Dr Linda K. Kaye
Cyberpsychology is the scientific study of the psychology of technology use and online behaviour. I’ve been involved in this field throughout my academic career, but only recently more fully recognised the merits of cyberpsychology within commercial contexts.
Psychology has always had relevance in respect of understanding consumer behaviour, but in an increasingly digital society, we need to scrutinise whether the theories which we usually use to explain human behaviour, actually apply to behaviour which occurs online. This is where cyberpsychology helps us intersect the study of the human experience within digitally-mediated contexts.
Within digital marketing, there is an increased reliance on understanding consumer groups based on their online behaviours or engagement patterns. However, cyberpsychology can go a step further from this. Research evidence within this field has championed the way digital traces (digital footprints left behind from online behaviours) can reveal user characteristics such as demographics and personality. In the context of market segmentation, this can present digital marketers with an opportunity to use data-driven approaches, based on behavioural insights to support psychographic segmentation.
There can be numerous benefits from adopting behavioural insights in this way. First, this might help marketers create more accurate categories or personas within their psychographic segmentation efforts. This, in turn, might then translate into more effective tailored brand-consumer relations, as well as strengthen the sales/conversion funnel resulting in increased sales.
Cyberpsychology is a truly fascinating field which brings me many rewards both in respect of my creation of new knowledge (through my research activities) and dissemination of knowledge. In respect of the latter, this aligns strongly with the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF), and allows me to translate my academic insights into actionable insights which can benefit a variety of stakeholders; digital marketers being a primary beneficiary.
There are a variety of activities which I engage in to apply cyberpsychology in professional practice. I engage in research consultancy with organisations, to help identify targeted solutions to specific challenges. Additionally, I run Continued Professional Development (CPD) sessions to provide more general training in the field of cyberpsychology and its relevance to elements of digital marketing (e.g., psychographic profiling, brand identity online, etc).
What I find especially rewarding about engaging in these types of dissemination activities is that I can see first-hand how my research insights are making a difference. Whilst we, as academics, often discuss “impact” in respect of number of paper citations or via REF metrics, this for me, doesn’t really capture the essence of what impact really is. Conversely, having direct interactions with research-end users via these knowledge exchange activities really does help me feel like I’m having some type of impact, which is immensely rewarding.
If you are interested in learning more about how to apply cyberpsychology in psychographic profiling, you can register for CPD training here.