DNA Breakthrough: Digital Personas Are Real

Do you know your digital persona? Are you even interested to find out what is your digital DNA? Yes, another link baiting strategy, this time by Mastercard, which proves that noise press releases work if they are interesting enough.

“What’s Your Digital DNA? MasterCard Study Reveals Five Global Online Personas,” is one of those press releases I would normally classify as Mashable-style news, and I would most likely ignore. Except this time, there’s wisdom in the noise, wisdom that could be used by marketers and PRs to identify key publics, without needing to worry about in-depth metrics like age, gender and nationality. The results of the study will also be discussed during a panel session at the World Retail Congress in Paris on Monday, October 7, 2013 at 12:45 PM Central European Time.

“This research shows that regardless of who they are and where they live, they all share something in common when it comes to how they act and behave online – these five unique global personality types,” explains Theodore Iacobuzio, Vice President of MasterCard’s Global Insights group. “It also shows us that when consumers go online, characteristics such as age, gender or nationality become secondary and they instead assume a sense of what we refer to as ‘social citizenship’.”

It is generally known that people act differently online, compared to their real-world personas. According to the aforementioned Mastercard study, the five main online personality types are passive users, proactive protectors, solely shoppers, open sharers and simply interactors. While these types are not necessarily unknown, there are other key metrics that weight more:

  • Consumers (64%) know exactly what they are worth, and are convinced that their personal data has value to merchants and advertisers.
  • Contrary to popular belief, most consumers (60%) do know how to change the privacy settings on their web browser.
  • Consumers (55%) appreciate when companies tailor offers to them based on the information they share.
  • Nearly half (49 %) of consumers check prices on their mobile devices when in-store to make sure they are getting the best offers.

More results are summarized in the infographic below:

digital dna personas

The Digital Sharing and Trust Project shows that consumers actually shed their real-world identities when they go online to assume digital personas

If you are curious to find out what is your own digital persona, Mastercard has even prepared a quiz for you.

According to Mastercard, the methodology used in this study included qualitative and quantitative consumer research between November 2012 and March 2013 in nine markets: the United States, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, India, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Brazil and Colombia. The study included a survey of more than 9,000 digital consumers aged 16-65, all of whom engaged in some type of online activity at least once a week. The five unique online personas emerged out of a vigorous statistical examination, which grouped respondents together based on the similarity of their answers to questions across six dimensions: 1) awareness of targeted marketing; 2) social networking; 3) online shopping; 4) mobile sophistication; 5) privacy management; and 6) data as currency.

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