Mastercard or Harvard?

Mastercard or Harvard?

In the good old times in order to get to know society you had to do extensive field research. Nowadays it is only enough to look at how people spend money via credit cards. Therefore in social anthropology the marketing departments of credit card firms are replacing the university departments. Joking aside, the latest Mastercard research reveals a lot about our society and personas.

Some of the key findings about each online persona group include:

• “Open Sharers”: Twenty-one percent of online consumers fall into this category, which tends to skew more male (60 percent). Open Sharers are the most highly digital group of the five and tend to lead less risk-averse online activities. Half of them are online more than 10 times per day and when they share their personal information, they expect deals, access and offers in return.

• “Simply Interactors”: This persona (which accounts for 21 percent of online consumers) includes some of the most dedicated social networkers, yet they are not particularly tech-savvy consumers. When it comes to online shopping, a majority (80 percent) will research products online, but 63 percent still prefer to shop in person. Though they are aware of targeted marketing, they don’t see their data as valuable and thus don’t express significant concern about it.

• “Solely Shoppers”: This online personality is characterized by their reliance on the Internet for savvy shopping research and purchases. Making up 21 percent of all consumers online, the majority (90 percent) of these Internet users researches products online before buying and half use their mobile phone to price check in-store in order to get the best deals. Surprisingly, they have low awareness of target marketing – as only 37 percent know that social media sites use their personal data to inform ads.

• “Passive Users”: As the name suggests, this group’s members are not fully convinced of the Internet’s value and therefore tend to spend the least amount of time online of all the personas. Accounting for 20 percent of all online consumers, Passive Users are less frequent on social networks (only 48 percent) and not heavy online shoppers. Compared to other personas, they are more likely to shop from their mobile device and more willing to trade their data for something in return.

• “Proactive Protectors”: Comprising 17 percent of all online consumers, the Proactive Protectors are highly aware of targeted marketing – in fact 82 percent are knowledgeable that marketers can target them based on their search and browsing history. They are unlikely to use social networks and the most guarded with their privacy settings of all the personas – taking steps to protect and control their digital footprint.

This research is very valuable for political candidates who want to understand people’s behavior on social networks. I will write about how Turkish politicians can increase their effectiveness with these type of research in the coming weeks.