Yahoo! Inc. and Starcom MediaVest Group, announced the results of a research study commissioned by both companies, which reveals new findings and insights into the media consumption patterns and habits of women. The key findings of the study revealed the re-emergence of the women's daytime audience, mapped their behavior online, and showed that the Internet is the leading media choice among women, trailing only work, sleep and spending time with family across overall activities.
The results of the study were announced at Real Women. Digital World. The Untold Story of Women & the Web, Yahoo!'s conference for marketers, which is designed to further explore and understand the media consumption patterns of women, and how marketers can best communicate with this group. The qualitative and quantitative national study was conducted by Just Ask a Woman and TNS Media Research respectively.
"Marketers and media companies who hope to truly connect with women consumers now and in the coming decades cannot ignore the growing importance and impact of the Internet, digital media and communication devices on women's lives," said Wenda Harris Millard, chief sales officer, Yahoo! Inc. "We look forward to working with marketers to apply both the insights from this research and the marquis speakers at our event to help them further understand how to better reach and connect with women."
"The Thirty-Eight Hour Day"
The Real Women. Digital World. research revealed that the landscape of the women's daytime audience has changed dramatically over the last 30 years, as more women have entered the workforce. According to the research, women rely on the Internet to manage all facets of their work, family and social lives. Women indicated that their total time spent on individual activities in one day added up to 38 hours of activity inside a 24-hour day. The Internet has enabled women to multi-task while facing this 38-hour day and has become a central fixture within their lives. Despite the increased time at work and online, one-quarter of the women surveyed are actually spending more time with their family than they were a year ago. The women surveyed indicated one reason the work-life balance seems to be shifting in a positive direction is the efficiency and empowerment that the Internet affords them.
The study showed that one-third of working women are working more hours than in previous years. To help manage their lives, working women spend an average of 40 minutes online during the day for non-work activities, and going online has replaced the coffee or water-cooler break. Women's non-work-related activities include banking, emails, instant messaging, planning travel and events, coordinating their personal lives and playing games. According to the women surveyed, most life tasks, such as paying bills, have become easier due to the Internet. Conversely, 47 percent of working women use their personal Internet connection to conduct work during non-working hours.
"The joint research study has helped to underscore that the women's audience is complex, but crucial, because of their embrace of the digital lifestyle," said Kate Sirkin, global director of strategic intelligence, Starcom MediaVest Group. "Marketers will be able to better connect with them by understanding that women's environment and experience affects their receptiveness to advertising."
In terms of how women use the Internet, they are considered consummate "Surchers," doing a hybrid of surfing and searching within a number of their favorite sites. While some of the content most sought by women online, including shopping, home/family and health/beauty, is found typical women's magazines, other areas such as news, financial services and games also top the list of online destinations. To defy stereotypes even further, the research found that a higher percentage of women visit sports sites than astrology sites.
What's Your Profile?
The research breaks out the personality profiles of the female Internet user -- Cassandra, Cowgirl, Debutante, Detective, Diva, Shopkeeper, Socialite and Voyeur -- in order to present marketers with a psychographic framework for understanding and speaking to women online. In shaping creative messages, marketers might ask which of these profiles the product is likely to connect with. These eight overlapping personality types are based on women's online experience and are influenced by whom the women are in the offline world, as well as their key behavioral attributes online.
Traditional Channels Still Play a Key Role
Women also use magazines, product packaging and television to learn about Web sites. Because magazines have the added benefit of portability, a full 65 percent of women who read magazines actually prefer to read the hard copy. Traditional media still plays a key role in women's lives, particularly in the form of relaxing entertainment. Some of the sites most visited by women, including entertainment, shopping, news and finance, supplement other media, providing instant and interactive information that is not typically available through other media.