July 25, 2001
How To

Rich Media Advertising Tips to Reach the Six Different Types of Web Surfers

SUMMARY: How do you make a \"good\" rich media campaign in terms of something that will get a decent response rate even when the \"startled you into looking\" factor goes away? 

New research from Content Generators reveals there are six very different types of Web surfers. Click here to learn more about them, and the rich media ad tactics that will specifically appeal to each group: (BTW: \"Rich media\" is the term for any online ad that's \"richer\" than a plain old flat HTML. It may have audio, Flash animation, etc.).
Part of it is just advertising greatness. The kind of thing that makes a handful of campaigns every year memorable regardless of media or richness. (Can you imagine what David Ogilvy would have done with rich media?)

Part of it is really understanding your prospect. This week, we got highly useful data from Tracey Shirtcliff, President ContentGenerators.com, that may shed some light on rich media success. According to Shirtcliff, whose company focuses on tracking exactly how people use content on the Internet (and then creating content that will please them) there are at least six very different types of surfers online today -- each of whom interacts with your content in a very different way.

So, for your rich media ad to work well it must work in a way that "pleases" the type of surfer you are after. Or at least in a way that doesn't displease the majority of them.

Here are the six types along with our rich media ad suggestions for each of them.

1. "Quickies" -- only go online for very brief sessions, often less than a minute. Click no more than 3 times and then they're off! This group probably includes the majority of busy moms. We'd bet the best ads for them are the ones that let them download coupons quickly.

2. "Fact Finders" -- don't buy much online but they do stay online for nine minutes per session, usually in order to get some information to make an offline purchase. These folks would be much more interested in highly informative ads that allow them to delve into content, and include offline contacts (such as phone number), than in entertaining ads. We'd also bet many of them are men who worship the ground ConsumerReports.org walks on.

3. "Repeaters" -- They stay online for an average of 14 minutes total per session, but spend at least two-minutes per page. They are enormously interested in particular topics and willing to spend time with them. This audience certainly includes celebrity fans, hobbiests and enthusiasts. In this case they may be interested in entertaining ads, but only as the ad directly relates to their particular area of interest. Offer them downloadable screensavers and ways to get more info on their beloved topic.

4. "Loiterers" -- We suspect many of these folks are kids, tweens or 20-somethings who have the time to hang out online. They spend an average of 33 minutes per session and 2-4 minutes per page. They like to dig deep into a site, viewing many pages, while other demographics can't be bothered. This is certainly the right audience for a rich media ad involving an interactive game.

5. "Activists" -- These folks have some time and they love to communicate with others. Aside from professional writers who clog writing-related message boards, this group also includes seniors, teenaged girls and IT professionals. Polls, interactive chat, and surveys will probably work well for this crowd. They stay online for 45 minutes per session and they want their voices to be heard!

6. "Surfers" -- These folks spend at least 70 minutes per session online, but only a minute or so per page. Shirtcliff says, "They are broad but shallow", and woe to you if you slow them down with a Flash intro or stuff that takes more than a split second to load. They know what they want to find and they are darting about looking for it online. Make your message and offer clear up-front and give them the power to decide if they want to dig deeper.

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