Students, Parents and Search

There are some generally interesting, new consumer findings from Yahoo! (reported in MediaPost) about students' and parents' use of and attitudes toward traditional media and the Internet (specifically search engines).

I haven't got lots of time to write about this, but here's the top level . . .

College students rated search engines as the best source of information, friends and family were next, and traditional media was third. Parents were also heavy users and true believers in search:

When the parents were asked where they go for information, 73 percent said they used keyword searches. That was more than the number who said they turned to retail stores (53 percent), TV ads (39 percent), and newspapers (15 percent), but less than those who turned to friends and family (94 percent), baby books (88 percent), baby Web sites (86 percent), baby magazines (82 percent), and doctors and hospitals (79 percent).

These data may ultimately reflect that the Internet and search in particular put the consumer-user in "control" or at least provide a sense of control over the information and its delivery. So "credibility" in part might be a result of the fact that most traditional media (e.g., TV) "push" data and in this media-savvy culture are considered inherently less credible and, indeed, are greeted with increasing skepticism.

One interesting contrast: The students trusted "friends and family" (word of mouth) less than search engines, while parents turned most to that category — although they were heavy users of other information sources as well.

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