Generation Y is online. They are defined as the 10-30 year olds with more discretionary spending than their parents have, according to Author Kit Yarrow of Gen BuY: How Tweens, Teens and Twenty-Somethings Are Revolutionizing retail. On NPR this morning, she noted the average number of text messages sent by a teen, during a given month. The number was 2,273 text messages.

They communicate in email, but chat more often, and they are active users of social media and video. Gen Y uses search engines daily. Schools introduce interaction with web 2.0 applications as early as elementary school and access to the internet is a requirement in secondary education. They are comfortable online and have chosen to use the medium over any other form of communication. If you are working in marketing, you can not afford to miss this generation which Yarrow coined Gen BuY. Internet marketing has changed. This new generation expects you to communicate with them.

Online marketing is the best way to reach this demographic, but what specific applications within the internet space are they responding to? How are they interacting online? Generation X brought offline social networking to the online social networks, with the introduction of sites like Linked In. Today, the largest growing segment of Facebook is Generation X. So how do online marketing professionals reach Generation Y? What is the online marketing plan for reaching Gen Y? There is a difference in how these two generations are responding to traditional and online mediums.

Text Messaging is King.

We have established the fact that Gen Y is texting. When you break down the 2,273 monthly text messages, you have an average of 75 text messages daily. If you know a junior high boy or girl, you understand what age group is bringing up the averages. We can comfortably assume that reaching this demographic through text marketing campaigns will work, because Generation Y is as comfortable using text through their cell phones as Generation X is, using email and computers. Text message campaigns are something that must be worked into the Gen Y marketing plan. Your competitors are texting your customers and potential customers. Are you reaching them through text?

Social Media is the New Homecoming Dance

For the most part, Generation Y established the social media space. They are avid users of web 2.0 applications and they are most comfortable communicating within them. There are over 200 social media applications, all of which have established demographics for use in paid advertising and social marketing. Gen X is communicating within social media communities as well, finding old friends, new friends, and referencing consumer product use to all of them.

The social communities focus on marketing to specific demographics, so the medium has become a lot like reaching markets through cable television. The difference between the online media plan, using social media and the traditional plan including cable, falls within how the demographic is responding to the two mediums. and how marketers are able to track that response. Users are responding to social media. Gen X and Y are active, frequent users, and they are communicating on preferred products and services, which adds a viral marketing aspect to the online marketing plan. Your competitors are holding conversations with your customers, within social medial applications. What do you think they are talking about? If they are talking about what you sell, you need to be part of the conversation.

SEO and Search Engines are of Reference

Your online marketing plan must reference search engine optimization. If your product or service is not optimized with the search engines, and you have not researched how your market is searching for what you sell, your competitor will reach your target market before you do. These generations research everything online. New brands are launched through search engine optimization, because the thousands of search engines have developed algorythms which effectively serve very specific information.

Search engines are used by consumers as the number one reference tool because they work. Online marketing research shows what your market is searching for and when they respond to that search with a request for information or a purchase. About 90% of clickthrough response on search results pages, originates on the first page, ranking #1-10 on Google. Google saw an all-time high 67% of searches performed in March, 2009, according to Hitwise. Do you have a step by step plan for first page ranking within the search engines? Your top competitors do and your target market is buying from them.

Gen Y is Watching Video Online and Google is too.

Reach them with video. This generation is comfortable watching video and they are responding to it. It is easier to read offline. Serving an online book, which they can download works, but serving video works better. According to a Hitwise survey of 10 million internet users, YouTube has seen a remarkable 32% growth in visits during that period from March 2007 to March 2009. YouTube’s market share in the video sector is now at 73.18%, according to Hitwise reports. MySpace TV ranked second in the Hitwise report, with just over 9% of video visits. Google Video ranked third at 4%. Google just announced intentions to increase video marketshare through an aggressive number of acquisitions over the next year, primarily related to video. According to Marketwatch,

‘Wall Street analysts have grown more positive on the stock lately, with several raising their price targets.

“Ad budgets are coming back, particularly in e-commerce,” said Canaccord Adams analyst Jeff Rath in a note to clients published Tuesday. Rath raised his price target on Google to $560 from $480. He added that the company “continues to maintain its dominance in search,” while improving its ability to wring money from video service YouTube.’

Google has earned the status of a property to watch, regarding online marketing trends. Regardless of where you place the video, Gen Y is watching. You will reach them quickly and gain higher brand recognition with use of video marketing. Is online video included in your marketing plan?

According to projections from Forrester Research, U.S. online retail sales are expected to rise 11 percent to $156 billion this year, excluding revenue from travel.

Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru said the majority of the 2009 growth in online spending will come at the expense of physical stores. She expects more consumer dollars to be spent online because it’s easier for people to comparison shop and to find what they’re looking for.

Online sales are expected to make up 7 percent of overall retail revenue in 2009, compared with 6 percent in 2008. Are you in a position to benefit from this online business growth?

Gen Y is online and is responding to brands which are communicating with them through text messaging campaigns, social media and web 2.0 applications, video marketing, and search engine optimization. This generation wants us to contact them. Communicate with them through these online marketing mediums and you will profit from this growing online market.