Friday, March 14, 2008

Content providers are overlooking the needs of many ....

Content providers are overlooking the needs of many of today's Internet users, according to a new Burst Media study. The online survey, conducted in February 2008 of more than 13,000 web users 18 years or older, found a majority of Internet users 45 years
and older believe that online content, as well as website design and online advertising is skewed toward younger web users.

The Burst survey found that young web users between the ages of 18-24 years and 25-34 years are most likely to say online content is focused on people their age (76.0% and 73.9%). Additionally, more than one-half (55.7%) of respondents 35-44 years perceive online content to be focused toward their age segment.

Starting with the "Young Boomer" segment (45-54 years) there is a precipitous decline in the number of respondents who say Internet content is focused toward people their age. In fact, within this age segment only one in three (35.4%) believe online content is focused on people their own age. Only one in five (18.9%) respondents 55 years and older say Internet content is primarily focused on people their age. Additionally, three-quarters (77.7%) of respondents 45 years and older believe online advertising is not targeted towards them, and focuses on younger audiences.

The Burst survey also revealed several interesting findings about different demographic segments' perceptions of the online marketplace. These include:

-- Disparity in Usability: The Burst survey revealed that website usability is an issue for older web users. For sites drawing an audience 45 and older, simple navigation and design is critical for retaining those consumers.

-- Loss of Connectivity Devastating at any Age: The one truth across all ages is that the Internet has become an integral part of their everyday life. Two-thirds (67.7%) of respondents said that their daily routine would be disrupted if they could not access the Internet for a week, with 42.9% saying that they would be significantly impacted.

-- Expanded Universe of Sites: Overall, three out of five (59.6%) of respondents are visiting more web sites in a typical week than they were one year ago. An expanded catalog of sites visited is not only a phenomenon of the young; in fact, 62.8% of respondents 55 years and older say they are visiting more sites today in a typical week of web surfing than they were one year ago.

"The Internet is the proverbial big tent - made up of lots of audience segments with differing content interests," said Jarvis Coffin, CEO of Burst Media. "A major audience segment, such as adults over 45, should not be crying out for content. Clearly there is an opportunity for talented web publishers to develop engaging content that resonates with older web audiences. Likewise, there is also an opportunity for advertisers - older audiences are using the Internet and it makes senses for marketers keen on reaching them to seriously consider the web to deliver their advertising message."

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