Marketers are having difficulty reaching US teen Internet users on social networking sites, despite the fact that eighty percent of teens are signing on to chat with friends or posting status updates. About ten thousand teen m
embers were surveyed by the social networking/dating/casual gaming site myYearbook and global public relations firm Ketchum in May of this year. The study looked at "influencers" - the top fifteen percent most active and engaged members - and how brands can influence them. Influencer practices include the following:
97 percent spend over two hours per day on a social networking site
95 percent update their status daily at least
91 percent have over 500 friends on these networks
Only sixteen percent use location apps (Foursquare, Gowalla, etc)
The study shows that teens with more online friends socialize more when offline as well. Teen social media influencers are forty percent more likely to have attended a party the last weekend than average teens, and twenty percent more likely to have had a friend over in the last week.
As noted by Geoff Cook, myYearbook CEO, this disproves the idea that more time spent online makes for a less socially active teen. They also listen to music, play video games, read books, magazines and newspapers at above-average frequencies.
Due to these high levels of media consumption, influencers share and purchase more often. 87 percent share product information with their friends, compared with only half of teens in general. This practice is significant since peer recommendations are the most trusted source regarding possible purchases across age brackets.
Regarding content, the majority preferred brand interaction that is straightforward, but also appreciate when brands are "edgy, fun or shocking - as long as it is done well," and influencers are 41 percent more interested in celebrity news than average teens. Ketchum VP of creative and strategic planning Adrianna Giuliani remarks, “Brands hoping to keep up should find unique ways to participate in the things teenagers already care about versus competing with what’s already capturing their attention.”