Clustering Media Usage

On March 20, 2006 by Christy

I’m very excited by this latest research into audience behaviour. BigResearch have announced an analysis, conducted by Martin Block and Don Schultz of the Medill School at Northwestern University, on their pivotal study on simultaneous media usage (I’ve discussed this previously). It has revealed eight clusters of media usage that ignore demographics and geographical consdierations. I must say, at LAMP we use psychographics since grouping of people according to their geography or age is really not helpful in the networked age. We look at audiences according to their media usage, so these clusters are a good step in the direction of making good decisions about media affordances. But, back to the study. The clusters  were developed from the SIMM data, using three unique media consumption characteristics:

1. Experiential Time: the consumption of media by day parts,

2. Simultaneity: the multitasking/overlapping of media consumption

3. Media Influence: the influence various medias have on purchase decisions by product categories

Here are the clusters:

1.  Old School -  High mass media (TV, magazines, newspaper) influence and low in search media (online). Average overall media consumption and simultaneous usage.

2.  Active Explorers - High promotion (inserts, coupons, direct) and search media influence.  Average media consumption.

3.  New Mediacs - Low mass media and promotional media influence.  High electronics media consumption.  Low print consumption.

4.  Simultaneous Readers - Average overall media influence. High network simultaneous usage.  High print consumption.

5.  Independents - Average search media influence.  Low media consumption.

6.  Ravenous - High overall media influence.  High network, print and electronic consumption.

7.  Persuadables -  High mass and search media influence. Average promotional media influence.

8.  Opportunity Minded -  High promotional influence.  Average to low media consumption.

These clusters do need elaboration, as I find Pilotta’s quote in te press release complicates the issue somewhat: “Opportunity Minded are more responsive to new medias such as email and internet while Independents are more likely to prefer satellite radio, web radio, blogging and video games” (Pilotta in BigResearch, 2006). In his article at iMedia Connection, Pilotta mentions the implications for this research in marketing: it is “a planning tool, a communications tool, an intervention tool and a predictive tool” (Pilotta, 2006). He cites an example of what the cluster research can tell a marketer about “new mediacs,” “people with high use of blogs, cell phones, video games”:

  • Word of Mouth (via cell phones) has the most influence on their decisions to purchase electronics, apparel, grocery, telecom services, and dining out
  • Their favorite ISPs are Comcast and AOL
  • Google is their favorite search engine
  • Their videogame platforms of choice are PCs and the Playstation 2
  • And they plan on buying a Ford, Dodge, or Chevy in the next six months.

Hmm, US-centric again. And I must say I’m not that interested in the brands people are using, but I do appreciate the framing of audiences according to media usage. How can you use this in cross-media entertainment design? Start with supplying your storyworld to different consumers according to the media type and usage they prefer. Then think about what groupings different people will enjoy. How many will use the TV and web and mobile? The next step in this categorisation is to marry these media usage decisions with the different range of entertainment types around and you’ve got a strong cross-media toolkit.

BigResearch (2006) ‘8 Media Consumption Clusters Discovered From Analysis of BIGresearch’s Simultaneous Media Survey’, BigResearch, 14th March

Pilotta, J. (2004). Simultaneous Media Usage Survey. Reston, VA, BIGresearch

Pilotta, J. J., D. E. Schultz, et al. (2004) ‘Simultaneous media usage: A critical consumer orientation to media planning’ Journal of Consumer Behaviour 3(3): 285-292

Pilotta, J. (2006) ‘New Research Method Promises Higher ROI’, iMedia Connection, 20th March