7 in 10 pollinators made a purchase and recommended something to a friend based on reading about it on a niche site.
  • When we probed on the appeal of niche sites (compared to portals and general sites) we heard some of the same things we saw in the quotes in the beginning of the presentation. It is topic expertise, getting the inside scoop, making me feel like an expert, finding likeminded people and helping with purchase recommendations.
  • We also asked specifically about their perceptions to advertising on niche sites. Respondents were more positively inclined to ads on niche sites versus other types of sites and far less negative. One of the reasons they were so positive is that they felt the advertising was more relevant on these niche, passion based sites. And, this refers to any advertising on the site, not just a Head racket ad on tennis.com
  • We’ve taken you through a lot of data and information. Just to summarize what we think are the three main takeaways…
  • I look forward to the active discussion which will ensue from our panel and what everyone else takes away from this presentation. For marketers it’s important to stress three opportunities.Clearly pollinators and influentials are willing to buy premium brands and spend more money across different product categories. They are also the groups most likely to extensively do their homework beforehand. As a marketer make sure that you can provide enough information in the ad unit or landing page to make them do a deep dive on your product features and benefits.Both segments are the most connected and are accessing facebook, twitter and LinkedIn regularly. They will talk about both the good and the bad of both brands and ads. Make sure you not only have something good for them to broadcast within their network, but also make it as easy as possible for them to connect within the network of their choice.We also saw that the “share of heart” with these niche sites stems not only from the topic area, but also the unique point of view. When possible, tailor your creative or messaging to resonate with these audiences. They are more likely to notice your ads than on a portal or general content site, make sure that you capitalize on that opportunity.
  • I look forward to the active discussion which will ensue from our panel and what everyone else takes away from this presentation. For marketers it’s important to stress three opportunities.Clearly pollinators and influentials are willing to buy premium brands and spend more money across different product categories. They are also the groups most likely to extensively do their homework beforehand. As a marketer make sure that you can provide enough information in the ad unit or landing page to make them do a deep dive on your product features and benefits.Both segments are the most connected and are accessing facebook, twitter and LinkedIn regularly. They will talk about both the good and the bad of both brands and ads. Make sure you not only have something good for them to broadcast within their network, but also make it as easy as possible for them to connect within the network of their choice.We also saw that the “share of heart” with these niche sites stems not only from the topic area, but also the unique point of view. When possible, tailor your creative or messaging to resonate with these audiences. They are more likely to notice your ads than on a portal or general content site, make sure that you capitalize on that opportunity.
  • I look forward to the active discussion which will ensue from our panel and what everyone else takes away from this presentation. For marketers it’s important to stress three opportunities.Clearly pollinators and influentials are willing to buy premium brands and spend more money across different product categories. They are also the groups most likely to extensively do their homework beforehand. As a marketer make sure that you can provide enough information in the ad unit or landing page to make them do a deep dive on your product features and benefits.Both segments are the most connected and are accessing facebook, twitter and LinkedIn regularly. They will talk about both the good and the bad of both brands and ads. Make sure you not only have something good for them to broadcast within their network, but also make it as easy as possible for them to connect within the network of their choice.We also saw that the “share of heart” with these niche sites stems not only from the topic area, but also the unique point of view. When possible, tailor your creative or messaging to resonate with these audiences. They are more likely to notice your ads than on a portal or general content site, make sure that you capitalize on that opportunity.
  • Now that we have identified these groups of Influentials and the subset of Pollinators let’s profile how they differ from the rest of the internet population.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Beyond Influence
      Reaching high value, engaged, Influential consumers
    • 2. Why This Research
      Online Publishing has created a proliferation of high quality vertical content websites
      These passion-based sites have higher “share of heart”among their audience
      They provide a forum for sharing opinions
      …this site gives me the capacity to enjoy the game of golf with friends from all over the world...how cool is that?
      I like that they focus solely on one thing
      Mostly because of the expertise of the people writing at the niche sites
      Niche sites contain a lot of detailed information for a specific subject or topic.  Some of this information is difficult at best to find in a global search or a more general website.
    • 3. Research Objectives
      Who is engaged with these “niche” websites?
      How does this audience differ from non-niche site visitors?
      What role do these sites play in the overall media ecosystem?
      What is the “share of heart?”
      How can marketers leverage these sites to engage with an important and influential audience?
    • 4. Methodology
      20 Minutes
      Online
      Apr 29 – May 4 2011
      Consumers engaged in following & shopping these categories:
    • 5. What is a Niche Passion-Based Site?
      Niche or Themed Websites are sites that focus specifically on a single passion area or topic.
      Niche Site users among Panel Sample
      57% - Niche Site Users
      This is in contrast to Portals or General sites which offer general content on a variety of topics.
    • 6. Who is an “Influential” – Marketers’ Sweet Spot
      The 1962 Model:
      16% of consumers were Influential
    • 7. Who is an “Influential” – Marketers’ Sweet Spot
      The 1962 Model:
      16% of consumers were Influential
      Before the online revolution that empowered consumers and the way they shopped.
