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September 25, 2013
Digital AdLand's Leading Indicator: Women
 
More often than not, one can get into heated conversations when conclusions are based on simple generalizations. It is times like those when it is best to rely on market research; it takes the intuition and guessing out of the matter. Now in a creative environment like AdLand, we do not want to completely discredit the "gut feeling." It definitely has its role, and should be nurtured. However, when it comes to creating customer profiles and a business strategy, researchers and numbers reign supreme.

We approach this matter because several studies have come out recently about the dominance women have over the market as a whole in digital and social media.

We didn't think this matter needed research; it has been studied time and time again how women appreciate and thrive on social interaction more than men, and would typically beat the market in those instances. Naturally, then, carrying the tendencies to a different platform shouldn't erase the dominance.

Our hypothesis has been suggested to be accurate.

Nielsen and Arbitron paired up to release this Moms in Media 2013 study, a study that has been tracking data since 1998. MediaCom in the UK also released a study that looked at media usage with schoolboys and schoolgirls ages 8 to 16, and that study has been going on for about 16 years.

And both come to the same conclusion: When it comes to digital media, watch what the girls are doing.

The Nielsen/Arbitron study showed that although dads/men watched more online video and shopped more online (especially during work hours), moms knew more up-and-coming digital platforms, they were more active online, and they had more interactions. The MediaCom study shared that over there, girls used IM and Twitter more than the boys, and had more access to technology than their male counterparts.

What does this all mean?

It's hard to say. It is clear that something is going on where girls and women are getting connected at a faster pace than the market, and they are quite comfortable with it. As communications professionals, it would benefit us to continue watching this trend, and see how women will dictate how advertisers send messages.

Indeed, the digital landscape gets "curiouser and curiouser." 

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Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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