Consumers who own Apple iPods are significantly more likely to create and spread consumer-generated media (CGM) - which tends to influence others in a viral fashion - thereby increasing iPod video content and peer influence, according to a consumer behaviour study from marketing analytics firm Intelliseek.
According to Intelliseek's 2005 Consumer-Generated Media and Behaviour Study, iPod users are twice as likely to have authored a blog than consumers who do not own MP3 players, and they outpace other MP3 owners on creating and posting content online.
iPod users are also 2.5 times as likely to exchange text messages on mobile phones (59% vs. 24% of non-owners), three times as likely to take photos with a camera phone (45% vs. 15%), and three times as likely to download video clips and movies to a personal computer (47% versus 16%).
The study of 660 online consumers, conducted in August 2005, found that iPod users also tend to be "product innovators", for example being significantly more likely to own digital video recorders, personal digital assistants, digital cameras, laptop computers and mobile phones. They tend to link to the internet via broadband and wireless connections, and are more likely than others to skip past or filter online advertisements - a behaviour that may be linked as much to high usability and interface expectations as it is to a dislike of advertising.
The amount and depth of consumer-generated media about Apple products on message boards, forums, ratings sites and other CGM venues supports this conclusion, Intelliseek says. On blogs alone, nearly 1% of all new blog entries directly or indirectly mention iPod products, roughly equal to the total amount of online conversations citing MP3 players in general. First-person product testimonials about iPods also index highly across message boards, forums and ratings sites.
Word of mouth
According to Pete Blackshaw, Intelliseek's chief marketing officer, "iPod users have more word-of-mouth tools at their disposal to spread opinions and reviews about their iPod experiences. Provided iPods continue to delight consumers, Apple will benefit from a growing volume of free, trusted advertising from other consumers."
It's worth noting, however, that the new video-enabled iPod Nano has recently attracted a certain amount of negative publicity concerning user-led allegations of product quality issues. While Apple strongly denies a widespread fault, its final decision concerning the handling of the issue has the potential to either settle or unsettle loyal users.
Interestingly, the study found that while word-of-mouth recommendations from personal acquaintances carry the most weight in influencing purchases, CGM from complete strangers on the internet has become a more powerful influence than paid-for advertising.