In this week’s Tech News Tuesday #TNT episode, we discuss a recent Pew Research study on who is online and how often they’re online. We discuss what it means to be online constantly and how it affects your business practices.
Links in this episode:
Welcome to the Get Digital Marketing Results podcast where we give you information and actionable tips to grow your organization.
Bob: Hi. I’m Bob Clark
Donna: And I’m Donna Botti. We’re with Delos Inc and we make the web work for you.
When a large proportion of your audience say they are “constantly online” how does that impact your local business? In this Tech News Tuesday episode we’re going to look at a recent Pew Research study on who is online and how often they go online.
Bob: Basically they found out that we are online a lot. The study was conducted earlier this year found that 81% of Americans said they go online on a daily basis. For comparison, in 2015, this same study found only 73% of Americans went online every day.
Donna: I think this tracks pretty well with more people increasingly having smart phones as their mobile device, and even maybe their main connected device to the internet. The study found that mobile users spend more time online – almost a third of that group say they are “constantly online”
Bob: So what does that constantly online mean?
Donna: I think it is a change in how we perceive the technology. Google has a quote that I like to use – we don’t go online anymore, we live online. And I think that is what this constantly online refers to. It’s not a separate activity we do anymore, but is part of our everyday life – from GPS, to researching products, sharing pictures and videos, to finding out anything that comes up in conversation – like, what was the score of that game last night? Who starred in that movie? What time does a restaurant close? Or ya know, every morning I hear one of my kids asking our device, will it rain today?
We spend a lot of time with our phones. I have an iPhone and I know when Apple first came out with the Screen Time feature (which has a weekly report that tells you how much time per day you spend on your phone) I know I wasn’t the only one horrified by the results.
You’re an Android user Bob; Do they have the same sort of thing?
Bob: Well Donna, I think there’s an app for that, yes.
Donna: And while we are starting to see some push back – have you seen that game where a group of people at dinner or the bar put their phones in the middle of the table and the first one to get a notification has to pay the check for the next round?
Bob: Uh, Donna… your phone is pinging off right now…
Donna: No, I’m not buying you another beer. [Laughs] So this trend – and I think a digital detox is another one, I think is a little bit of reaction or push back to being always connected. However, for businesses I think the important point to consider is when people talk about spending less time with their devices they are usually referring to mindless scrolling on social media or video watching. Things that you usually consider an unproductive use of your time. I don’t really see anyone saying I’m not going to research products or services online or I’m going to give up finding out online about events in my community or I’m not going to order anything online anymore. You know it seems like when people want to stop using their phones as much, it’s really about the mindless activities we’re going to do, would you agree?
Bob: I agree.
Donna: So, in order to catch that use of the mobile devices in particular, businesses and nonprofits need to figure out how do they integrate what they do in real life with their online presence.
One simple example of that is making sure that your hours and contact information is accurate on your website and Google. It still amazes me how often you still have to search a bunch of pages on a site just to find someone’s phone number or address.
Then beyond that you need to pretend you are a prospective or current customer and use your own website on a mobile device to try and do business with you. Is all the information you need there, are your questions answered, is it simple to take the next step? Today there seems to be a lot more loyalty to convenience than a particular brand. You need to figure out how that works for you.
So we know we are on line a lot, especially mobile users. Who else is constantly online?
Bob: For younger people (the 18 to 29ers), about half are constantly online. The study also found that college-educated adults, Hispanics, higher income households and non-rural residents report going online more frequently.
You should note if any of these groups match your target audience and act accordingly.
Donna: While those groups report high usage, even among older adults who they consider 50-64 years old, almost 20% are online constantly.
And this number has skyrocketed over the past few years. So it’s definitely something we can’t ignore.
Bob: You can find a link to the study in our show notes at delosinc.com/102 and don’t forget to subscribe to get actionable news and digital marketing tips to grow your organization.