Reaching Your Audience in the Digital Age: Key Research Trends to Watch


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Aaron Smith will share the Pew Internet Project’s most recent data on the constantly shifting digital ecosystem in the U.S. and highlight some major trends that have emerged since the project’s inception in 1999.

Published in: Technology, Business

Reaching Your Audience in the Digital Age: Key Research Trends to Watch

  1. 1. Reaching Your Audience in the Digital Age : Key Research Trends to Watch Aaron Smith Research Associate Pew Internet Project Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism September 6, 2012
  2. 2. • Part of the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan “fact tank” based in Washington, DC• PRC’s mission is to provide high quality, objective data to thought leaders and policymakers• Data for this talk is from nationally representative telephone surveys of U.S. adults (on landlines and cell phones, incl. Spanish)• Presentation slides and all data are available at
  3. 3. Tourism & the 3 Technology “Revolutions” Computers, Smartphones internet and and mobile Social Media broadband computing *
  4. 4. The Internet/Broadband Revolution
  5. 5. 85% of American adults (and 95% of teens) are now internet users
  6. 6. Internet use by age group % of American adults age 18+ who use the internet (any device/location)100% 97% = 94% for all 18-4990% 91%80% 78% 77%70% 74%60% 53% = 2.6x increase50% 54%40%30%20% 20%10% 0% 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 18-29 30-49 50-64 65+
  7. 7. 66% of Americans are home broadband users % of American adults age 18+ who have a high-speed broadband connection at home80% 63% 66%70% 66% 55% 62% 42% 47% 33%60% 24% 16%50% 11% 6% 3%40% 41% 38% 34% 37%30% 30% 28%20% 23% 15%10% 10% 7% 5% 0% 3% 3% June April March March April March March March April April May Aug April 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Dial-up Broadband
  8. 8. Of course, not everyone has joined the internet/broadband revolutionRoughly 1 in 6 adults do not use the internet, and 1 in 3 adults are not part of the broadband revolution Internet and broadband adoption are highest among:  The financially secure and (especially) financially well-off  Those under the age of 65  The well-educated (some college, college grads)  Parents w/ children living at home  Whites and English-proficient Asian Americans and Latinos  Urban and suburban residents
  9. 9. “The Broadband Difference” • Greater overall engagement in online activities • Search becomes the norm (92% of online adults) • Multimedia meets the masses: Watch online video (71%) Post photos online (46%) • Content creation and e-commerce take off: Buy a product (71%) Share something you created online (30%) Blogging (14%)
  10. 10. Widespread access totally changes how we learn about businesses (even ones in our backyard) The sources people rely on the most for Of those who cite the internet as a information about local businesses: major source of info… 51% • About 2/3 say they turn to The internet 47% search engines • About 1/3 turn to other online 31% Newspapers sources (such as topical or 30% specialty sites) Word of mouth 23% • This group skews towards 18- 22% 39 year olds, college grads, mobile news consumers, 8% recent transplants & parentsLocal TV or radio 13% Print sources are particularly 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% relevant to older adults (esp. those Restaurants, bars and clubs Other local businesses 65 and older)
  11. 11. Other key trends 8 in 10 adult internet users go online to research a product orservice they’re thinking of buying2/3 make air/hotel/car reservationsonline (2x increase vs. March 2000) Half have taken a virtual tour of a location online 1/3 have rated/revieweda product, service or person online
  12. 12. One downside to the internet/broadband revolution: information overload7/10 adults are “overwhelmed by the amount of news and information availabletoday”, and 1 in 5 are overwhelmed by the number of products (and info about those products) available to buy (still, ¾ like having lots of choices)Solutions to info overload: customization/personalization, reliance on friends and social networks, direct access to relevant info (apps, etc)
  13. 13. Summary: Impact of Internet/Broadband Revolution  Most (not all) are along for the ride  Internet and broadband use widespread  Usage especially high among a few key grps  “E-travel” commonplace  Vast majority of travelers now conducting pre-trip research and booking travel online  Info seeking  Heavy reliance on search as a starting point  Challenges with info overload
  14. 14. The Mobile Computing Revolution
