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Just Who Are "Digital Divas"?

written by: MD Weems•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 11/10/2008

When it comes to men and women online, it's becoming clear that women are surpassing men as the majority of the online population. But, when it comes to how they use the Internet, men and women differ a lot.

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    Women's Online Behavior Study

    Ever wonder how women actually behave online? Wonder if we're different than men when it comes to how we use the Internet and what we do with it? Well, apparently we are extremely different when it comes to how we see and use the Internet. According to a new study that was just released, women have not only surpassed men as the majority population online, but the study also shows the world just how women actually use the Internet and how they basically "live" in the online world. This study took an in-depth look at the proprietary data from group discussions, "Media Diaries", and online bulletin boards to help collect the data for the study.

    This study was done by Microsoft Advertising, Mindshare, and Ogilvy Chicago and involved surveying more than 800 women online. These women shared everything about their digital domains and digital lives - from the gadgets that they use to their online philosophies. Beth Uyenco, the global research director for Microsoft Advertising, said about the study: "We sought to answer the burning questions keeping brand managers and advertisers up at night: How are women in the digital age different from women of past generations? How can brands leverage digital media to deepen relationships with them? Are we moving fast enough?” She went on to say that they gained some great insight from the study that was completely unexpected, finding that even extremely low-interest categories online can be made marketable to reach those Digital Divas out there.

    But, don't go thinking that it was just younger generation women that were surveyed. There were generation X-ers, baby boomers, stay-at-home moms of all ages, generations y-ers, and women who work from home. With this wide variety of different areas of the online female market, there were some great findings that will help those in advertising promote their products and services to those online divas who use the Internet for everything.

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    The Findings

    In the survey, "Digital Divas" emerged. These are the section of women that were surveyed that have a very high propensity to use their computers and digital devices for everything in their everyday life - from shopping to socializing to using online services. This group of women make up the trend setters for the marketers out there to understand and to cater their advertising to, as they are the forerunners that will create the paths that others (men and women) will follow. This group of women was the most interesting for the study as they provide a glimpse into how they selected brands, how they used the technology that they had, and what they are interested in as a whole. Here are some of the findings that the study revealed on this specific group: 22% of them shop at least once a day, they view their cell phones, computers, and other technological devices as "extensions of themselves", they have over 170 contacts in their email on average, and they pass along information and great finds to friends and family members via the Internet.

    But, it wasn't just this group that was making waves in the online marketing community. Women as a whole are completely engaged in online activities, and they differ completely from how men see the Internet. For example, the study found that women look at the technology that they have differently than men do, and they see the devices that they have differently also. The women in the study reported that they see their computers and cells as extensions of their personalities. Thus this is a great way for the marketing community to adjust their brand images to that belief.

    By delivering a marketing message in a way that will cater to a woman's thinking that their technological devices are, more or less, extensions of how the world sees them, those companies will be on the forefront of how women see the market overall and how they purchase products they need or want. When it comes to the overall group of women that the study spoke to, here are some of the findings: over half of them never unplug their devices, if they had to get rid of something in their technological lives, they would throw out their tv's or cell phone first (only a little over 10% said that they'd ditch their laptop), 85% said that email was their most important tool that they use, and on the average, women have 12 digital devices (including cell phones, PDA's, laptops, and so on) and 5 screens (including tv's, computers, and so on).

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    The "Mom" Factor

    The study also revealed something to the marketing gurus, that moms view the Internet as a way to communicate with the outside world, especially those stay-at-home moms or moms that have a new baby. For this reason, this group is one of the largest contributors of content on the web, from articles to blogs to journals to emails. It seems that they have a monstrous appetite for creating and publishing content on the web, so much so that they are now seen as the future of content creation. The study actually found that this group produces twice as much new content on the web as any other group.

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    Want To Learn More About This Study?

    If you're interested in learning more about this study and it's findings, you can check out the press release, find out more about Microsoft at, and you can learn more about Mindshare at