At eBee, we think a lot about our target audiences – their needs, habits, attitudes, preferences and pet hates – and we find enormous differences between them. When we mix our traditional insights with what we know about how people interact with the online environment, we get a pretty good idea of what to do.
There’s loads of research into online behaviour, but one of the most interesting projects I have come across recently, the Digital Britain report by Dare, looks at how online behaviour differs between men, women, children and the older generation.
It’s interesting to see that whilst there are still fewer women online than men, they do spend more time there. It’s not just shopping, but honestly most of the reasons women are online could be guessed by any amateur misogynist – nattering on social networks, shopping, and researching lifestyle and health sites (and their husband’s emails!). But there are a few surprises – we girls are spending more and more time gaming online, gambling, on technology sites and, ahem, on porn sites. In terms of the nature of interaction online, women search less than men, suggesting they use other ways of finding out where they need to go, and go straight there.
The male profile is a little less stereotypical – apparently there’s more to blokes online than porn, tech and sport. For a start, they search much more, bookmark much more, and contribute more to sites like Wikipedia. Men also spend much more time on chat rooms than they might have us believe.
A report like this might not have had a kids or silver surfers section 10 years ago, but they are both very much online today. The kids are mainly gaming, but worryingly almost half claim to be ‘happier’ in their online lives than their ‘real’ ones. The silver surfers are the fastest growing audience, but they certainly don’t rival the kids in their internet time.
So what does this mean for us and our communication? Simply, know your audience. Know what they do online, where they are, and how they like to interact. You might be able to meet them there.