By Beth Schultz, Editor in Chief, All Analytics

I won’t be among the Black Friday throngs, as I can’t think of any markdown that would make participating in the frenzy worth my while. Plenty of folks think me a fool, I’m sure. But if I’m more of anything, it’s a Cyber Monday kinda gal.

That’s not to say I’m somebody who anxiously awaits online deals of the sort delivered on the Monday following Thanksgiving. Rather, it’s to point out that I’m more inclined to respond to a bargain online than to one offered for an in-store experience. So, when I saw that Resonate, a startup that uses big data to understand consumer’s online behavior, had profiled Cyber Monday shoppers, I was curious to see whether my understanding of myself was correct.

Earlier this month, I’d talked by phone with a couple of Resonate executives and found the company’s approach to assessing online motivations interesting — and thorough. I suspected it’d have rooted out some salient points about Cyber Monday shoppers. To understand online motivations in general, Resonate interviews close to 200,000 people each year. At that scale, Resonate gets the ability to drill deeply into the sample and train algorithms on responses, said Michael Horn, the company’s Vice President of Research.

“The first thing you have to understand about motivations is that you can’t get to them by any other way than by asking a lot of people about what drives their purchase decisions,” he said.

Once Resonate does all that asking, it ties each response to an in-depth content signature for a historical understanding of what type of content that person consumes. “We’re effectively observing a stream of about one terabyte of behavioral data a day — consumption behavior that spans the vast majority of adult Internet users,” Horn said. “We can understand mathematically the difference between someone who values price and how they shop and consume information online vs. the person who values brand.”

Adding third-party data to create an even meatier dataset, Resonate can model cookies and define arbitrary audiences — such as people who are in the market for running shoes and who value innovation in apparel — for marketers, he said.

For a view into holiday shopping, Resonate surveyed 54,000 people who shop online. It reported that Cyber Monday shoppers are more likely to value pride, self-image, peace of mind, and a sense of accomplishment than infrequent online shoppers when deciding what products they buy. And consider these additional stats its research delivered up on frequent online shoppers of the Cyber Monday sorts:

  • 71% of them research products through multiple resources
  • 65% recommend or criticize products and/or companies
  • 60% know of and/or buy products before their families or friends
  • 29% will contact a company about a product or social issue

The corresponding percentages for infrequent online shoppers are “significantly less,” Resonate said.

With all that time they spend perusing products, these shoppers are comparatively more likely to seek out innovative and unique products (57%); products that are fun, popular, and exciting (34%); or sustainable products (27%). They’re twice as likely to cite fashion and hobbies as interests than less-frequent online shoppers, and many more of them love home improvement compared to those who shop online less frequently, Resonate found.

Serving up this type of information to marketers is Resonate’s reason for being, and its own motivation for developing the recently released Resonate Analytics software platform, said Marc Johnson, CMO. “We believe that businesses can now use big data and technology to understand and interact with human beings based on what really makes them who they are and those complex motivations and complex inputs that make them unique.”

Then there’s me. I’d like to think that I’m motivated to give great gifts, ones that recipients will find fun or fashionable, as the case may be. But were I among Resonate’s survey base and its clients’ marketing scope right about now, I’d no doubt have an Inbox full of ads targeted at quick-and-easy, no-thinking-required, buy-on-the-fly gifts. Shhh. Don’t tell my friends and family.

What sort of motivations come into your holiday shopping decisions?