    • 8. Key Definitions & Incidence
      Influentialswere defined as:
      Must be ‘Extremely’ or ‘Somewhat Interested’ in at least one of the passion categories
      Must use the internet to get information at least weekly for selected category
    • 9. Key Definitions & Incidence
      Influentialswere defined as:
      Must ‘Frequently’ or ‘Sometimes’ do two of the following for selected category:
      • Talk about/share my opinions on [CATEGORY]
      • 10. Make recommendations to others before they make a purchase
      • 11. Am the first to try new products/services
      • 12. Share opinions on [CATEGORY] in online forums (Facebook updates or Likes/Twitter/message boards/online reviews etc)
      • 13. Blog about [CATEGORY]
    • Key Definitions & Incidence
      Influentialswere defined as:
      Must ‘Frequently’ or ‘Sometimes’ do two of the following for selected category:
      • Talk about/share my opinions on [CATEGORY]
      • 14. Make recommendations to others before they make a purchase
      • 15. Am the first to try new products/services
      • 16. Share opinions on [CATEGORY] in online forums (Facebook updates or Likes/Twitter/message boards/online reviews etc)
      • 17. Blog about [CATEGORY]
      Pollinators show the same behavior as above, except they must ‘Frequently’ or ‘Sometimes’ do ALL of the above (Talk about, Make Recommendations…etc.) for selected category…
    • 18. Influence is More Widespread Today
      Online Users
      20%
      Pollinators
      (34MM)
      45%
      Influentials
      (77MM)
      35%
      General Population
      (60MM)
    • 19. Getting to know Pollinators & Influentials
    • 20. Pollinators are passionate consumers with diverse interests
      Influential
      GP
      Pollinator
      Category Interest (Top2box)
    • 21. Special interest sports and leisure find a solid base of fans among Pollinators
      Influential
      GP
      Pollinator
      Category Interest (Top2box)
    • 22. The Internet feeds Pollinators’ hunger for information
      Use the Internet to follow category news/trends (At least weekly)
      Influential
      GP
      Pollinator
      44%
      10%
    • 23. Internet as a “go to” source for special interestsports and leisure as well
      Use the Internet to follow category news/trends (At least weekly)
      Influential
      GP
      Pollinator
    • 24. Consumerism as a means to “live well” and “stand out” seems to be the mantra of Pollinators
      58
      68
      77
      Live life to fullest
      Personal Values (Top2box%)
      Influential
      GP
      Pollinator
      Need to make a lot of money
      Like to stand out from the crowd
      55
      59
      23
      40
      11
      27
      37
      42
      68
      Pay attention to appearance
    • 25. They are avid consumers who are also cautious – being informed makes them more willing to spend
      Consumer Behavior (Top2box)
      27%
      19%
      More cautious about major purchases vs. 5 years ago
      Make sure to know a lot about premium brand purchases
      Willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products
      Might buy an expensive luxury brand even if it's only an upgrade/latest version
    • 26. And their spending patterns reflect these attitudes
      Purchase Intention
    • 27. For Pollinators, the brands they use make a personal statement and they’re willing to spend on them
      Influential
      GP
      Pollinator
      Median. annual spend in “passion category”
      $2,500
      $500
      $3,450
    • 28. For Pollinators, the brands they use make a personal statement and they’re willing to spend on them
      Influential
      GP
      Pollinator
      Consumer Attitudes (Top2box)
      Median. annual spend in “passion category”
      $2,500
      $500
      $3,450
      Brands I buy reflect who I am
      Wearing/owning lux. brands makes me stand up and walk tall
    • 29. Pollinators and Influentialsare strong brand advocates
      Influential
      GP
      Pollinator
      Brand Advocacy Attitudes (Top2box)
      I go out of my way to recommend good products & brands to my friends & family
      A good brand is worth talking about
      I make sure people know if I have a bad brand experience
      I consider myself social and well-connected
      I often tell friends about products that interest me
      A good ad is worth talking about
    • 30. Pollinators have wider personal and professional networks online & offline
      Influential
      GP
      Pollinator
      Network size: % have more than 100 contacts
      Daily Use (compared to GP)
    • 31. Pollinators tend to be younger, male, more educated and not necessarily the highest earners – but active consumers
      Demographic Profile
    • 32. Niche Sites & the Pollinator connection
    • 33. “Pollinators” and Influentials are drawn to Niche Sites
      Proportion of Niche Site Users in the 3 groups
      Pollinators
      Influentials
      General Population (GP)
      Niche Site User
      Niche Site Non-User
    • 34. Consumers find relevant info on Niche Sites that’s “shareworthy “ & shapes purchase decisions
      Influential
      GP
      Pollinator
      Activities Done Based on Visiting Niche Site
      Posted a comment
      Tweeted about the article
      Shared an article via email
      Made a purchase
      Posted to Facebook
      Recommended to a friend
    • 35. Niche sites foster a like-minded, positive environment and provide deeper insights & info
      Among Niche Site Users
    • 36. Consumers are more receptive to ads on niche sites – relevance & engagement are key
      Reaction to Ads
      More positive
      More negative
      Shows advertising that is more relevant to me
    • 37. Key Takeaways
      Influence has become more mainstream given digital and social tools
      Pollinators are influencers 2.0 - brand savvy, digital savvy and networked audience
      Pollinators have diverse (and specific) interests and leverage the Internet extensively to connect with their passion areas
      Niche sites appeal to this audience because of the specificity, community and expert point of view
    • 38. Implications for Marketers: Marketing
      Implications
      Insight
      Influentialsand Pollinators are willing to buy premium brands, but need to do their homework
      These segments are more likely to use social tools to connect with their large networks
      Provide enough information to make them feel comfortable about product selection
      Ensure you have a social component in your creative to help them connect with and broadcast your message
    • 39. Implications for Marketers: Creative
      Implications
      Insight
      Part of the appeal of niche sites is the specificity and unique point of view
      To best engage with these audiences, marketers should tailor their messaging to these specific environments
    • 40. Implications for Marketers: Media
      Implications
      Insight
      Pollinators are putting niche sites first to engage with their passion areas
      These audiences can be hard to reach buying media historically
      Marketers should be putting pollinators at the center of the media buy. Marketers should have these audiences as a priority when planning digital media
      Today’s content networks allow for media efficiency
    • 41. Thank You
      Visit www.martinimediainc.com to learn more about reaching this audience…

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