Online article “Why Gen Y is going to change the Web”- Ashley

Written by Sarah Perez / May 15, 2008 11:30 AM

Gen Y is taking over. The generation of young adults that’s composed of the children of Boomers, Generation Jones, and even some Gen X’ers, is the biggest generation since the Baby Boomers and three times the size of Gen X. As the Boomers fade into retirement and Gen Y takes root in the workplace, we’re going to see some big changes ahead, not just at work, but on the web as a whole.

There’s some contention over where exactly Gen Y starts and stops – some say those born 1983-1997, others think 1982-1997. In this week’s Entertainment Weekly, Gen Y is defined as “current 13 to 31 year-olds” and BusinessWeek says they can be as young as five. Regardless, we know who they are – they’re the young kids of today, the most digitally active generation yet, having been born plugged in.

How They’re Different

They’re Plugged In: The term “digital native” applies to most Gen Y’ers. Those in Gen Y grew up around computers, the Internet, mobile phones, video games, and mp3 players. They are web savvy multitaskers, able watch TV, surf the web, listen to music, and talk or text on their phones, often performing several of these things at the same time.

TV Isn’t King: Although you’ll find some Gen Y’ers obsessing over the latest episode of “The Hills,” and other shows, they aren’t watching TV as much as other generations do. Instead, Gen Y’ers spend more time surfing the net and using other devices, like iPods and Xboxes, even when it cuts into TV viewing. For them, TV is often just “background noise.”

They Don’t Care About Your Ad, They Care What Their Friends Think: Because they are immersed in media, both online and off, Gen Y’ers are marketed to left and right. But when it comes to making decisions, Gen Y tends to rely on their network of friends and their recommendations, not traditional ads. “Ads that push a slogan, an image, and a feeling, the younger consumer is not going to go for,’‘ says James R. Palczynski, retail analyst for Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. Instead, they respond to “humor, irony, and the unvarnished truth.” They’re also somewhat distrusting of ads, which is why grassroots efforts can also work. However, don’t get too comfortable, Gen Y doesn’t have brand loyalty – they’re quick to move the next big thing.

Work Isn’t Their Whole World: Sure, they’re going to go to work, but it had better be fun. For Gen Y, work isn’t their identity. It’s just a place. Gen Y sees no reason why a company can’t be more accommodating, offering benefits like the ability to work from anywhere, flex-time, a culture that supports team communication, and a “fun” work environment. They’re also not going to blindly follow orders just because you’re the boss. Sometimes dubbed “Generation Why?” they need to “buy in” as to why something is being done. Old school bosses may find their questioning insubordinate behavior, but they would be best to just change their management techniques and adapt. Gen Y hasn’t known much unemployment and they’re not going to put up with being treated poorly just for sake of a paycheck. (Bosses, your survival guide is here).

They’re Socially Conscious: Gen Y cares about the world. They pay attention to politics, the economy, social causes, and environmental issues. They think they’re a force to be reckoned with in elections and follow the candidates online on social networks. They read the news, but not in newspaper format, which is is going to hurt that industry even more as time goes by.

Gen Y & Technology

Since Gen Y grew up on the web, they’re going to be the driving force behind the way the web of the future is shaped. What Gen Y wants from the web will be the web.

Internet TV: Although watching TV online is something that few Boomers do, Gen Y is perfectly comfortable with this. They time-shift content all the time, not only on the web but via portable devices and mp3 players, too. When it comes to TV on the web, a recent study showed Gen Y leading the way when it comes to internet TV viewing:

  • Generation Y (33%) and Generation X (27%) led early Baby Boomers (19%) in use of official TV program web sites.
  • Gen Y (62%) users are much more likely to have watched a full episode on the program site than Gen X (41%) or younger Boomers (32%).

Socializing Rules…But They Want to Control It: Gen Y thinks a truly “private” life is a crock54% have used MySpace, Facebook, or some other social network. Most of Gen Y had to learn the hard way about the perils of posting everything online. As they’ve aged, they realized blogging their every thought and posting those embarrassing pictures might have hurt their jobs prospects at times, so now some of them are interested in more privacy on their social networks. They’re happy to continue over-sharing with friends, but also learning how to protect their updates and set their profiles to private. They’re also wary of old folks, like their boss, trying to “friend” them in their social space, especially if they’re tragically un-hip wannabes.But that’s not to say their over-sharing is going to stop – Gen Y is getting into lifestreaming too, streaming live video via services like Yahoo! Live. In their own world, they’re celebrities. Says Jason Barg, a 2004 graduate of Penn State University and founder of an online real estate company, notoriety is more about standing out from the crowd. “A primary goal of people my age is not necessarily to become famous but to become distinctive,” he says.

