"Youth are leading the transition to a fully wired and mobile nation"
The Pew Internet & American Life Project issued a report entitled “Teens and Technology" on July 27, 2005. Some results of this polling data may be helpful to merchants who desire to market to this Internet hungry, and energetic group.
The data was collected through telephone interviews with a random sample of 1100 young people across the nation and was conducted by The Princeton Survey Research Associates, between October 26 and November 28, 2004. The results are considered accurate to a degree of + or - 3%.
* 87% of all those aged 12-17 in the United States are consistently online, or about 21 million young people. This is up from 73% in 2000. By comparison, 66% of adults use the internet, up from 56% in 2000.
* 51% of teenage internet users, or about 11 million users, say they go online on a daily basis, up from 42% in 2000.
* 43% of this age group have made purchases online. That means there are 9 million teen shoppers in America! The study also included anecdotal comments taken in 4 focus groups of teenagers.
“I know I rely a lot more on the internet for everyday stuff — looking up things that you know, I would have to call a couple of people to find out, or [having the ability to do] better research, or instant messaging. I know I rely on the internet a lot more as I’ve gotten older. All my college applications were online and that was so much better. ” – High School Female
“I use it more on a daily basis than I did when I was younger. I would get online maybe in the evenings or something, if I had nothing else to do. But now, it’s kind of like you get home, sign-on, turn your music on. ” – High School Female
For merchants who market products to teenagers online, we offer seven suggestions that will help your website become a friendly place for a teenage audience to visit.
Teen friendly websites should offer:
1. Fun. Teens are largely looking for entertaining information online. Websites must be rich in content and graphics with creative designs. Websites that offer online games (81% of teens play games online) will have an edge especially if you want to display advertising. (Stay away from pop-ups and anything else annoying)
2. Speed. Teens do everything fast. Make sure graphics are optimized for fast loading. Teen broadband use follows the adult rate of about 50%. That means that the other 50% are using dial-up. A good rule is to optimize all graphics for dial-up speeds to limit click-outs. Keep written content short. Teens scan more than read. Organize all content with short descriptions and bold headings.
3. News. 84% of teens online go to websites about movies, TV shows, music groups, or sports stars. 76% of teens online search for news and current events. 31% are looking for diet, fitness and health information. Fortunately, RSS news feeds (Really Simple Syndication) are readily available online and can add informative dynamic content to your website design.
4. Posting. Teens are very peer conscious and love to express and read the opinions of others. An area for posting comments will provide a service for their researching and expression.
5. Free Stuff. Teens love to customize and express themselves creatively. Free downloads, shareware, screensavers, photo's, sound effects, games etc. , all can draw sizable traffic, especially if you're researching and tapping into the latest fad items.
6. Homework Help. Research links, government guides, U. S. history, politics, current events, math helps, all provide assistance to teens who must complete homework assignments every day. If you can help them accomplish this, you will draw them back again and again.
7. Great Products. Books, clothing and music are top sellers with teens. Anything with a ‘cute’ factor is big with teen girls. Companies with affiliate programs such as Amazon, or Commission Junction can give you the code and graphics to sell any item in the world for a percentage of the profits.
Rick David writes a feature column for Merchant America a nationwide provider of credit card, debit card and check verification services for merchants. Rick also writes a comedy column entitled, Don't Laugh, It Could Happen To You
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