  15. 15. Comparing the Broadband and Mobile Revolutions Internet/Broadband Era Mobile/Social Era Stationary (desktop Portable (laptop,Connection type computer) tablet or smartphone) Built for sharing, Flow of Mainly one way reviewing, & information participating Discrete, task-oriented Continuous, always-Info Consumption activity on activity
  16. 16. Device ownership tells the story of the mobile revolution % of American adults age 18+ who own each device100% 88% Now more laptops80% than desktops 73% 68% 61%60% 58% 46%40% Now more 35% smartphones than 30% “regular” cell phones20% 18% Tablet ownership up 6x 2% in just two years 3% 0% April 2006 Dec 2007 April 2008 April 2009 May 2010 May 2011 April 2012 Cell phone (general) Desktop Laptop Smartphone E-reader Tablet
  17. 17. Around 1/3 of the country has given up their landline phones entirely (this is a huge deal for my line of work)
  18. 18. Cell owners are doing more and more with their phones… % of adult cell owners who use their phones to… 1 82% 79% 0.8 73% 73% 65% 0.6 53% 44% 44% 44% 43% 38% 0.4 34% 29% 31% 27% 22% 0.2 0 Take pictures Send/receive text Access the internet Send/receive email Record video Download apps msgs Sept 2009 May 2011 March 2012
  19. 19. …as smartphones become more and more widespread • 17% of all cell owners go online mostly using their cell phone, instead of a desktop or laptop computer • For many in the under-30 crowd, smartphones are an essential purchase—regardless of income level • Mobile devices alter the racial/ethnic “digital divide” story • Mobile users do more online, spend more time with content, share more with others
  20. 20. Smartphone owners use their phones for a range of (complex/sensitive/advanced) activities % of smartphone owners who use their phones to… Check weather reports or forecasts 52% 77% Use a social networking site 50% 68% Get turn by turn navigation or directions while driving 15% 65% Play games 37% 64% Get news online 36% 64% Upload photos online 15% 58% Listen to an online radio or music service 22% 53% Check bank balance or do online banking 21% 44% Look for health or medical info 6% 43% Visit a government website 6% 31% Use Twitter 10% 16% Watch movies or TV shows through a paid… 4% 15% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% % do this on "typical day" % ever do this
  21. 21. Apps can provide direct pathways to discovery and exploration of physical spaces Apps provide direct connections to information % of app downloaders who have downloaded each type of app… App use is particularly prominent among 18-29 year olds (65% of cell owners) Most app users turn regularly to just a small handful of apps… …but tourism-related activities (trip planning, exploration of physical location, reservations, reviews) are well suited to the apps world
  22. 22. Tourism-specific examples of mobile devices and exploration of physical space/location % of all adults who have used a handheld device (phone/e-reader/tablet) to… View or download visual arts content 16% Watch or download a music, dance or 15% theater performance View or download info/images from a 12% historic site, park or monument Download or listen to audio tour at a 8% museum, gallery or historical site View/download info or images from a 6% museum 74% of smartphone owners use their phone to get directions, recommendations or other info based on their present location, and 21% use their phone to get coupons or deals to use at local businesses
  23. 23. Key words of the ubiquitous mobility era: just-in- time and spontaneous • 41% of cell owners have used their phone recently to coordinate a gathering or get- together • 30% have used their phone recently to decide whether or not to visit a particular business, such as a restaurant • 20% have recently used their phone to visit a website that was mentioned on television (overall, half are “connected viewers”)
  24. 24. Age comparisons: just-in-time info % of cell owners in each age group who have performed these real-time activities in the previous 30 days 60% 45 Coordinate a gathering 27 23 49% 39 Solve an unexpected problem 26 15 Decide whether or not to visit a 43% 37 business, such as restaurant 18 12 18-29 Look up something to settle an 45% 31 15 argument 4 30-49 33% 29 Look up sports score 14 50-64 5 31%Get up-to-the minute traffic or public 23 65+ transit info 11 4 21% 21 Get help in an emergency situation 18 16 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Mobile Survey, March 15-April 3, 2012.
  25. 25. Summary: Impact of Mobile Revolution  Just in time information  Where can I get a deal?  What’s something fun to do here?  “Networked Info” packed into the physical travel experience  Apps, QR codes, real-time deals  Announcement and validation  Sharing travel successes (or failures) in real time  “Check out this awesome place I found!”
