Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Behavior of consumers online

I am usually not a person that spends too much time on the internet; well I used to not be. Since being in school I have been spending a lot more time on the internet in order to do research, pay tuition, enroll in classes and even to be in attendance for some classes. I now find myself watching TV, surfing the web and eating dinner at the same time. I will see an advertisement on TV and immediately check it out online which then tends to spark another interest, I’ll usually open up another window and search that online at the same time, all while communicating with friends on Myspace or Facebook. Most of us have grown to use multiple devices at once and often for the same things. You can watch TV commercials for advertisements, look up sites online and check for locations of nearest stores on your cell phone or GPS. So what is consumer behavior like online? What types of behaviors do marketers have to consider and cater their advertisements to?
I think one of the main things for me is the speed at which a page uploads. If it is taking a page a while to upload onto my screen then I am most likely to hit the stop button and go back. This is a challenge for marketers because everyone has different computers, different devices, and different speeds of internet connections. So marketers must decide to accommodate their sites to slower users or faster users. When accommodating to slower users they must lower the use of graphics and aim more towards the use of text, which loads faster. (Strauss, 2009) On the other hand, accommodating to fast uses would pretty much not include slow users because of the time it would take to upload the page. With the transition into mobile marketing I think it would be wise to accommodate both groups and to create a site for slow users and a site for faster users. The slow page would allow mobile devices to connect quicker than if multiple graphics had to upload. It would still be appropriate to create a page full of graphics because of the interest and interaction it would invoke from consumers.
There are different types of consumers online and marketers have to attempt reach to all of them. Some consumers are obviously going to be very direct and go to exactly what sites they want and take care of business. But according to Haejin’s report there is this centaur between traditional consumers and cyber consumers which creates this kind of hybrid consumer who is a combination of traditional and cyber, rational and emotional, wired and physical. There are also 7 types of users that she says fit into this Centaur. Connectors who are those who are new users and do more offline purchasing; samplers are light users, simplifiers are efficiency seekers; routiners are those who go online for information but are not really interested in shopping; surfers are heavy users that spend lots of time online and search multiple domains; bargainers are mostly online for price comparison and are shopping for the best buy; and funsters are those who are looking for information in entertainment-oriented domains. (Yun, 2002) It seems to me that eventually a majority of the marketing strategies are going to be targeted toward online users so it will be important to try to connect with all these different users without being too much of a hassle. Pop-ups are a great way of marketing but they seem to annoy consumers, I know I don’t like them, and pop-up blockers have been developed which seems to have decrease the prevalence of them. I think it is best if a marketer creates a page that is user friendly, interactive (to accommodate “funsters”), price competitive (“bargainers”) and eye-catching at the same time. The competition online is far greater than anywhere else and marketers face a huge challenge reaching out to consumers, establishing their name and accommodating to the needs of all different types of users.
It was shown that worldwide the average user went online 34 times in one month and spent about 56 minutes per session and viewed approximately 1,500 pages each month. (Strauss, 2009) So what do people do while they are online? 92 percent of United States users spend time sending or reading an email and 39 percent of people spend time sending instant messages. This is just the percents of how people connect with others via the internet. Consumers spend time usually doing one of the following: connecting, creating, enjoying, learning, or trading. (Strauss, 2009) Many use the internet for all of them. I know I use MySpace and Facebook to connect with others. I have now created my own blog. I watch videos online. I complete a lot of my research for school online and I use the internet to pay some of my bills. As marketers, it is important to recognize the trend at the time and where people are spending a lot of their time when on the web so that you can focus on reaching out to them in the areas of the web which they frequently spend time. A great example of this is the large number of businesses who have added themselves on Facebook to connect with those in the social networks. Many people like to instant message and I think it would be a great idea for a business to consider instant messaging as a way of communicating with consumers to answer questions and concerns. I think it is more convenient then calling a call center or emailing a concern and waiting for a reply.
Aside from user behavior online it is also very important to consider the user behavior with their mobile devices. When thinking about accessing the internet I know that I and many others still think of sitting at a computer or laptop and accessing from there. Well as I have mentioned many times prior and as many probably already know, internet use is growing on mobile devices and the behavior of consumer is going to be very different from that of online users. It is going to be a more direct way of marketing then we have seen before because it will reach consumers immediately, whenever and wherever they are. Consumers are also going to be able to access whenever and wherever they are. I think it will call for a quicker response and gratification. Consumers are going to want to find what they are looking for quickly and get their answer immediately. This will require marketers to use better keywords and I think brand marketing will become more important. This is because if they know the exact name of a brand that provides the service they are looking for then they are going to be more likely to search that name then to search a general description of the service needed (i.e. printing company). Keywords are important no matter what because search engine are so large and pull from so many different sites that it is important to know exactly what you have to offer and the consumer can pull from that instantly.
The following is a “Did You Know?” video which I found on YouTube which gives different statistics about technology, the growth of technology, the uses of technology and the countries which certain technologies are in high use and expected to grow even more (just to name a few). It is a pretty neat video to check out and it really gets you thinking about how much change and growth has happened in the last 10 – 20 years. I think these facts and stats are great for marketers to check out and consider when creating their marketing plans, designing their websites and developing their target market. The fact that Facebook reached 50 million people in 2 years is amazing and really shows how the internet allows so many people to be reached in so little time. Viral marketing! The opportunities are there and they are endless.

Did you know? (n.d.). Retrieved from YouTube:

Strauss, J. (2009). E-Marketing. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

Yun, H. (2002, October 24). Consumer Behavior Online. Retrieved June 2, 2009, from

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