Marketing Has To Change: Because Gen Y is media savvy and conscious of being marketed to, brands that succeed in the future will be those that open a dialog with their customers, admit their mistakes, and essentially become more transparent (save one notable exception, apparently). Companies’ web sites that want to attract GenY’ers will become more like today’s Web 2.0 sites. Social networking will be just a feature. Blogs will be standard ways for companies to reach their customers. Customer service won’t just be a phone call away, it will be available via non-traditional means, too. Today, savvy companies might be using Twitter, but that could change at any time if Gen Y moves on. Companies will have to keep up with Gen Y and not get too comfortable using any one format. (Oh, and you can stop calling everything “viral” – that’s lame.)

Work Tools Need to Mirror Web Tools: Gen Y will drive adoption of “Enterprise 2.0” products and services. Gen Y in the workplace will not just want, but expect their company to provide them with tools that mirror those they use in their personal lives. If socializing on Facebook helps them get a sale, then they’re not going to understand why they can’t use it at work. For more buckled down companies, if workers aren’t provided with the tools they want, they’re going to be savvy enough to go around I.T.’s back and get their own.

Web Sites Will Need to Cater to Shorter Attention Spans: No more long boring text! Thanks to constant media input, Gen Y has shorter attention spans and their “grasshopper minds” leap quickly from topic to topic. (They also didn’t read this whole article…too long!)

This article discusses the trends, usage and relationships that Gen Y have with the online market. I found that it spoke in an informal tone and could have been presented to a group of young people and recieved positive and confirming reactions.

This article is on the money with how they are changing the web, the features and options they expect and the way marketing and advertising as a whole has been flipped upside down by the internet boom.

like most of us i find out about alot of the events, gigs, openings and trends through rss feeds, regular web browsing or if suggested by friends through email or social networking sites. These new forms of gathering information mean that advertisers must be more tactful with their business as to not cramp unwanted ads onto a slimlined page of ‘must read’ information.



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Extract from Ashley

NET EFFECT. Which isn’t to say echo boomers aren’t brand-conscious. Bombarded by ad messages since birth, how could they not be? But marketing experts say they form a less homogeneous market than their parents did. One factor is their racial and ethnic diversity. Another is the fracturing of media, with network TV having given way to a spectrum of cable channels and magazine goliaths such as Sports Illustrated and Seventeen now joined by dozens of niche competitors. Most important, though, is the rise of the Internet, which has sped up the fashion life cycle by letting kids everywhere find out about even the most obscure trends as they emerge. It is the Gen Y medium of choice, just as network TV was for boomers. ”Television drives homogeneity,” says Mary Slayton, global director for consumer insights for Nike. ”The Internet drives diversity.”

Nowhere is that Net-driven diversity more clear than in the music business. On the Web, fans of even the smallest groups can meet one another and exchange information, reviews, even sound clips. Vicki Starr, a partner in Girlie Action, a New York-based music promoter, last year booked No Doubt, a band with a teen following, into a small Manhattan venue. She says that on opening night the house was packed with teenage girls dressed just like the lead singer. ”How do they know this? How do they keep up with what she’s wearing? It’s not from network television,” says Starr. ”It’s online.”

The Internet’s power to reach young consumers has not been lost on marketers. These days, a well-designed Web site is crucial for any company hoping to reach under-18 consumers. ”I find out about things I want to buy from my friends or from information on the Internet,” says Michael Eliason, 17, of Cherry Hill, N.J. Even popular teen TV shows, such as Warner Bros. (TWX)Television Network’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson’s Creek, have their own Web sites.

Other companies are keeping in touch by E-mail. American Airlines Inc. recently launched a college version of its popular NetSaver program, which offers discounted fares to subscribers by E-mail. ”They all have E-mail addresses,” says John R. Samuel, director of interactive marketing for American. ”If a company can’t communicate via E-mail,” he says, ”the attitude is ‘What’s wrong with you?”’

