Already spending more time online than their heterosexual counterparts, gay, lesbian and bisexual (GLB) Internet users are also more likely to log on for political news, and they are more influenced by online advertising. As a result, active Internet usage combined with high voter registration numbers and above-average median household income makes the GLB community attractive to both political candidates and advertisers.
The roughly 3,700 U.S. adults surveyed by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc. (of which 6 percent self-identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual) illustrated the top Internet activities for GLB users compared to heterosexual users. Staying connected with family and friends, and general news and information ranked as the top two activities for both groups, with GLB users measuring slightly higher.
The biggest disparities were evident in two types of activities: 16 percent of GLB users accessed the Internet for political news and information, compared to 6 percent of heterosexual; and 35 percent of heterosexuals were engaged in hobbies, games and entertainment online, compared to 21 percent of GLB surfers.
Using the Web for political information is a reflection of the high percentage of registered voters in the GLB community. The 2003-2004 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census, conducted by G/L Census Partners, OpusComm Group and Syracuse University, and exclusively available through Scarborough Research, found that among the nearly 8,000 self-identified GLB U.S. respondents, 95 percent were registered voters. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 70 percent of citizens were registered to vote in 2000.
The sites that were the most visited by GLB surfers, according to the G/L Census, read like the top sites for many Internet users with the exception of two that were community-specific.
|Top Visited Sites for
Gays and Lesbians
|Source: 2003/2004 Gay Lesbian
Advertisers that target this community through these highly trafficked sites will be pleased to find that GLB Internet users are highly receptive to online ads. In response to a question in the Harris Interactive/Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc. survey that asked whether online ads influenced purchasing decisions, 42 percent of GLB respondents said they agreed, compared to 35 percent of heterosexuals.
More good news for marketers lies in an examination of income and broadband usage. The 2003/2004 G/L Census found the median household income was just under $70,000 per year, while the U.S. Census department found the overall median household income to be approximately $42,400 in 2002. More than half (57 percent) of those that participated in the G/L Census reported an annual household income of $60,000, and 27 percent reportedly earned over $100,000.
While 39 percent of the U.S. Internet population connects via broadband at home, more than half of GLB surfers have high-speed access at home.
|At-Home Connection Speeds
Among Gays and Lesbians
|Cable Modem||32 percent|
|Source: 2003/2004 Gay Lesbian Online Census|
The preponderance of broadband brings increased opportunity for marketers. “Advertisers’ greatest challenge is that there is no guarantee that the creativity can meet the technology. High-speed connections mean that advertisers can create campaigns with all the bells and whistles,” commented Jeff Garber, president, OpusComm Group.