Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

kids are heavy social network users, they don’t say no to relevant marketing efforts: online surveys and tips for marketers

July 8th, 2007 by

Grunwald Associates and Forrester released recent surveys on US young generation (9 and above, 12 and above respectively). Both surveys were focusing on social networking participation and present similar findings:
Teens and tweens are heavy users of social networking sites, they frequently visit these sites (= mainly myspace), they are focusing on internet communication skills: content delivery (updating profiles) and establishing relationship (connecting and tracing friends). As for attitudes toward marketers: as long as they feel they gain valuable information (entertainments or tools relevant to their online experience) – they are open for marketing initiatives.
Here are the high lights I gathered:

Grunwald Associates national study (sample of 1,277 aged 9-17)
1. Participating in social networking activities:

  • 96% of online teens/tweens report ever having used any type of social networking technology including IM/chat, text messaging and email.
  • 81% of online 9-17 year olds say that they have visited a social networking website within the past 3 months.
  • 71% of online 9-17 year olds visit these sites at least weekly.
  • Among online 9-17 year olds – more time is spent on social networks than on TV.

2. Kids as content producers

  • 60% created profiles or personal sites
  • almost 20% updating their sites or profiles at least once a day.
  • 64% of teens are uploading photos
  • 42% of teens are creating characters, avatars, such as Meez, or anime to express themselves across their personal profiles.

3. Informational needs in social networks sites:

  • More than 90% of tweens and teens say they’d like to hear about entertainment products
  • 45% state they’d like to hear about enthusiast or special interest products, such as technology, sports, and automotive
  • 40% including more than two-thirds of girls (68%), say they’d like to hear about apparel and personal care products.
  • 31% report that they want to hear about more serious offerings such as college information or products that can help them with school.
  • 25% want to hear about food and beverage products.

4. User experience with advertising:

47% of 9-17 year olds, including more than half (55%) of teens, report participation in one or more advertiser branded activity types in the last month

Forretser’s online survey (4,556 US youths ages 12 – 21, October 2006).


Figure 1- Youths (compared to adults) are much more likely to use social networking sites: nearly 60% of teenagers (12 to 17 years old).


Figure 2- Youths use social networking sites more frequently than adults.


Figure 3 – Youths primary activity: communicating


Figure 4 – Youths are conforming to the norm of social networking, but not necessarily trust the information they meet


Figure 5 – Younger users are more interested in a favorite marketer’s profile.


Figure 6- favorite social network: myspace, myspace, myspace

Grunwald Associates presented some suggestions for marketers engaging their brand in the social networks environment:

  • Be Sensitive: Marketers must respect social network user’s feelings of ownership and emotional attachment to their profile pages. Marketers and site owners who maintain a clear separation between their content and kids’ personal content as well as involve kids in the advertising process, have the best chance to gain acceptance from kids who don’t want brands infiltrating their spaces without their approval.
  • Be Useful: Marketers will be welcomed if they help kids reach their online goals. Through creative site building tools and special content offerings that enhance their spaces, such as games, video, and virtual characters, users will recognize your brands value to their personal pages. Many tweens and teens will gladly place advertising on their sites in exchange for useful content and tools. Parents will support brands that are helping their children with what they feel to be important skill set building and educational activities.
  • Be Fun: Marketers must appeal to young social network users need to be entertained. Kids were most positive about sponsors associated with free access to digital entertainment such as music, games, and video. Such offerings enhance their experience and their personal spaces and can also be invested with educational value, further garnering the approval of parents.
  • Be Engaging: Marketers should treat young people as their partners. Social networking offers abundant opportunity for brands to capture important information from this audience and brand that are engaging them in the creation of their products and in the process of achieving their advertising goals will be most successful over time.
  • Be Innovative: Marketers must raise the bar. Kids are seeking new tools and the latest technology to enhance their personal spaces and social interactions online. Brands have significant opportunity to capitalize on tweens and teens creative and social desires by supplying them with the tools that will make them stand out amongst their peers and in return, brands will gain their valuable support.

I add mine:

Be ware: youths are clever consumers. They will test your credibility and speculate the information you are providing. Don’t abuse their initial trust!

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