Are Millennials Looking For God On The Internet?

Millennials Looking For God on The InternetAccording to just released data from Pew…. YES…  Millennials are far more likely than their elder brethren to be searching for God via the Internet. In fact, they’re almost 5 TIMES more likely to seek the Almighty on the web then Baby Boomers and this might be the most important marketing stat you’ll read all year… here’s why.

The Clickbaiting of Data

Yep, I did it… I clickbaited you. Sorry, but it had to be done to prove an important point.

In content marketers’ endless quest for traffic, they no longer just report important data points or place them into some kind of helpful context. No, that would be to much like reporting and journalism — two industries they purport to model. Well, the pre-internet, 24-hour news cycle version of those industries… when reporters actually reported vs pontificated. But I digress…

Instead, like their journalistic brothers and sisters, they pick data points that can be sensationalized and twisted into a clickbait headline that you simply cannot resist clicking. Or worse, sharing without even bothering to click because you know all of your friends and followers will want to click.

So how did I clickbait you? Simple.

I picked one data point from a recent Pew study on how adults go about picking a new church to attend.

In that research, 59% of Millennials said they search the web when looking for a new church vs only 12% of Baby Boomers reporting the same activity.

But making that stat the headline would have created a boring, non-traffic producing headline. So I applied clickbait logic.

  • First, people looking for a church to attend are religious.
  • Second, religious people believe in God.
  • Third, religious people that attend church services regularly, not only believe in God, they actively seek to enhance their relationship with God.
  • Fourth, the Bible says (Matthew 18:20) “For where two or three gather together in My name, there am I with them.”
  • Fifth, religious, churchgoing folks believe the Bible is truthful.
  • Sixth, therefore, God is present in any church service.

Thus, with the above logic, we can posit that a Millennial, searching the Internet for a new church to attend, where that Millennial sits in a house of worship alongside God (who is present at every church service), is therefore using the Internet to find God.

And welcome to clickbait, where the goal is traffic not truth.

Let me explain.

Tortured Data Tells Any Story You Ask

That’s right. If you torture data long enough it will tell you anything you want it to. [Tweet this]

And the data I tortured above is a case in point.

Now let me be clear… when I say torture data, I don’t mean you’re making it up, using fuzzy math to get inaccurate answers, etc. No, what I mean is that you’re slanting the context through purposeful manipulation and filtration to support a point-of-view you wish to advance.

Let’s revisit our Pew data to demonstrate. Here is the actual results image Pew published with their write-up.

Millennials looking for God on the Internet

While I’m factually correct with my post thus far, I’ve chosen to ignore the real findings — that both Millennials and Boomers are primarily test driving new churches or asking friends for recommendations.

Looking online was a distant third. And given how it’s phrased “Looked for information online”  the data point could actually be a complete red herring. The information they were looking for could have been address and hours of worship, so they could actually “seek God” the old fashioned way – in person.

That ladies and gents is torturing data. And it’s happening more frequently than ever. Whether it’s based on factual omission, bullshit science, falty studies or just plain stupidity (and there is some of that out there my friends), the internet is full of marketing pseudoscience masquerading as business insight. [Tweet this]

And every day, millions of readers fall victim to it.

Now I’m not sure about you, but I for one am growing weary wading through all this pseudoscience to find real, honest to goodness helpful research, insight and information.

So How Do You Find Helpful Content On The Internet?

As my good friend Tom Webster says, you have to do the work. But truth be told, none of us has enough time to read everything you should be reading in order to stay ahead of the competition. We don’t have time to do the work because we’re too busy working!

The sheer speed of change, volume of information produced and time demands placed on today’s professional marketers makes it pretty much impossible to keep up.

But there is an answer.

Insight & Information — yes, for those long-time readers, you may remember our old newsletter. It’s born of an idea I proposed via an Ad Age Article I penned.

And this year, we’re bringing it back with two small changes. It will no longer be free. And it will no longer be unlimited access.

Why? Because free is the enemy of good. And if everyone has the same information and insight, then it’s not really leveragable is it?

If we really want to produce something worthy, we’ll need to make a little money in the process so I can continue to pay my mortgage and my kids’ tuitions. We haven’t yet set the price… but the goal is to make sure you’re spending more on your daily latte’s than you’ll invest in getting Insight & Information from us. And we’ll need to make it scarce, so that those who do pay are getting something only a small number of marketers possess. Right now, we’re thinking 2,500 subscribers – MAX. We might even knock that down a bit.

We also haven’t yet settled on a publishing schedule. Do you have thoughts on that? Would you rather see something shorter every week or something more in depth every month? Let me know in the comments. We’re open to both approaches. And we’re thinking we may have special reports too, when a specific topic warrants really deep coverage.

If you’re interested in seeing an advanced issue of Insight & Information before we open up for subscriptions, go ahead and pre-register now. You’ll receive a special demo issue and you’ll get first crack at subscribing, before we open it up to the public.

 

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About Tom Martin

Tom is 20+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry with a penchant for stiff drinks, good debates and digital gadgets that helps digitally challenged companies create innovative and effective digital marketing strategies. He is the founder of Converse Digital , author of The Invisible Sale and a contributing writer for Advertising Age. Tom guides clients through the digital marketing maze and helps companies teach their sales force how to Painlessly Prospect their way to more sales. Connect with him on Google+ or follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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