Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Where the Boys Are 

Here is an interesting fact. Men are the largest body of readers of online news -- about 60 to 70 percent of online news consumers. Why? No one seems to know, but the male population is watching less TV and reading more online news -- so much so, that advertisers reaching for males are shifting ad budgets from TV to online news sites.

As an online PR practitioner, I find this baffling. Women caught up with men in Internet usage years ago, but they are not using the Internet for news -- at least not mainstream news. Maybe they are getting news from their own sites, or maybe they don't consider news important by comparison with other online information sources. This mystery needs investigation, especially by PR practitioners who want to reach women through online news sites.

Another mystery has to do with viral marketing. It might be me, but I swear much of viral marketing is targeted to males and saturated with sexual themes. When I look at sites that track viral work, it seems as if more than half is spicy. Why? I thought at first that young, horny, creative males are doing it, so they make something for other young, horny males. But, that isn't, or shouldn't be, the answer to viral marketing. Viral marketing is a fertile field for PR messages, and they shouldn't have to be folded into X-rated presentations to get passed around.

Both issues need research, and we need answers to better shape online PR campaigns.


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