A survey from Ad Age shows why news sites — or any content provider — need to be concerned about comments on the site and ways to engage the audience. In my own experience, people my age and older often seem baffled that anyone even bothers to comment on things they see on the Web, and that is reflected in the survey:
“Fully half of the 1,003 households that took part in our online survey said that adding more tools for engagement would have zero impact on the likelihood that they would visit a news site. Add in the 13% who said they would be less likely to visit and you get nearly two thirds of site visitors seemingly uninterested in having comments, photos and videos from their peers mixed in with the news content from the staff reporters and editors.”
But breaking down the numbers changes the picture substantially:
“Younger millennials (18- to 24-year-olds) are three times as likely as those 55 and older to say that engagement tools will make them more likely to visit a site.
“Almost 80% of the 55-plus crowd said they rarely or never comment on stories, compared to only 24% of the 18- to 24-year-olds and 27% of the 25- to 34-year-olds.”
As Matt Carmichael sums up in the Ad Age post, the younger generations “aren’t building the same news habits as previous generations who are keeping print afloat.” Online, where your organization’s future is, you have to pay attention to the habits those groups are developing.