Rich Surfers and Digital Ads

Joe D

Lately we've seen a lot of trending data that focuses on the online behaviors of low- to mid-range income Internet users, but what are the affluents up to when they surf the 'Net? A recent study that focused on Internet users who had an annual household income of $100,000 or more revealed that digital ads are just as appealing to the haves as they are to the have-nots.

Ipsos Mendelsohn conducted a study in February 2011 for the Interactive Advertising Bureau which measured the interaction of affluent consumers with digital advertising. It revealed a couple of interesting statistics, such as a partiality to video and paid search advertising, as well as a tendency of a majority of affluent consumers - 60% to be exact – to take some type of action based on digital advertising. Affluents were also slightly more likely to want to take an action with digital advertising versus consumers who lived in households that made less than $100,000 a year.

Compared to the under $100,000/year group, the $100,000+/year group was more likely to become aware of new products (55%) and new companies (51%) compared to lower-income households, who came in at just 49% in both product and company awareness categories. 17% of the higher-income participants stated that after viewing the digital ad online they went to their local retail outlet to see the product or purchase it, with another 16% stating that they purchased the item online. Figures were only slightly lower for the lower-income participants, with 16% stating that they went to a local retail outlet and 15% stating that they purchased the product online after viewing the digital ad online.

The higher-income participants responded the most to digital ads via video and paid search advertising, with 41% starting that they had taken an action after they saw one of these types of ads. The next most popular type of digital advertising was banner ads and e-mail advertising, with 37% claiming to have taken action after seeing one of these types of ads.

Another interesting twist was a greater understanding by affluent users of the need to provide marketers with more information about themselves in order to view advertising that is more targeted and tailored to their needs. One statement on the questionnaire that said, "I am usually willing to share some information about myself online so that I can get a more customized online experience," resulted in 32% of the affluent respondents to state that they agreed, and only 23% of the lower-income respondents responding the same.

When it comes to behavioral targeting, affluent users seem to be much more accepting of this technique than other users. This could be a reflection of their understanding of the need to divulge more personal information to advertisers and marketing programs. As many as 37% of these users stated that they are most likely to pay attention to advertisements that are relevant to the activities that they are involved in or are thinking about regardless of the content or theme of the website they are visiting. Only 32% of lower-income users agreed with that idea.

There is a marked difference between the digital ad behaviors of higher-income users and lower-income users. How will you use this information to increase your bottom line?