Regional Differences Among Users

Online surfing habits could be dictated by geography — or vice-versa — according to research that analyzes usage by region. measured online ad reactions, while Pew Internet & American Life Project focused on overall Internet usage, of various U.S. geographic regions, with both finding disparities across the nation.

Based on 6.9 billion ad impressions (views) during July 2003, measured the “clickthrough rate” [define] as well as the “conversion rate” (taking action on an ad after clicking), and found that Internet users in the South Atlantic region of the U.S. viewed the most impressions and generated the most clicks, while Mid-Atlantic surfers had higher conversions. Research Director, William Masterson, points out that while the firm has the ability to geo-target, the ads measured in this report were not geo-specific, and the same creatives were served across all the regions.

Advertising Performance by Region
Region Impressions Clicks Conversions
South Atlantic
(DE, DC, FL, GA, MD,
107 103 102
West South Central

(AR, LA, OK, TX)
101 98 103

(NJ, NY, PA)
99 94 105
New England

(CT, ME, MA, NH,
92 89 91

(AK, CA, HI, OR, WA)
85 77 80
East North Central

(IL, IN, MI, OH, WI)
81 77 89
East South Central

(AL, KY, MS, TN)
70 70 68
West North Central

(IA, KS, MN, MO,
70 67 73

(AZ, CO, ID, MT, NV,
66 64 69

The 2003 regional study conducted by Pew Internet & American Life Project made some interesting observations in the areas that found most responsive to online ads.

Pew categorized the Southeast (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina) as a racially and ethnically diverse user group with the second highest daily home access in the country at 80 percent. Certain groups of the Southeastern population were above the national average for Internet usage: 59 percent of Southeastern Hispanics were online, compared to 54 percent nationally; and 64 percent of Southeasterners in the $30,000 to $50,000 household annual income were Internet users, compared to 61 percent nationally.

Pew’s assessment of the Mid-Atlantic region (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania) found the highest proportion of female users in the country at 54 percent, and an Internet population that tallied higher than the national sample in many cases. There were more Black and Hispanic Internet users in the Mid-Atlantic region; more 18-to-34 year olds; and more users in the $50,000 and over annual household income range than the national average.

Could the higher proportion of home users in the Southeast and female users in the Mid-Atlantic correlate to the higher clickthrough and conversion rate? “The short answer is ‘maybe,'” said Masterson. “The proportion of female or home users in a region would impact clicks or conversions only to the degree that a female is more or less likely to click/convert than a male or a home user is more or less likely to click/convert than a work user.”

The Capital and Mountain regions had the highest Internet penetration among those aged 18 through 24, and California led the nation with highest penetration among seniors.

What Percentage of Each Age Group
Are Online in Each Region?
Region 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+
California 74.1% 70.4% 71.8% 59.4% 64.4% 30.6%
(PA, NJ, DE, NY)
80.8% 68.9% 59.6% 55.3% 44.6% 16.1%
Industrial Midwest
(IL, IN, OH, MI)
71.8% 71.7% 61.7% 50.0% 44.1% 15.9%
(CO, UT, ID, NV,
83.0% 69.1% 67.3% 57.3% 54.8% 28.3%
Capital Region
(MD, VA, DC)
85.0% 74.5% 67.4% 61.1% 53.1% 22.5%
New England
(CT, MA, VT, RI,
77.4% 76.8% 71.7% 59.2% 57.5% 24.5%
Border States
(TX, NM, AZ)
75.1% 71.2% 62.5% 50.0% 57.0% 21.1%
(TN, AL, MS, LA,
65.8% 63.7% 54.5% 39.1% 31.4% 13.1%
(FL, GA, NC, SC)
73.1% 68.8% 63.8% 45.4% 42.3% 23.6%
Upper Midwest
(MN, ND, SD, WI)
78.0% 69.0% 65.7% 52.8% 59.8% 14.4%
(MO, NE, KS, OK, IA)
71.7% 67.9% 64.8% 45.4% 50.5% 14.7%
Pacific Northwest
(OR, WA)
79.7% 77.8% 74.3% NA NA NA
NATIONAL 75.7% 71.1% 65.4% 53.4% 48.6% 19.4%
Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project

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