Exploring Customer Motivations with Mindset Index

Jan 25, 2012

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In an effort to help brands better understand the intent and motivations of their target audiences, San Francisco-based Twelvefold Media--which calls itself "an emotive-based media company that helps brands target, reach and persuade engaged audiences"--introduced the Mindset Index on Jan. 24.

The Mindset Index is essentially a searchable database that contains about 1.5 billion pieces of publicly viewable internet content. "We built a platform on top of the content that allows us to look at the page level, allows us to look at things in real time and allows us to find the mindsets [of consumers]," says Twelvefold Media CEO Dave Hills.

Words and phrases that are relevant to a particular brand/advertiser (along with 12 consumer motivations) can be searched for on the index and "the results deliver to advertisers a clear understanding of what is motivating a target audience and how this compares to competitors and online averages," according to Twelvefold Media. By understanding mindset, Twelvefold says advertisers are able to define and execute media strategies that leverage an increased understanding of what drives consumers.

"I think where we've hit a sweet spot in the market is-advertising is inherently an emotional endeavor; it's meant to create a bond between a potential customer or customer and a particular brand," says Hills. "And we think what we are able to do is help brands understand how best to make that connection by understanding the mindset that the content creates."        

The Mindset Index analyzes the top 12 "motivations" that drive consumer action in relation to a brand, product or topic, according to Twelvefold. These motivations include Information Seeker, Review Seeker, Expert Advice Seeker, Looking to Shop, Deal Seeker, Affinity For, Excitement, Enthusiast, Early Adopter, Trend Follower, Planner/Planning For and Activity Taker.

A Twelvefold Media demo on the index uses Windows 8 as an example. In that demonstration, eight of the 12 mindsets were searched for over a six-month period (using queries like Windows 8 and Microsoft Windows 8) and the results indicated that the top mindset by volume was "Early Adopter."

 "Through our index, we can see how words associate with one another. Most semantic solutions can look at words but the Mindset Index can look at words and phrases," adds Hills. "So we can understand that one piece of content is about somebody seeking information and another is about somebody seeking expert advice by the way we do look at phrases. From our perspective that's valuable to a brand because if a brand can understand the reason  that the person is leaning forward and reading that piece of content [then] there's an awful lot of brand equity that can be built between the advertiser and the reader because they can place the right ad."

The content on the Mindset Index is "anything that's publicly visible on the web," explains Hills. "comScore says that we reach 200 million people a month" and the index also has an 18 month look back to that content.

Hills provided another index example-an automobile company that produces a hybrid car. "What they know about their audience is that they're really into hybrid technology of all forms," says Hills. So, on the Mindset Index, Twelvefold would search individual words such as MPG, hybrid, technology, and innovation, says Hills. "Then we use phrases like ‘technology innovation,' ‘hybrid mpg' and by using [quotations around the words when searching] we train the software to look at those combinations and that assists in finding mindsets," Hills notes.

When Twelvefold Media used the Mindset Index for the car company, it found 106,000 pages across close to 4,000 sites that were "highly relevant," according to Hills. "From there we rank and score them; we start to run ads on them and then as the content gets updated, as we look at one particular page versus other pages, it may change in its rank over the course of time," he says. "We're looking at them every day."