In an effort to examine how and why women use the web, Yahoo! undertook the Women Connectonomics study, holding focus groups and interviewing 3,000 women across America. The results of this study will be used to help advertisers connect with women online in ways that best suit their needs.
A few of the key findings highlighted on the Yahoo Advertising Blog:
- The most important needs for women revolve around personal growth, as well as their interdependencies on others in their social circle.
- 44% of women say they get information about products and brands on women’s lifestyle sites.
- Women’s lifestyle sites and special interest sites fulfill the most needs for women. They also offer anonymity which can result in deep emotional connections for women.
My initial reaction to these insights was “these make sense, women are social creatures who love to get together with girlfriends and talk”.
I look forward to socializing with my girlfriends, and over the years, we’ve shared joy, sadness, frustrations and the odd falling out. Our friendships have strengthened as we grow older and have more shared experiences under our belt. And that’s where the similarity with the study probably stops for me.
I arrange my social life via emails and rarely share photos of our get togethers online. Not all my friends are into the social web, and even if they are, it doesn’t mean they want their lives freely shared across on the internet.
I reviewed the study results to find out how I compare to the women who are being compared to the men. Am I different, and if so, why or how?
In reading the study, I agree with Linda Boland when she says “Understanding gender-specific differences in web usage is valuable to any digital stakeholder looking to successfully reach and engage both women and men in the online environment.” This is where inperson interviews and ethnographic studies play a role in helping us gain insights into human behaviour and motivators. With the “why” answered we can explore the best method of reaching and engaging the target audience.
While looking deeper into the why, I’d want to examine the following two findings that have my curiosity up – probably because I fall into the 45+ demographic group and the findings are exactly opposite to what I’d have predicted:
- The 45+ female segment is driving the greatest proportion of growth for social networking sites, for both visitation and time spent.
- Older women have similar reach and usage as women 25-34 and 35-44.
Anyone hazard a guess as to what is driving the 45+ female to use social networking sites, and why their usage similar to a younger generation?