Beyond PR

Jan 10, 2011

The Social Media Habits of Consumers & Individual Investors

A Five Part Series Based on Insights from Independent Research Firm for

PR Newswire

Part Four: Social Habits of the Individual Investor and the Product Researcher

Now for part four of my blog series on the wide range of audiences on; I bet you all couldn’t wait for the holidays to pass so you could get to the rest of this information!

If you are new to these posts, check out parts one, two and three first. It will put this post in a bit of context.  If you don’t have time, the information here will still stand on its own.

As in all of those prior posts, I refer to the survey PR Newswire commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct (PR Newswire: Web Site User Analysis & Opportunities, September 29, 2010) of our web audiences on and PR Newswire for Journalists (   As mentioned three times before (sorry for the repeat!), the purpose of the survey was to understand more about our user demographics; their current habits on the web and what they were looking for in the future.

In the survey, PR Newswire confirmed and discovered the existence of specific audiences on our primary web site, PR and our media web site, PR Newswire for Journalists (  In my last two posts, I wrote about the individual investor and product researcher audiences.  For the purpose of this post in particular, I will refer to these together as a “consumer” audience as we do not believe that they are coming to our site in a “professional” capacity.

The consumer audience on is one that is heavily involved in social activities on the web.  In the survey, we asked them to describe their online habits. From their answers, we were able to position them on Forrester Consulting’s Social Technographics ladder, which orders web users on seven separate rungs based on activity.

The rung starts out with Inactives who neither create nor consume social content of any kind. Next are Spectators, which is the lowest form of true engagement.   Spectators read blog posts, status updates and tweets for example.  While Forrester Consulting’s US average is at 70% for Spectators,’s consumer audience participates in these activities at 89%.

The next level of social behavior on the Forrester Consulting Social Technographics ladder is the Joiner.  Joiners actually maintain social network profiles and check them regularly.  At this point on the ladder, the PRNewswire audience is a bit below Forrester Consulting’s national average, at 54% versus 59%.  I suppose this is because the individual investors and product researcher do so much more than just join these networks.

The fourth rung on the ladder is the Collector.   Per Forrester Consulting, Collectors gather their online resources by subscribing to RSS feeds or adding tags to content for retrieval later.  Once again, the audience is above the national average with 35% of individual investors and product researchers acting as Collectors versus 20% for the US.

The next level or fifth rung of Forrester Consulting’s Social Technographics ladder is the Critic.  Critics are willing to post reviews and comment on blog posts.  They also contribute to online forums and wikis.  The individual investors and product researchers on are Critics at a higher percentage than the US average, 41% over 37% according to the survey.

The Social Technographics ladder continues upwards with the Conversationalist.  This category of online users updates their Facebook status or tweets at least weekly, though some may do it on a daily basis.  Oddly enough, only 20% of our consumer audience indicated this was their level of activity as opposed to the 33% for the US average but we make up for it, with the next level on the ladder.

Finally, the level with the highest social behavior according to the Social Technographics ladder is the Creator.  Just by name association, you can surmise that this user creates content.  This can be done by publishing a blog, publishing web pages, uploading videos or music, and/or writing articles or stories.  36% of the individual investors and product researchers who read news releases on are also apt to create content online.  This is 12% greater than the US average of 24% of online users.

In addition, further evidence from the survey conducted with Forrester Consulting indicates that the consumer audience is actively engaged online even on other sites.  Over 70% of individual investors and product researchers on read customer review’s of product and services at least monthly.  More than 60% of them read online forums monthly.

What does all of this mean to PR Newswire’s customers?  The consumer audience, which is made up of individual investors looking to buy stock and product researchers, looking to purchase goods and services, is actively consuming content on our web site and other social networks.  If you are looking to sell stock or product, you will want your message in front of this audience.  Consumers on are also critiquing, updating and producing other content online so having your message in front of such an influential group will take it to other potential investors and product purchasers, multiplying the original reach.  With this level of information consumption and creation, our customers have the advantage of engaging opportunity on and beyond.

Authored by Sandra Azzollini, Director of Online Content & Community, PR Newswire

1 Comments on Blog Post Title

Investor Relations 07:12 EDT on Sep 5, 2011

I admire your style of writing. Thanks..

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