Wi-Fi Network Growth: A Conversation with JiWire

JiWire released a study yesterday that uncovers some worldwide wi-fi growth metrics. As we’ve written, the company serves ads on public wi-fi networks, which has been shown to involve some favorable audience segmentation and ad performance.

Yesterday’s report goes into some of these advantages, or at least the enabling factors for public wi-fi audience targeting. These data are extrapolated from the roughly 20 million monthly uniques it serves according to SVP of Marketing David Staas. To put this in perspective, there are about 80 million monthly users across all public wi-fi networks in the U.S.

Overall, the report found that wi-fi network users have increased 18.4 percent in the first six months of ‘09. Drilling down, wi-fi users are wealthier than average consumers with a 50 percent likelihood of being homeowners. About 20 percent of them are mac users, which is much higher than Apple’s overall PC market share of about 7 percent.

There is also a strong business traveler demographic on its network which carries good ad targeting implications. Hotels and resorts were the most prevalent access point followed by airports and cafes. With the intention of drilling down to the demographics of each of these access points in the future, this report focused on Cafes.

These users were shown to be pretty engaged with about 85 percent connecting at least once a week and 68 percent connecting for more than an hour at a time. The consumer profile is pretty strong too, with 40 percent having management titles, and 34 percent making over $100K salaries. The most popular age group on these networks was surprisingly 35-49.

But more interesting; 85 percent of those jumping on cafe wi-fi networks are within their local markets, as opposed to business travelers. This has implications for local advertising, especially if you combine it with what Staas told us in our last conversation; that 38 percent of cafe wi-fi users make some kind of purchase during their online sessions and about 77 percent are currently in the market for large purchases (see chart below).

Many cafe wi-fi users were in fact shown to be small business owners themselves — revealing an interesting opportunity for business to business ad targeting for any national organizations that want to reach SMB owners.

Check out the rest of the report here (PDF dowload).

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