AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerHow We Use the Internet Is Changing

Subscribe to AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

How We Use the Internet Is Changing

The internet is getting older, and that means how we use it is changing as well.

The Norman Nielson Group (NN/g), one of my favorite content providers, replicated a survey to assess 2019 internet usage compared with more than 20 years ago.Order food online

With more than 180 million websites at our fingertips today, our information-seeking behavior is evolving. More people are using the internet for information gathering to understand a topic — 40% in 2019 compared with 24% in 1997.

One of the biggest changes is that now a majority of people are using the internet to make decisions. People are comparing and using multiple information sources to help make choices.

NN/g attributes these changes to:

  1. More people are using the internet today. In the US, 36% of people had internet access in 1997 (Pew) compared with 87% in 2019 (Statista).
  2. You can access the web on many devices.
  3. Many more services and apps are available on the internet today than in 1997. Content categories have increased, and services are easy and comprehensive when you are information seeking.

Passive information acquisition — information we get accidentally while browsing or through push notifications — grew from 4% to 14%.  People are now window shopping on the internet. For marketers, that means we need to place a high value on our headline content for ads, posts, articles and websites.

The study also found different content types were associated with different devices. Respondents reported the most critical information uses occurred on their smartphones (42%).

What has not changed is that marketers tend to think of the internet as a large brochure. It is not. It is now time to change our thinking of this constantly evolving and changing marketing landscape.


Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.