Listen up marketers: 24% of Gen Yers read blogs
We recently published a short piece, “Marketers: Keep A Keen Eye On Gen Yers” that looks at how these young adults (aged 18-26) use the Internet differently from their older brethren.
Here’s the short executive summary:
Gen Yers — 18- to 26-year-olds who came of age with broadband, cell phones, and iPods, among other things — stand apart from older generations because of their hands-on approach to the Web. Marketers trying to anticipate future consumer trends should tune in to Gen Yers. As these do-it-yourselfers become a primary consuming audience, they will carry with them their cross-channel shopping enthusiasm, active blog usage, and reliance on the information-scouring powers of Google.
One key data point that stood out for me: 24% of Gen Yers read blogs, which is twice as often as the 12% of Gen Xers (ages 27-40) and three times the 7% of Young Boomers (ages 41-50) that read blogs. So skeptics of blogs should suspend their disbelief and look to at least one bellweather demographic to get an idea of how widespread blog readership can potentially grow in the future.
So if you’re a marketer that targets Gen Yers, you should at a minimum be monitoring what your audience reads. Tools to monitor the blogosphere include paid services like Nielsen BuzzMetrics and WebSideStory’s HBX or do-it-yourself sites like Technorati. And an excellent “how-to” resource is this iMedia Connection article, “How to Measure Blog Influence”.
This then begs the question whether marketers should have a blog themselves to connect with blog readers. I usually answer with a qualified "yes", with the huge caveat that companies shouldn't have a blog just to have one. The better question to ask is whether you are interested in engaging in a different type of dialog that this generation seeks in its regular interactions -- one characterized by give and take and a culture of generosity. All too often, I talk with marketers who see blogs as yet another channel through which they can foist their existing marketing messages. So Gen Yer marketers, I encourage you to tap into the power of blogs but beware as this group can sniff insincerity out in a nanosecond.