A decade of digital detonation

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DIGITAL: a seven-letter word that has become an integral part of Americans' daily lives. According to Nielsen and NM Incite's U.S. Digital Consumer Report for the Q3 to Q4 2011 year, more than 274 million Americans had Internet access in 2011—bounding light-years ahead of the 132 million Americans who had access in Y2K. Americans also spent more than 81 billion minutes on social networks and blogs in 2011. People at least two years old spent 146 hours and 45 minutes watching TV at home in Q3 2011. As brands' digital presences continues to explode, marketers must brush up on their three W's (who, what, and where) to target their ideal consumer.

WHO: Every demographic has its own digital vice. In October 2011, for example, African American females between the ages of 25 to 54 consumed 812 million video streams and watched 2.4 billion minutes of video online, according to the report. On the other hand, 69% of Hispanic males between the ages of 18 to 34 own a smartphone and 46% downloaded apps to their cell phones.

WHAT: Consumers don't limit themselves to solely using one channel at a time; many smartphone and tablet users rely heavily on digital multitasking. When watching a television program, 57% checked their email and 44% surfed for unrelated information or checked their social networks.

WHERE: With so many digital devices at consumers' fingertips, it's crucial that marketers know exactly where to direct their messages. For instance, 95.7% of 18- to 34-year-old consumers and 97% of 55-and-older consumers access their social networks on a computer. However, not everyone is so keen on mobile; while 58.8% of 18- to 34-year-old consumers access their social networks via their mobile phone, only 12.6% of the 55-and-older crowd prefers to do the same.

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