This torrent of high-speed information has made Gen Y fashions more varied and faster-changing. Young consumers have shown that they’ll switch their loyalty in an instant to marketers that can get ahead of the style curve. No brand has done a better job of that than Tommy Hilfiger (TOM). When Hilfiger’s distinctive logo-laden shirts and jackets starting showing up on urban rappers in the early ’90s, the company started sending researchers into music clubs to see how this influential group wore the styles. It bolstered its traditional mass-media ads with unusual promotions, from giving free clothing to stars on VH1 and MTV to a recent deal with Miramax Film Corp., in which teen film actors will appear in Hilfiger ads. Knowing its customers’ passion for computer games, it sponsored a Nintendo competition and installed Nintendo terminals in its stores. Gen Y consumers have rewarded that attentiveness by making Hilfiger jeans their No. 1 brand in a recent American Express Co. (AXP) survey.

Compare that record with Levi’s, one of the world’s most recognized brands and an icon of boomer youth. It got a harsh wake-up call in 1997, when its market share slid, and research revealed that the brand was losing popularity among teens. With its core boomer customers hitting middle age, both Levi’s advertising and its decades-old five-pocket jeans were growing stale. ”We all got older, and as a consequence, we lost touch with teenagers,” says David Spangler, director of market research for the Levi’s brand. Now, Levi’s is fighting back with new ads, new styles, a revamped Web site, and ongoing teen panels to keep tabs on emerging trends. “We never put much muscle into this sort of thing before, but now, we are dead serious about it,” says Spangler. “This is a generation that must be reckoned with. They are going to overtake the country.”

Marketers who don’t bother to learn the interests and obsessions of Gen Y are apt to run up against a brick wall of distrust and cynicism. Years of intense marketing efforts aimed directly their way have taught this group to assume the worst about companies trying to coax them into buying something. Ads meant to look youthful and fun may come off as merely opportunistic to a Gen Y consumer. That’s what happened to PepsiCo in its attempts to earn Gen Y loyalty with its Generation Next campaign, says William Strauss, co-author of the 1991 book Generations: The History of America’s Future. The TV ads, in which kids showed off branded trinkets, from jackets to gym bags, fell flat. ”They were annoying,” says Philip Powell, 14, of Houston. ”It was just one long ‘Please, please, buy me.”’

Ironically, Pepsi already has one of the biggest teen soda hits with Mountain Dew, but the drink’s success has little to do with advertising. Instead, kids found out about Dew from their most trusted endorsers–each other. ”[Kids] believe–true or not–that they’re the ones who figured out and spread the word that the drink has tons of caffeine,” says Marian Salzman, head of the brand futures group at Young & Rubicam Inc. ”The caffeine thing was not in any of Mountain Dew’s television ads. This drink is hot by word of mouth.”

Along with cynicism, Gen Y is marked by a distinctly practical world view, say marketing experts. Raised in dual-income and single-parent families, they’ve already been given considerable financial responsibility. Surveys show they are deeply involved in family purchases, be they groceries or a new car. One in nine high school students has a credit card co-signed by a parent, and many will take on extensive debt to finance college. Most expect to have careers and are already thinking about home ownership, according to a 1998 survey of college freshman for Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. ”This is a very pragmatic group. At 18 years old, they have five-year plans. They are already looking at how they will be balancing their work/family commitments,” says Deanna Tillisch, who directed the survey.

This article discusses the changes Gen Y has brought to the marketing world, and to websites and online marketing. With the internet being the medium of choice for Gen Y marketers hat to shift from tv domination to online. Young people communicate with friends, recieve discounts and updates and keep on to of all the latest trends.

With disposable fashion and living a characteristic of this group, Gen Y what to know all the options they have, and they want the results swiftly. They move through music, fashion, technology and lifestyles at a rapid pace and with these ever changing personas marketers need to be able to serve these needs.

Websites like ThreeThousand present themselves to the youth market as being edgy, unique, on top of trends and consistently updating. They give Gen Y an easy to use, functional, trendy website they can visit, recive rss feeds and tell their friends about events etc.



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Online Magazine

When we all first started talking about ThreeThousand we couldn’t help but think it was remnant of this free magazines that keep you updated on gigs and cool things happening

Magazines such as these Beat & Impress, although the information in these guides is very limited it only provides a guide to music gigs an does not have as broad of a variety as ThreeThousand. This trend however is becoming more prevalent as online magazines are growing websites such as Yanko Design is an online magazine for cool new products that people design ( It shows how the technological world is growing so rapidly and also it is a really smart way to give people constant access to new information. It also allows for a broader audience as it would get more traffic going through it than typical magazines that have to be paid for and the free magazines that some people just believe is trash. So it is a smart move for ThreeThousand to create this information in the online platform as it will create more of an audience.


