September 9, 2002
Study: Web Leads in Reaching Business Execs
By Christopher Saunders
The Internet is one of the chief channels to reach
business decision-makers, according to a new study
conducted by Nielsen//NetRatings , MORI Research and
The Washington Post Co.'s online unit.
The study, based on a survey of about 1,000 business
decision-makers conducted by NetRatings' @plan unit,
MORI and washingtonpost.com, found that a majority
-- 60 percent -- said the Web is the best way for
advertisers to reach them. Magazines and newspapers
followed at 55 percent and 45 percent respectively,
while television came in just about 30 percent.
Almost 50 percent of the respondents said the Web
has influenced them to make a purchasing decision
for their business, while 35 percent said they had
been influenced by magazines, and 20 percent by television.
Seventy-seven percent said they considered Web the
best channel through which to find out about new products
and companies -- more than twice as many as the next
highest medium, magazines.
The study also found that increased usage of the
Web by decision makers is leading directly to their
decreased usage of leading traditional media. About
a fifth of the respondents said they use the Web at
least five hours per workday -- excluding e-mail use.
About 55 percent of the respondents said they had
increased their Web usage during the past year. Half
of those said they have decreased their television
viewing as a result, while about 45 percent said they
read fewer magazines or newspapers. An additional
40 percent of the survey's respondents said they expect
to increase their Web use during the next year.
About a third of the respondents came from organizations
with more than 2,000 employees, while another third
came from small businesses and startups, according
Still, some questions remain. For one thing, the
study skews slightly toward the Internet-savvy --
simply by dint of it being disseminated online, via
the washingtonpost.com site. As a result, a greater
number of respondents -- about 18 percent -- came
from the high-tech and media industries than other
sectors. Public-sector and educational decision-makers
also comprised about 21 percent of the respondents.
In addition, the study found that while the majority
of respondents said they preferred to receive new
product advertisements via the Internet, they ranked
television higher than the Internet in terms of having
ads that they remember for "a long time,"
43 percent versus 17 percent. Fifty-four percent also
agreed that television has interesting ads, while
only 30 percent agreed that the Internet did as well.
And of course, washingtonpost.com has a vested interest
in promoting its audiences and seeing online advertising
in general do well.
Despite such caveats, the researchers say the study
contributes to the growing body of evidence in favor
of Web media -- particularly news-type sites -- as
a sort of work-day "prime time," during
which high-income consumers and business buyers are
best-reached via the Internet.
"The findings show that the Web, and particularly
online news, has established itself as a powerful
medium for reaching and influencing business decision
makers," said Carolyn Clark, Internet media analyst
at Nielsen//NetRatings. "Not only are business
decision-makers spending more time on the Internet
when compared to other media, more than 60 percent
recommended online advertising as a key marketing
vehicle to reach them."
That argument has been central to trade groups like
the Online Publishers Association, in which washingtonpost.com
is a participant. Members of the organization recently
unveiled an ad network initiative designed to sell
dayparts to advertisers looking to reach at-work audiences.
"The findings of this washingtonpost.com study
provide further proof that online advertising is the
best way for smart marketers to reach the most influential
audiences," said OPA Executive Director Michael
Zimbalist. "Their usage is concentrated during
the daytime, while they are at work and undistracted
by other media choices."
Earlier this year, the OPA commissioned a study indicating
that concluded that the Internet was the dominant
medium during the workday, and second only after work
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Internet has lost its
novelty for many U.S. users
but is turning into an increasingly important tool
for everyday living, according to a study released
As Internet users gain more online experience, they
reported a slight dip in the length of the average
online session -- from 90 minutes to 83 minutes over
the course of one year, the Pew Internet and American
Life Project found.
But experienced users said they were more likely
to use that time for activities like working from
home, checking bank-account balances and making travel
reservations, rather than simply browsing.
E-mail has lost its novelty as well, the survey found,
as users said they sent messages to distant friends
and relatives less frequently. But users are more
likely to rely on the medium to express worries, ask
for advice or send other serious messages.
"The Internet has gone from novelty to utility
for many Americans," said Lee Rainie, director
of the Pew project. "They are beginning to take
it for granted, but they can't imagine life without
Many experienced users said the Internet modified
their "offline" behavior as well. One out
of four said they spend less time watching television,
while nearly one in three who shop online said they
have spent less time shopping in "bricks and
mortar" stores as a result.
Internet users were more likely to bring their work
home with them, the study found. Fourteen percent
of those surveyed said the computer network increased
the amount of time spent working from home, while
5 percent said their work at home had decreased.
The survey did not find a dramatic increase in telecommuting,
as only 6 percent said they spent less time in traffic
because of their Internet use. That figure jumped
to 30 percent for those who said they worked more
Unwanted junk e-mail, or "spam," led the
list of complaints, with 44 percent saying it was
a problem. More than half said they had received an
e-mail with pornographic content.
The Pew Internet & American Life Project tracked
1,501 Internet users over the course of a year, from
March 2000 to March 2001. The survey has a margin
of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
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