Psychographic breakdown indicates best targets for marketers

Content-sharing is a common currency for women online, and most use the internet to some extent for word-of-mouth. Some key influencer groups rely on online communication more than others, and some subgroups are power users of social networking sites who use them as a major communication tool to get the word out about brands—and anything else—they love.

AOL and Bovitz Research Group broke the online female population down into several identity segments based on their values, habits and characteristics.

The research found that the smallest groups overall were the most active online and contributed the most to online word-of-mouth. Social expressionistas, which make up just 8% of the online female population, were overwhelmingly the most likely to say that they use the internet as a way to express their views and that they interact online with people like themselves. According to AOL, the social expressionista “defines herself as using the web to connect with others and to express her views, her art, and her projects.”

Other groups, like shopsessives (7%), businesswireds (15%) and alpha trendsetters (13%) liked spreading the word about brands more, but the research suggested they were somewhat less likely to do so on the web.

Online and Offline Communication Activities of US Female Internet Users, by Identity Segment, March 2011 (% of respondents in each group)

Social expressionistas’ love of spreading the word online translates to a love of social networking sites. Nearly nine in 10 social expressionistas said social networks were their favorite type of site, 13 percentage points above the next group, alpha trendsetters. Social networks are vital to them as the location where they interact with like-minded people and express their views.

US Female Internet Users Who Say Social Networks Are Their Favorite Sites*, by Identity Segment, March 2011 (% of respondents in each group)

According to the report, the best way for marketers to encourage buzz among social expressionistas is to make them part of a dialogue and give them the opportunity to play with brand assets and use them to create their own content.

Alpha trendsetters participate online at less discussion-oriented sites, but still like to spread the word about products and ideas—and be the first one to know about them. Early access to new items and information is a powerful currency among this group.

SOURCE eMarketer

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