Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Asking the right question

Here's a question we hear frequently in discussions of online campaigns:

"Yes, but are we sure that [insert customer group] go online?"

It's a fair question, but I think it's a question whose time has passed. You can insert any one-dimensional view of a person you like in the brackets...male or female, pet owner, parent or polo player and the answer will be the same: Yes.

There are only two qualities that have any significance in answering the question no or maybe: income below $40,000 and education below high school. Age only matters above 64. If one is relatively poor, relatively older and relatively uneducated, they may not be online. For everyone else, the percentages are 80% or higher. (Pew Internet + American Life Tracking Study data here.)

Looking at this chart, one can calculate that more than 190 million adult americans are online.

(Click to enlarge)

The right question, it would seem, is no longer "are they online?"...it's "where are they are online?"

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