  26. 26. The Social Media “Revolution”
  27. 27. 2/3 of online adults use social networking sites, and nearly half do so on a typical day % of adult internet users who use social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ 80% 65% 66% 61% 60% 46% 48% 43% 40% 38% 29% 27% 20% 16% 8% 13% 9% 0% 2% 2005 2006 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Ever Typical day
  28. 28. Only search and email are more popular than social networking on a “typical day” basis % of adult internet users who do the following on a typical day Use a search engine to find information 59% Send or read e-mail 59 Use an online social networking site 48 Get news 45 Go online just for fun or to pass the time 44 Look for info on a hobby or interest 35 Check the weather 34 Look online for news or information about politics 28 Look for information online about a service or product you 28 are thinking of buying Watch a video on a video-sharing site like YouTube or Vimeo 28
  29. 29. Young adults lead the way on social network use, but older users are gaining groundSince 2009, use by 50-64 year % of internet users in each age group who use olds has doubled; use by SNS those 65+ has grown three- fold (13% to 38%); women 100 92% bigger users than men 80% 80 73% 60 57% 38% 40 20 0 Teens 12- Adults Adults Adults Adults 17 18-29 30-49 50-64 65+ Teen Data July 2011 Adult Data August 2012
  30. 30. Twitter is not as popular as other sites, but is growing steadily % internet users in each group who use Twitter… 100 16% of online 80 adults now use 60 Twitter, up from 40 32% 8% in late 2010 20 16% 15% 9% 4% 0 Teens Adults Adults Adults Adults 12-17 18-29 30-49 50-64 65+ Teen Data July 2011 Adult Data August 2012
  31. 31. Main Reasons American Adults Use SNS Stay in touch with current friends (67%) Stay in touch with family (64%) Reconnect with old friends (50%) Connect with people with shared interests or hobbies (14%) Make new friends (9%) Follow celebrities, athletes or politicians (5%) Find romantic partners (3%)
  32. 32. Social networks give rise to “News Participators” As of Jan 2010, 37% of internet users contributed to, commented on, or disseminated news content via SNS 71% got news/info through email or SNS posts As of Jan 2011, 41% of adults were “local news participators” Share links to local news stories/videos Comment on local news stories/blogs Post info about their community on SNS Contribute to online discussions about their community Tag or categories local content
  33. 33. Social networks allow for personal connections with public figures and entities… % of SNS/Twitter users who follow… Individual artists, musicians or 41% other performers Musical, dance or theater 29% groups/venues Arts galleries or other visual arts 11% orgs Museums 8%
  34. 34. …and those personal connections can help you find and engage with your “Superfans” 44% of all adults have attended a live music, dance or theater performance in the last 12 months; it’s 77% for people who follow a music/dance/theatrical group or venue on a social networking site 35% of all adults have visited a museum in the last 12 months; it’s 82% for people who follow a museum on a social networking site 35% of all adults have attended an arts, craft or music festival in the last 12 months; it’s 55% for people who follow individual artists, musicians or performers on a social networking site 29% of all adults have visited an art gallery, show or exhibit in the last 12 months; it’s 82% for people who follow an art gallery or other visual organization on a social networking site
  35. 35. Summary: Impact of Social Media Revolution  For users/consumers  Cutting through the clutter by getting advice from “people like me” (note: just one element of many in decision process)  Helping others with recommendations  Announcement/validation, part II  For vendors/producers  Forge direct connections with current & potential fans  Variety and scale is a huge challenge— choose where to actively engage, where to lurk, where to ignore
  36. 36. Current Impacts and Future Trends
  37. 37. The New Reality: consumerexpectations for information  Information is free  Information is “at my fingertips”  Information is available whenever and wherever I want or need it  Information is available from multiple sources  Information is all around me
  38. 38. Information is Woven Into Our LivesMobile is the needle, Social Networks are the thread Mobile… Social Networks… Moves information Surround us with with us information through our many connections Makes informationaccessible ANYTIME Bring us information and ANYWHERE from multiple, varied sources Puts information at our fingertips Provide instant feedback, meaning and contextMagnifies the demandfor timely information Allow us to shape and create information Makes information ourselves and amplify location-sensitive others’ messages
  39. 39. Next Generation “Info Weaving”: Augmented Reality
  40. 40. What does all of this mean for YOU? People today have access to more info than at anyYou can be a… time in history. What they need is… Filter Trusted experts and filters Curator to help them find, identify and utilize the best and most accurate informationNode in a NetworkCommunity Builder Someone to show them how/why information relates to them and is relevant to them Lifesaver Tour Guide Information purveyors can… Let people customize info to meet their own needs Provide people with direct access to the information that is most important to them Be a one-stop shop by aggregating info, providing links to related material, and recommending other sources Participate in online social networks and make information easy to share
  41. 41. Information Purveyors Can… Create networks/communities around their infoFacilitate connections between people with shared interests Get, listen to, and respond to feedback Identify and meet needs by tuning in to the online conversation Provide timely information when and where people need it most Make their information portable Operate in a 24/7 world, be constantly connected Connect their information to real-world places Create opportunities for information immersion and augmented realities
  42. 42. THANK YOU!!All data available at: Aaron Smith Research Associate Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Twitter: @pewinternet