I’ve been messing around with Yougov’s awesome interface that allows you to access and cross-reference data on people, places and things. It’s incredibly powerful for all sorts of reasons, whether you’re a journo or marketer trying to profile people, or whether you’re idly wasting time and marvelling at the more oblique data.
Some of it is genuinely useful – and could inform all sorts of research, strategy – even legislation. Some sample sizes and choices of questions make it less so – and the usual data analysis caveats apply – but it’s still fundamentally interesting.
I picked Wonga because they were the first brand to come to mind, perhaps unsurprisingly given that I’ve written about them quite a bit and it seems to be facing something of an existential crisis. It’s a very small sample size – 131 – but there are one or two things that caught my eye.
The typical profile of a Wonga customer, according to this data, is of a young male with a low income. He’s likely to live in Central Scotland, the North West or the North East and is politically left-of-centre. No real surprises there.
What is less obvious is that he is likely to work in Entertainment, Marketing/Advertising or Media – and not low-paid, unskilled jobs. More to the point, he’s not unemployed. Look further down the list of likely professions and we see Law and Business mentioned, though none of the professional associations are particularly strong.
Other revelations – Wonga’s most Platonically ideal customer favours Crispy Chilli Beef, Celebrity Gossip and Video Gaming – are more disposable, but the more eye-catching data suggests that the typical user of the payday loans company favours horse-racing and Wonga-sponsored Newcastle United FC.
There are Strong or Very Strong associations with Paypal and Capital One respectively, while Euromillions is also listed as a likely association. He is most likely to shop at Asda and least likely to shop at Aldi – curious, when you consider that he is money-conscious and likely to use the internet to shop around for a good deal. There is some suggestions of entrepreneurial activities, given the professions listed, likelihood of using the internet to buy and sell – and online ad platform http://theaffiliatepeople.com/ being listed among top websites visited.
Arguably any conclusions drawn are rather specious, but if I were Wonga I’d be interested to note that my most frequent customer is most likely to read The Sun, spend well over 40 hours a week online and up to 35 watching television (watching Family Guy and Jeremy Kyle most likely). There’s your ad buying sorted.
There’s a ton of more data behind a paywall – and more to be gleaned from it I’ll warrant. Combine it with the media scraped from your social media and internet use, it goes to form a powerful snapshot of your habits, likes, dislikes, inclinations and spending power. All of which forms the answer to every question you’ve ever asked about why you get served certain contextual ads. And if you tally half a dozen more of the points I’ve mentioned, chances are you’ve seen a Wonga adverts in print, on television and online in the last six months…