Online Profiling Tips for Marketers

Online Profiling Tips for Marketers

Online profiling has been heavily used by marketers since at least the turn of the century. With the proliferation of users participating in online social networking sites in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic years can turn out to be banner years for building usable marketing research from social networking.

Traditional Online Profiling

Online profiling started with issuance of Internet cookies to anonymously track computers when a computer user landed on a website by either clicking on a link or by typing in a URL. This method is anonymous because the cookie, which is a data file that gets stored on the users’ computers, assigns an identification number to the computer versus reporting a computer user’s name.

Using the data stored in the cookie, companies could identify when visitors went to its website, how long they were there, links they clicked on, and other usage activities.

Among other advertising decisions, this information was used by marketers to decide which websites and where on the site to buy banner ads.

Updated Online Profiling

With all of the online social networking taking place over the past decade, there is a pile of marketing data available from the social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and

Two researchers, James Caverlee from Texas A & M University and Steve Webb from Georgia Tech, completed a study earlier of profiles in million. They wanted to report on the observations and implications of what is happening on the social networks.

In their study, they collected data on several areas including:

Sociability of users by looking at relationships, messaging, and group participation of the users

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Demographics such as gender, age, and location

Language or communication models the users employed

Collecting Marketing Data

Data has long been collected from consumers using customer surveys, census figures, credit card purchases, coupon usage, all of which record what has happened versus what is happening.

Real-time data is always more relevant and gathering social networking data is as about as real-time as one can get.

The social networking users have a habit of disclosing personal and professional data that they may not be as readily to share on items such as a survey or phone call. For most social networking, the user’s profile is a key factor to the networking portion. While the users may think that information is protected or hidden, more than likely the social networking site allows profile data collecting as stated in any privacy statements on the site.

These profiles are becoming more important to the marketing data research operation as more and more people socialize online.

Some interesting facts collected by Caverlee and Webb include:

Almost half of the profiles have been abandoned.

Women, ages 14 to 20 and men, ages 21 and up, are the most prevalent users.

Clear patterns of language use based on age, gender, and geographic location.

Inexpensive Marketing Data Collection

Surveys, telemarketing, response cards, inquiry methods, and other traditional methods of collecting marketing data are expensive, time-consuming, and most often show a historical picture. Online social networking profiling is less expensive, real-time, more than likely more honest and in-depth, and, now may be just the time to start giving this data collection tool a serious try.

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Why Businesses Should Use Online Marketing

The internet has taken over from traditional media as the main platform for doing effective business promotions and campaigns. Late last decade, the Interactive Advertising Outlook presented at the JP Morgan Chase Summit noted that the internet has become the fastest growing medium of advertising.

Besides other benefits of online marketing such as the ability to reach a global audience, and the ability to use different multimedia ad formats, the following offer compelling reasons why businesses of all sizes may consider using online marketing strategies like internet advertising, email campaigns, among others.

Increasing Number of Internet Users

All over the world, the number of people using the internet continues to increase on daily basis. IAB’s Interactive Advertising Outlook revealed internet users have continued to rise each day and thus increasing the potential for businesses to reach more of their target consumers online.

IAB had earlier mentioned that the percentage of US online adults using search engines increased from 15 percent to 26 percent each month. The average weekly hours spent online by potential business customers in the US also rose from 9.4 hours to 15 hours. This trend presents the greatest opportunity for businesses to attract more customers through cost-effective targeted online ads and campaigns.

Advertising on Social Networking Sites

The growing popularity of various social networking sites among millions of people around the world offers an additional reason why online marketing has become the most effective means of business promotion. In one of its research findings captioned, “Social Media Sites Already Exceed Television Reach,” the IAB provided statistics about a decade ago and this indicates an increasing patronage of social networking sites.

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The figures that were contained in the IAB’s Interactive Advertising Outlook were published on the public domain and it revealed that Blogger had the highest monthly unique visitors followed by : Facebook, WordPress, Twitter and more. Advertising on such networking sites therefore offers a great opportunity to reach the largest number of target consumers that any offline media can offer.

Online Spending by Consumers Increases

Besides the increasing number of internet users, findings by Scarborough Research, a leading US-based Consumer Research Company show that online spending on products and services among customers who use the internet is fast increasing. His study, titled “Understanding the Digital Savvy Consumer” found that digital savvy consumers are heavy spenders. The study also found that most online customers tend to be younger, male, affluent decision makers and usually use the internet for food, services, information and communication.

The increasing number of internet users boosted by the popularity of social networking sites like Facebook, twitter, Flickr, among others; combined with current increasing online spending by customers are strong reasons why businesses need to embark upon online marketing, promotions and campaigns.