Marketing to Men & Women: Differences in Internet Usage
Marketing on the web has long since been highly focused toward men because of their early adoption of Internet use. Also, the overall idea that women would not be entirely interested spending hours in front of a computer. However, times have changed and marketers have found that marketing to men and women has been equally important in generating sales and brand awareness. This article explores the differences in Internet use between men and women and how marketing has changed to reach each gender.
How Men & Women Use the Internet
To understand how marketing has changed, it's important to understand how each gender uses the web in their daily lives.
For example, men are more likely to read news, find travel services, examine sports, purchase through online auctions, create content, download music and build online businesses. Women, on the other hand, generally focus on learning health information, browse through spiritual and religious documents and seek support groups. This information is from a research study by Pew Trusts dating from 2005. However, much of this information still holds true to this day.
In the bigger picture, the overall use of the web has exploded over the last decade due to Web 2.0 technologies, social networking websites, photo sharing platforms and other websites dedicated to entertainment and information.
For marketers, focusing on the platforms and needs of each gender presents a difficult decision for advertising campaigns. But the overall boost in Internet users and usage has exploded the return on investments for businesses that market online.
Marketing to Men and Women Online: The Differences
Men and women think differently and make their decisions based on their own convictions and how their brains are wired. The following is a variety of differences of how marketing changes between genders and their Internet use.
- Men generally base their decisions on logic and look for facts rather than over-hyped headlines. Men are far more likely to purchase a product if clear details and features are shared about a product or service instead of being told of the emotional value.
- Women focus on the emotional connection of a marketing campaign and how it can affect their life based on the promises of the campaign. The buying triggers for women are generally focused around a personal approach to share an image of their personal value and connect with their emotions rather than strictly focusing on specifications and features of a product or service.
- Men are far more loyal to brands and will often stay with a company and their products for a long period of time. Women are very active in comparison shopping and will seek bargains rather than purchasing a previous brand that was bought in the past.
- In terms of marketing homes and apartments, men are far more concerned with the outdoors and scenery around the house where as women are focused on the space and homey feel of a house.
- Men are very concerned with their personal time and try to purchase products as quickly as possible. Women generally take a longer time when determining the value of products and will often find deal breakers because of their dedication to learning more about a product before the purchase.
- Men, by far, are interested in power, while women are looking for security. Marketing messages need to appeal to each of these desires through their copy and imagery to touch on each of the points that appeal to both genders.
- Men are very competitive and seek to purchase products and services that give them a one up over the others. Women are far more compassionate and often seek products and services which benefit multiple individuals within their circle. For marketing messages, focus toward how a product could give a man an advantage while women could gain better relationships.
- Men generally base their buying decisions on the decisions of others where as women generally use the guidance of friends just to help aid in their decisions. Marketing, in this sense, should focus around displaying reviews and opinions which will help both genders understand the process others have taken to purchase products and services. Each should be tailored and selected to reach the individual gender based on this difference in Internet use and marketing.
- Finally, men and women will respond to the opposite gender in the marketing imagery. Under-dressed models will often catch a man's eye while the same can be true for women.
In the grand scheme of things, marketing has been taking a dramatic shift toward women, overall. Although men often provide the main income for a family unit, its women that often make the buying decisions.
Recently, online games and programs within social media and networking websites such as Facebook has captivated stay-at-home mothers (and some fathers) which also display in-game advertising.
Extended periods of time are spent in front of computers between men and women as it has become integrated into the average household. The recent push to smart phones by the general public has also opened a new world of marketing when users visit websites through their built-in phone browsers.
The two elements of marketing and the differences between men and women online can be broken down to the following:
- Men buy based on logic, seek definite facts and generally spend time on news, sports and individual websites offering specific content.
- Women buy based on emotion, seek a connection based on their own relationships, look for bargains through comparison shopping and spend the majority of their time on support and health websites.
The Internet is an ever-changing platform. Marketing on the web evolves as the Internet grows and each gender becomes more representative and browses throughout the millions of websites located on the web.
Tech-savvy marketers will realize to add variety in their marketing campaigns to aim for both genders and their overall differences in Internet use. To reach both genders, campaigns should focus on the key triggers based on the logical and emotional reactions of men and women while simultaneously focusing on the websites they frequently visit.