Earlier this year, I was at a conference and two on-line market researchers overheard me saying I only have vague ideas about who uses the Spirithome site. I knew more about what it was five years ago, but not now. Each offered to send some free data that comes 'off the sides' when they measured general market conditions. (Not stealing someone else's data, but rather digging into the unused stuff.)
The first report came in last month. It said that Spirithome's US audience had some clear characteristics :
The US was 82% of the site's users.
The gender/age group which used it most (proportionate to the Net population) was females between 35 and 55.
African-Americans used the site at triple their Net rate -- with a sharp gender difference, in that males only used it at a proportionate rate.
The users were mostly working-class, with household incomes $50,000 - $80,000.
The average degree was a BA.
About 75% of the site's users are visitors, not regular users.
About 25% were not members of any local congregation.
About 10% said they were something other than Christian, most of those being agnostic. (The Ns were a bit too low for me to be comfortable with that as a stat.)
Of those who were college students (any level), that rate rises to about 20%. (The Ns were a bit too low for me to be comfortable with that as a stat.)
Of those who claimed a particular Christian belief, 40% were Catholic, 35% Pentecostal. (That doesn't leave much for mainline Protestants, Evangelicals, and Orthodox.)
Then a week or so ago, I received a report sheet on Australia and New Zealand. All these Ns are low, so it's best to use them only for general impressions. ( I say that. The researcher said otherwise. They always overestimate a data set's accuracy. Remember that when you see a poll on TV or on line.)
The main picture resembles that of the US usership : 30-45 year old working-class women with some kind of college degree. Pentecostalists were the largest group, followed closely by Catholics and Protestants (in this case, I suspect the latter were mostly Anglicans). Non-Christians were almost one in five, mostly of "Asian religions". There was also a side note, from a survey from India, and based on Google Analytics, it's no surprise : the site showed up in a survey on belief in the paranormal, for use of the hypnosis page.
I'm thankful for the information. It tells me I'm not quite getting the audience I seek. And I will have to do some thinking as to why, and how to change it. But I don't live on the data -- in the end, it is just data. The more important thing is to tell the honest truth as clearly as I can.