The Internet DemographicBy: Jordan McCollum - March 14, 2008
Do you feel that most content on the Internet is aimed at your age group? If so, you’re not alone: more than half of Internet users agree, according to a new study by Burst Media (PDF).
The study found that around three-quarters of Internet users aged 18 to 34 believe that web content is primarily focused on their age groups. Another 55% of Internet users between 35 and 44 believe that it’s focused around their age group. After 45, however, there is a decline, with a little more than 1 in 3 of the 45-54 group agreeing, just over 1 in 5 of the 55-64 group agreeing and about 1 in 8 of the 65+ group agreeing.
Obviously, not everyone between the ages of 18 and 45 can be the primary focus of all Internet content. Then who among these groups is correct—or all they wrong altogether? While we probably can’t say for sure without doing some sort of survey of Internet content and Internet content creators, I think there are a few important take aways here:
- Much of Internet content is ageless. It’s entirely possible that a 22-year-old could be thinking of the same websites as a 33-year-old and a 44-year-old when they say that web content is primarily focused on them.
- People find content they’re interested in on the Internet. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the majority of content on the web isn’t interesting to me. But when people find things online that are aimed toward them, they will probably assume that this content was written for their demographic, regardless of whether it was or not. And since we tend to gravitate toward things that appeal to us and interest us, it will probably seem like most of the content on the Internet is geared toward us and our peers.
- People are naturally self-interested. Don’t you ever forget it. Appeal to that self interest.
- People over 45 feel left out. This may not be a bad thing; perhaps they feel a certain pride in not being the focus of Internet content. But if this demographic is your audience, you need to make an extra effort to appeal to them, to make it clear that your site is about them and to cater to their needs.
Naturally, of course, if you’re trying to appeal to a younger audience, you’ll want to make it clear on your site that you’re focused on them. Then again, they probably already think you are .