Digital Trends 2013: Digital Living

The internet has undoubtedly become a massive part of our everyday lives – and the figures are there to support this statement.  By 2013, there are expected to be 48 million UK internet users, and according to Ofcom’s latest stats 76% of British homes are now connected to the internet, a huge jump from 2000 when the figure stood at just 25%.

The internet has become an integral part of so many activities – whether that is paying bills, booking holidays, shopping or even finding love – and its use is only continuing to grow.
Indeed, the ONS’s most recent annual internet access bulletin found that internet usage had increased across all age groups. While the largest proportion of users comes from the 16-24 year old category (some 7.18 million people), the largest decrease in non-users came in the 55-64 year old age group, with 86,000 getting online. Even internet user numbers in the 75 plus age group are on the up.

The UK’s Digital Landscape

How has digital impacted consumer behaviour? And how do you classify, map and reach these consumers? While there are plenty of ways of segmenting audiences along more traditional lines and channels, with an element of online behaviour considered, what there has not been is a simple way to create reliable audiences that can be reached through all channels. Obviously marketing to consumers in this way is subject to regulatory requirements being met by brands and marketers.

By analysing over 1.2 billion web page visits, 27 million hours of online activity using Experian Hitwise and creating 190 distinct behavioural metrics to help understand how each group in our existing Mosaic consumer segmentation behaves online, we have been able to build of picture of UK consumers’ lives online. Mosaic ‘types’ are modelled at postcode level and will therefore describe people likely to live within that household.

Using this segmentation we have identified 15 dominant online behavioural types from Trackers – those who keep up to date with their investments and the financial markets online – to Techno Geeks – the most prolific online community who spend time gaming and blogging.

Of course, some of these behavioural traits are overlapping and complementary. We do not only book our holidays online or just watch YouTube, so we will (and do) fall into more than one of these types. The use of Facebook and Google dominate the visits to websites across the demographic mix, but beyond the obvious there are interesting online activities that can be used to differentiate both demographic and geographic audiences.


The most affluent group in UK society is the Mosaic group known as Alpha Territories. Most commonly found in the wealthy and fashionable areas of London, this group is cash rich but time poor – so do not expect them to spend time trawling through the internet; they know what they are looking for and will look to get straight to the relevant pieces of information.

Using our online insight we can see that there are three behaviours that dominate their online activity. They are:

Newshounds – spend a high proportion of their time online visiting news and information websites

Trackers – more than twice as likely to visit investment and premium banking websites as the UK average.

Armchair Travel Researchers – more likely than any other group to research and book travel online, although some of this time is checking on Transport for London to check the journey into the city

On average the lowest users of the internet are those older, active people enjoying their retirement in pleasant locations (the Mosaic group Active Retirement). Yet they are far from being digitally excluded and they are active online. Whilst they are the least likely to use social media they are the group most likely to be looking for the holiday of a lifetime, and in particular visiting cruise websites.

As might be expected, the peak time for personal internet use is the evening and this is fairly consistent across the days of the week. However, there are some groups that dominate use at other times in the day. Young single people on limited incomes, who largely make up the Mosaic group Upper Floor Living are most likely to be online between midnight and 3am – these online escapists are likely to be found on gaming sites.

Greater insight for marketers

Being able to identify and interpret online behaviour allows brands to leverage digital insight for true cross channel marketing.  Brands can identify geographic hot spots to target in new customer acquisition direct marketing campaigns – including direct mail, email and telemarketing. It affords them the ability to determine prime locations for local area marketing activity such as in store promotions, local press and outdoor advertising and define custom audiences to reach online, based on location and demographic insights.

The world of marketing is changing and the capability to personalise and target communications based on custom audiences is here today, even in linear TV broadcasting. Only by having this level of detailed consumer insight can marketers ensure their campaigns reach their target consumer audiences.

The new behavioural types are not new consumers – but such is the impact of digital technologies that people’s habits and activities have and continue to change considerably.  Marketers must recognise these developments, understanding the impact on their marketing efforts.  Indeed, with the right insight into these emerging groups, marketing can become better targeted, more cost-effective and ultimately deliver greater ROI.

Don’t miss our next Digital Trends 2013 blog post: The Mobile Revolution.


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