Survey reveals different digital divide

Jason Shoebridge, managing director of TNS New Zealand, says companies wanting to have meaningful connections with customers online need to understand how different types of people use online media in different ways.

The Kiwi company is part of the giant TNS global market research and business consultancy network.

Shoebridge says ‘functional’ people, for example, see the internet as largely irrelevant to their life, use the net very pragmatically and do not look to express themselves online.

At the opposite end of the axis are the ‘influencers’ for whom the net is an integral part of their life and who are passionate social networkers.

In between are ‘aspirers’, ‘networkers’, ‘knowledge-seekers’ and ‘communicators’.

Digital Life classifies almost quarter of New Zealanders as ‘functionals’, while 16 percent of us are ‘influencers’.

Shoebridge says the Digital Life survey, which mines online attitudes and behaviours, is the most comprehensive research of its type.

It pulls together the opinions of 72,000 people across 60 countries and includes responses from 1000 New Zealanders.

It investigates wide range of online behaviours including social activities, shopping, knowledge and news gathering, administration and gaming.

Shoebridge says brand owners need to be aware that customers can influence non-customers in social networks.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents to the Digital Life survey reported they use other people’s comments online to help them short-cut their decisions about brands.

Fifty-seven percent of people also agreed that user comments are more credible than comments originating from the brand itself.

TNS director David Thomas says his company plans to develop trend data over the next few years.



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