More Web Users Surfing Just…Because

On any given day, almost one in three Web users, 30 percent, go online for no particular reason, for fun, or to pass the time. That’s according to a recent study released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Pew surveyed 3,000 adults last December, and their results indicate that…broadband users and young adults were more likely to turn to the Web without particular reasons than were dial-up users or senior citizens.

Not surprisingly, 37 percent of respondents between the ages 18 and 29 went online on an average day for no particular reason, compared to 31 percent of those between 30 and 49, 25 percent of people 50 to 64 years old, and 20 percent of people 65 and older.

How does this affect Internet marketing? Consider the desires of your target demographic: if you’re aiming for a younger market, you should be looking at ways to make your web site (and their visit) more interactive. Video, audio, interactive games are all a good bet if you want to engage these users and entice them to spend time on your site.

Dial-up users, on the other hand, are mostly using the Internet to seek out specific information, and will not want to wait for large video or flash files to load. Give them solid content, and they will likely stick around for a while.

And don’t expect things to stay the same. As more and more Internet users embrace broadband, you can expect to see a corresponding increase in surfing behavior. Which means that web sites will have to work even harder to hold a user’s interest.

The upside of this is that this Darwinian environment should create better content in the long run.

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