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Website Functionality

ThreeThousand has good functionality that appeals to its market, its navigation is fairly straight forward but still retains its audience appeal. The ability for responders to get weekly updates retains this constant connection with its main audience, it is located in the top right hand side of the page, so it becomes one of the initial things other than the logo that the onlooker will see.

The website also offers incentives and as us young folk would say ‘FREE STUFF’ which is very appealing to youth culture as nothing is better than receiving something free for doing almost nothing. Things such as this are a good marketing tactic as the audience will wonder what can I try to win this week which will continue to make the audience connection greater and gain further interest and depth into what the website can offer.

It constant structure offers easy usability, even though the youth that is its target audience are so tech savvy that it really doesn’t make a difference. However, for other user audiences that stumble upon the website it still retains an easy to follow functionality. It also has the potential for a broader target audience as it gives quality information about great places to eat (for older generations) and also could be really useful for tourists as it provides the cool things to do around Melbourne that create a more diverse experience and also provide information for more touristy things like ACMI. This website really appeals to a broad audience but still retains that anti-establishemnt feel to it.

It kind of has universal functionality that appeals to a large number of audiences…. ITS GREAT!


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Threethousand exploits its concise demographic, its target audience in so many ways is very minimal therefore allowing more precise information that is directly targeted to its audience. I would say its audience ranges from around 18-27, typically the people who browse this site would be looking for out of the norm things to do, something that seems cool and secretive in a way. We all know that those in this ‘counterculture’ always like to feel like they are separated from the norm or the mainstream. However the site still provides useful information like job opportunities and hidden jem restaurants that are not necessarily out of the norm, so in that respect it does broaden its target market. I heard about this site from a friend of mine, this demonstrates how the site is mostly by word of mouth, you definitely wouldn’t just stumble upon this site on general browsing.

The colloquial language on the website makes it more like a friend is telling you about something cool not just some forced article that has an agenda to MAKE people go to something. Its credibility also ads to its appeal, the people that write the articles have been to the places and will most likely have similar tastes to the target audience. It also uses pretty easy navigation (not sure if I mentioned that) although the navigation isn’t standard navigation it is still pretty simple and easy to understand (this coming from someone in the tech savvy world).

It utilises email updates as well, which continually links the audience back to the site and make them feel a connection with it so they will return more frequently. This is also an effective way to market things, like for example I have subscribed and every issue plugs a new cd, it is advertising the cd to generate sales. Also they have more mainstream advertisement like for ACMI……

The target demographic of course being complete music people Threethousand choose they’re advertisement well, it also shows cool films and T.v as well.


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Website Style-Ashley

ThreeThousand website is designed,layed out and constructed to adhere to a particular theme/style. The images, positioning, typefaces, colours, content, themes, promotion, advertising and accessability are all dictated by the target audience and the youth culture which drives these websites.



It’s not just websites like ThreeThousand either.

When creating a website for the youth market a particular style can be adopted which is modern, current and what people want to see. Like these….

They feature vintage images, bold typefaces, underground and independent info. The focus on the arts, creativity, uniqueness and what the individuals in put. They are consumer driven so advertising is scarse and well disguised. It underlies the witting posts and rave reviews so that viewers absorb it without feeling as though they’re being sold something.

It’s important to cater to the target and the layout and stylistic choices of ThreeThousand all tie together to sum up elements os youth culture that youth themselves can identify with and feel excited and empowered by these online precenses, ensuring their sucess.

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Commenting on Jacks Post…..

I have noticed this targeted web marketing/advertisement in things such as Gmail, where it creates advertisement that correlates to the emails that you get….

This was the tagline of the email….. (you can even see the website for the vacuum cleaner appear above)

This was the item inside the email….

This is the advertisement it came up with on the right hand side of the page, as you can see it has specialised the advertisement to show other ‘deals’ websites and some cleaning supplies that is is directly related to the content of the email.

I also heard something about a guy who was searching for wedding rings or something and then ads about rings and wedding type this appeared on facebook and his future wife witnessed these ads and the surprise was ruined. I think facebook also had to change some advertisement privacy thing because of similar complaints and stuff…..


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