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The New “Me” Generation

what age group is internet content focused on?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 ;) .

  • http://www.allanwoodstrom.com Allan Woodstrom

    Good study, although I think the findings are just a reflection of the fact that adults over 45 produce far less online content than adults 18-35.
    As a result it may be more difficult for them to recieve links and rank highly in search engines. Thus finding content aimed at adults over 45 may be more difficult to find as well.

  • Jordan McCollum

    Thanks for pointing that out, Allan. That was something I meant to mention but forgot.

  • http://www.gadgets4nowt.co.uk PS3

    I’m just about to turn 40 but am still finding an amazing amount of content that interests me. Do I only have 5 years left before I am burnt out?

    Or maybe I am just a young thinker?

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  • http://www.goodnightmoonfuton.com Futon-Matt

    I think a persons’ answer has less to do with who the content is actually aimed at than the sense that most people feel around everything being about themselves.

  • http://www.gadgets4nowt.co.uk PS3

    I tend to agree with you there Matt. Bottom line though, there is so much content out there that everyone should be able to find something that suits them.

  • http://www.greatpriceshere.com Nicole

    Thats a ridiculous survey. With so much unimaginable content on the Internet, there is something for everyone. Even a 4 year old can find content useful to him.

  • http://www.bracingyourbrand.com/ Rob Kingston

    I believe these figures reflect that most content is aimed at younger age groups because there are more younger people consuming content online today. Thus making it more important to deliver further content to these people, more often.

    Also considering that younger generations are more likely to publish content, they probably don’t consider generational differences which would make the content more appealing to baby boomers etc. Can you imagine the difference between a party full of baby boomers and a party full of college students or young professionals?

    I’d also think that older people are generally less tech-savvy and unable to find information tailored to their generation.

    After we wait a few years (~5-10), I bet this gap won’t exist as they show today.

  • http://www.goodnightmoonfuton.com Futon-Matt

    Good point PS3, I do agree that there is so much content that there has to be something for everyone.

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  • http://www.barbaraling.com Barbara Ling

    My dad is in his 80s and still finds tons of new stuff online that interests him every day.

    It’s all in the mind of the user that’s important.

    Data points,

    Barbara

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