[PRNewswire] According to the Ruder Finn Intent Index, more than 4 in 5 people (80%) go online to socialize, which is twice as many as those who go online to shop or do business. Online business isn't dead but marketers who can't connect with their consumers' intent do so at their own peril.
"Intent is the new demographic," said Kathy Bloomgarden, Ruder Finn co-CEO. "Delving deeper into the underlying motivations of online behavior is critical to developing proactive strategies. Just being online is not enough to leverage digital channels to drive business imperatives. Audiences must be targeted based upon their intent."
Ruder Finn, one of the world's largest public relations agencies, unveiled its Intent Index today, an online tool that provides a new view on why people go online and redefines how we look at demographics: www.ruderfinn.com/intent.
"The Intent Index shows a congruency and similarity among Internet users regardless of traditional demographics," said Marty McGough, Director of Ruder Finn Insights. "This marks a real paradigm shift in how we use online communications tools."
Based on a study among Internet users that asks respondents how frequently they go online for 295 reasons, the Intent Index shows that a person's intent may be a better indicator for how to develop a communications campaign than demographic formulas.
Michael Schubert, Chief Innovation Officer overseeing digital strategy at Ruder Finn said, "The way the Internet has allowed us to share knowledge laterally instead of up the chain of command requires a new way of thinking about our online communications. The Intent Index underscores the importance of knowing what people seek, and how we, as communicators, can intersect with what they're looking for."
The Intent Index shows how critical it is, when communicating on the web, to gain deep insight into user intent, and how the right message, at the right place, at the right time is more important than ever. Updated quarterly and with the capability of being narrowed down for specific industries, the Intent Index will help businesses improve the context and utility of their online marketing content.
Intent Index Survey Results
More than twice as many people go online to socialize (81%) than to do business (39%) or shop (31%).
72% of people go online just to become part of a community.
Seniors are going online today for the same reasons younger people are; to have fun (82%) and to socialize (80%).
More people go online to connect via a social networking site (41%) than to post comments or opinions (34%).
More people go online to be entertained (82%) than entertain others (48%).
People seek education and entertainment: most people go online both to learn (88%) and have fun (83%).
Almost half of people (47%) go online to learn to improve themselves and nearly one-third (31%) to find self-help experts or books.
The desire to learn drives people to the Internet; top areas are new subjects (68%), the world (65%), a disease or condition (61%), eating healthier (55%) and managing finances (37%).
Shop/Engage in Commerce
Three times as many people go online to compare prices (66%) rather than people via dating sites (21%).
E-commerce isn't dead -- one-third of people (34%) go online to purchase an item; tops are household items (49%), electronics (45%); music (35%), movies (29%), and school/work supplies (29%).
More men (42%) than women (36%) go online to do business.
Women comment, men read: 55% of women go online to find venues for personal expression compared to only 43% of men.
The age of blogs: 44% of people go online to create or update blogs and 42% of people go online to read other people's blogs.
The Internet offers young people the escape through anonymity they seek out: nearly half (48%) go online to be invisible on instant messaging, 29% to create an avatar and 28% to be somewhat different.
Women (48%) are much more likely than men (39%) to go online to advocate for an issue or position.
New Study of Online Behavior Focuses on User Intent: Underscores Need for New Approaches in Digital Communication