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Online Behaviour in 2007 February 2, 2007

Posted by alwilliams in Marketing Strategy.

Today I went to an interesting seminar at the IAB on “Online Behaviour”, where up to date statistics were provided by BMRB and other speakers discussed what they thought online behaviour would be like in 2007. 

There is now nothing new with the figures.  ABC1’s dominate Internet use, while the ‘laggard’ D2E’s are increasingly adopting the medium as technology prices fall.  Web 2.0 was also obviously present as usual, with the familiar debate on what constitutes Web 2.0 exactly and whether it actually exists.  Yes it does- as a superficial term which actually refers to social networking technology and its use in websites.  What was interesting about this however was the observation that certain social or Web 2.0 properties were more ‘real’ than others.  This is interesting mainly because the implication of this is not immediately apparent.  The adobe.com and Cardomain.com communities are prime examples of ‘real’ in this context, in that their subject is based in the real world.  It is asseted that on the other side of the scale is more fantasy based sites including MySpace.  But why MySpace?  It is suggested that MySpace offers a predominantly online community and one not actually based “in the real world” and one would concur.  Numerous conversations about the nature of MySpace friends and indeed news reports centre on the quality of ‘friends’ within this environment.  Below is an excerpt of a conversation taken from my email and discusses the relatively superficial relationships that MySpace is used to develop or maintain. 

-----Original Message----- 
Subject: [SPAM] RE: [SPAM] RE: [spam] RE: [SPAM] RE: [spam] RE: RE: UK Road Tax
……dont get me wrong, i am an addict, and i enjoy looking at the pretty pictures, and seeing the comments that others have left on their page, but leave a comment myself, heaven forbid i have to leave a comment myself, what
if they look on my page, at my pictures and comments.  whos stalking you?
all stalking aside though, is it sad to say that myspace actually gives me a
personality  where maybe i didnt have one before.  i can put music and
puictures, and i think i have created a profile where i seem more
interesting than i actually am. so what if....by some miracle .......
one of these stalkees actually wants to meet up with me...  im
sorry,.....but we're just not that cool.

Subject: RE: [SPAM] RE: [spam] RE: [SPAM] RE: [spam] RE:
UK Road Tax
>>Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2007 10:46:07 -0000
……I have recently been very involved with myspace and have used it as a tool

>>to stalk people....and perv.  Sometimes on the fruity occasion telling
>>people their faces look nice...and express my desire to touch it.
>>However, maybe it isn't such a negative thing. Some people might like
>>being stalked.  I don't think I would mind being stalked by myself.
>>It's also a great replacement for swapping mobile numbers at a party or
>>festival... Instead of swapping numbers I have found myself swapping user
>>names.  In my eyes it is a more casual way of keeping in touch with those
>>'randoms' you don't feel close enough (or be bothered) to call or get time
>>to text.
>>Not only is it a great way to keep in touch with people at your leisure it
>>is a more creative way to keep in touch with people.... using photos,
>>videos etc....
>>Anyway I think I could write for hours about myspace.... best stop there 

This is crucial in digital marketing strategy as these two environments need treating very differently.  It has been well demonstrated that advertisers are more successful when they add to the environment there are in, while fitting in.  When considering community or ‘web 2.0’ sites that are based on more ‘real’ subjects compared with those that are more ‘fantasy’ based (for example role playing communities), fitting in requires a different approach.  If a marketer were for example to pretend to be a loyal toyota customer, when they were in fact working for the company, this breach of trust in a real environment is likely to attract backlash from the community.  On the other hand if a marketer were to set up a MySpace profile or integrate themselves in virtual worlds, in a playful way that adds to the environment (or in the case of sports games add realism) then there is no pretense other than what is created in that community.  This is a highly black and white view however and reaction by communities depends on a variety of factors.  Never the less the consideration that realism influences a communities trust of marketing communication is rarely touched upon, but upon investigation actually should play a role in marketing planning.


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