A recent Pew study on internet usage by age paints an interesting picture. A few of the key findings:
- The age gap, where millennial usage far exceeds that of other groups that were identified in 2009, seems to be shrinking.
- Email and search still reign supreme, so for those of us who predicted email was dying, perhaps we shouldn’t be editing its obituary just yet.
- Depending on just how old you are, that friend request from mom or grandpa isn’t a fluke. The 74+ age group represents the fastest growing segment of social media users, quadrupling since 2008.
- While traditional blogging seems to be undergoing a redefinition based on the emergence of Twitter, Facebook status updates and the like, the emergence of video represents perhaps the biggest shift in content choice, rising 14% in adult internet usage.
This infographic from Pew outlines the key findings. The complete study can be found here.
So what does it all mean? In short, it means as communicators, whether in agencies or in-house, we’ve got to be sensitive to giving users what they want, in the form they want it. The reason is simple: for the most part, adoption of these tools is growing, and that trend is likely to continue. If you’re trying to recruit new college grads, a Facebook page is likely going to be more effective (successful implementation and interesting content taken as a given) than would a series of podcasts about working at your company. If you’re trying to reach your retiree population with an important message, a video of your CEO delivered via email will likely be more effective than would a Facebook page.
It’s audience segmentation 101, I know. But here’s the thing: this type of data wasn’t always so readily available, and now that it is, I know I’ll be paying it more attention.