With unlimited consumer choices in the digital marketplace, advertisers often turn away from websites with mass appeal and toward niche outlets, for their small, but potentially loyal audiences. Such a strategy is actually unwise, diminishing reach, according to evidence from a study analyzing double-jeopardy effects in digital media usage.
The premise of targeting small, but loyal niche audiences is based on the belief that people can easily find content aligned with their interests, and no longer are forced to consume popular products. That premise aligns with long-tail theory—that “given unlimited consumer choice, the market share of niche products thus should increase, as demand for ‘hits’ or popular products, diminishes,” author Harsh Taneja wrote, citing an earlier study (Anderson, 2006). But it also refutes the law of double jeopardy, where, with few exceptions, brands with lower market share have far fewer buyers, who are also less loyal than buyers of popular products (McPhee, 1963)
“Double-jeopardy effects were much stronger in the head rather than the tail, or in other words, stronger among popular” websites, the study found.
Among the implications of this research, newly published in the September issue of JAR:
Harsh Taneja (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an assistant professor in the Department of Advertising and the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. His research, inspired in part by his experiences doing audience research in media and advertising industries, focuses on identifying and explaining patterns of audience behavior in high-choice media environments.