Internet Marketing –Who Is Online, and What They're Buying
It has been shown that currently, two-thirds of the American population is now online - and they're busy searching and buying. On an average day about 68 million people - approximately 53% of all Internet users - will go online.
Who are these Internet users? What makes them tick, and what exactly do they do when they go online? Hopefully, after you read this article, you will have some business insight into the behavior and mindset of the 68 million people who search and buy online.
Correlation between trust and age
Younger users, those in the 18-29 year old range are more likely to use search engines - and to regard them as indispensable. The young also use search much more frequently. 27% of those under 30 search several times per day.
A similar pattern emerges for confidence in search results, though sometimes the data is difficult to interpret. Oddly enough, fully 72% of adults under 30 say that search engines are fair and unbiased, which seems counter-intuitive given that the youngest users probably know more about search technology, including how it can be manipulated.
This means that the younger your market, the more important SEO and ranking in organic results becomes. While plenty of Internet users seem comfortable with the quality of search results, a surprising number of younger users believe in the impartiality of a natural listing in search results pages.
More seniors online
Among the mature crowd, there seem to be two camps - the ones who have never used the Internet and don’t intend to, and those who are giving it a fair chance.
One in four Americans has never used the Internet - and doesn't know anyone who does. Most of those non-users are senior citizens and many — eight out of ten — don't think they will ever go online.
But the situation is changing. The percent of seniors online increased by 47% from 2000 to 2004, with 22% aged 65 or older now having access to the Internet — up from 15% in 2000. That works out to about 8 million Americans aged 65 or older who were online in 2000, that number is a lot higher today.
And they're buying. Almost half of online seniors had bought something on the Internet by the end of 2003. That's an 11 point increase from 2000.
If you’re looking for an emerging niche, consider the over 65 crowd. And remember that there is an entire marketplace of baby boomers with considerable buying power. Even if they can't convince their parents to get online, count on them to shop for their senior parents online.
Basic searches still the norm
What are these people looking for? Everything under the sun. Even though the top search terms are still for current happenings, like "Tiger Woods" and "lyrics," users also search frequently for music, games, airline flights, and other commercial items, in addition to news, sports scores, and holiday-related paraphernalia.
Google provided almost 90 million of them with results, followed by Yahoo! at 68 million and MSN at almost 50 million. (AOL was a strong contender at 36 million, and may see an increase as a result of their recent deal with Google). That should give you a good hint as to where to spend your advertising dollars.
A large number of users, 44%, say the information they look for in search engines is critical or needed to answer an urgent question. This may be difficult to reconcile with the nature of most search engine queries. But news, travel schedules, phone number lookups, and even sports scores could fall into the “critical” category for many casual users.
And there is good news in all this for serious marketers. Overall, commerce related searches have increased, while pornography related searches have decreased dramatically since 1997.
Use search engine loyalty to save you time and energy in your SEM (search engine marketing) efforts. Because users tend to stick with one search engine, you can still capture a substantial audience by optimizing for organic results in just one of the big three - and filling in the remaining with PPC.
About the Author: Written by the staff at Affiliate Classroom Magazine. The Affiliate Classroom was developed by Anik Singal, an expert on boosting your affiliate sales using the latest techniques, including blogging and Web 2.0 bookmarking. Get your free copy of the magazine today! Sign up for the Newsletter and find out how Anik earned ,466 in just 60 days using proven marketing principles.