Media Habits of 12-24 Year-Olds vs. 25-54 Year-Olds — Key to Shaping Your Nonprofit Marketing Agenda

Media Habits of 12-24 Year-Olds vs. 25-54 Year-Olds -- Key to Shaping Your Nonprofit Marketing AgendaI just finished reading the 2007 Digital Future Report from the USC Annenberg School’s Center for the Digital Future, and am still digesting. Take some time to dig into the summary of findings that’ll help you shape your communications choices to today’s (and tomorrow’s) digital habits.

Here’s are some crucial takes on habits of those 12 to 24–juxtaposed with those of audiences 25 to 54–and how they’ll impact your nonprofit marketing:

Audiences 12-24

  • Will never read a newspaper but attracted to some magazines
    • So op-eds don’t reach them, at least in print
  • Will never own a land-line phone
  • Will not watch television on someone else’s schedule much longer, and much less interested in TV
    • TV ads won’t work, unless they’re part of the show (how about cause placement?)
  • Trust unknown peers more than experts/community at the center of Internet experience/want to be heard (user generated)
    • Stop ignoring social networking
  • For first time willing (2005) to pay for digital content—never before
    • Inventory your information assets and think about options for distribution
  • Little interest in the source of information and most information aggregated
  • Everything will move to mobile
    • More than advocacy and fundraising alerts, and make it interactive please
  • Use IM. Think email is for their parents

Life of a 25-54

  • Still read offline newspapers and magazines
    • Cast your op-eds to this group, boomers and seniors
  • Like mobile for voice (and a few for data) but do not see their world on mobile phones
    • I think this is going to change very soon, pay close attention to this factor
  • Aggregate information online and use RSS (though few know the term)
  • Community important for tasks, much less so for socializing
  • Trust experts on factual information but rely heavily on reviews of peers on hotels, electronics, etc
    • Start to use social networking with these folks, they’re on the path of increased reliance on audience-generated content
  • Care GREATLY about sources of news and information online
    • Nurture your brand — it’s vital for these folks
  • Heavy into email

P.S. The Center is doing a powerful job of getting attention for this report. Center staff release a nugget (aka Web Insight) from the report, with a brief explanation and summary graph, every two weeks. It’s a great way to refocus attention on findings; and to release a digestible amount of content (from a very dense report). I’m going to call it dripping (in the best sense). 

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Nancy Schwartz on October 30, 2007 in Nonprofit Communications, Specific Audience Segments, Trends | 3 comments
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  • Jon Stahl

    It seems like the question is: will the media habits of 12-24’s evolve as they age (and as technology changes), and if so, how?
    What have we learned from watching previous cohorts adopt (or fail to adopt) emerging technologies?

  • George

    Thanks for the links!

  • Christopher Heald

    12 to 24 covers a very wide range of behaviors. It’s hardly surprising that op-eds won’t be a very effective means of reaching a large part of this age group (say ages 12 to 16).
    Not having the complete report on-hand, it would be extremely interesting to see a further breakdown by age of the younger group.
    Also following the group as it ages could prove fascinating.

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