We’ve come a long way, but new research from Google’s search researcher Daniel Russell shows that most Internet users still have a long way to go. While most people have a hard time remembering (or don’t remember at all) what life was like before the Internet, web searches, and social networking, Russell revealed via Fast Company that many Internet users aren’t up-to-date when it comes to using all the available tools online.
In an interview with Kevin Purdy on Tuesday, Russell points out that average users aren’t as savvy as you’d think, and that could affect content marketing strategy. One of the real shockers that Russell revealed was that 90 percent of users don’t know how to use the search function within their browsers, which means some users might not always find what they’re looking for when visiting pages, increasing the bounce rate for some unstructured sites. Still, there’s hope; students are more likely to use the find feature, which could affect demographics when planning content strategy.
Another startling discovery? Browser tabs aren’t always utilized for simultaneous searching and surfing. Last month, Russell also revealed that over 80 percent of sharing is done via copy and paste, even when sites offered accessible share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and blogs for their content.
Russell also found that wider monitors can make reading on the Internet difficult, particularly when websites aren’t properly optimized for a variety of screen sizes. “We know that people often have rather wide screens and suffer reading disruptions as a side effect of trying to read lines that are 10 inches wide (that is, between 20 and 50 words wide),” Russell says. “While most people feel that’s uncomfortable, what they don’t realize is that they can easily resize the window to make the [word] wrapping much better for them.”
His findings prove that while content marketing might be all about the latest technology and interaction with customers, the demographic and skills of the target audience must be taken into consideration. While a shiny new interface and shareable data might be impressive, it’s a moot point if users are intimidated by a site or can’t easily find what they’re looking for. Whether a website has a quick tip on how to read info more easily, or keywords are easy to find within the content, marketers could make their sites more effective by making them easier to navigate for the average user.
Using Russell’s data, it appears that brands have a responsibility to not only bring quality content to users, but also to educate users on how to best utilize and interact with that content for maximum results. Content marketers can learn an important lesson from a top search researcher (a real title, by the way): Quick, comprehensive videos, an optimized website, easily-found keywords, and quick instructions are key in getting average users to their “aha!” moment even faster.