There are plenty of interesting stats that have been published recently, the most interesting from my perspective, as a father of two, is the information surrounding Teens and their use of smartphones and their browsing habits.
Did you know that smartphone ownership was around 60% for kids between 9 and 10, rising to 83% by the time they are in secondary education? Smartphones are the most popular browsing device among the Teen community.
Social Media Trends
Social media popularity is still on the increase amongst the kids engaging with it at least once a day, Instagram and Snapchat are leading the way after surpassing Facebook as the ‘market leader’. Social networking apps are used by 74% of Teens, however, they have very different appeals and purposes throughout the platforms.
Instagram is seen by Teens to nurture friendships, Snapchat helps to express themselves, Facebook is orientated around family and events, whilst Twitter is used as a news source for their favourite celebrities and the current trends.
Strategic thinking is observed by Teens too, the maximising of likes and followers being the ultimate goal. Timing is key, and many use their inside knowledge of Teen habits to post at the optimum time so that they gain maximum exposure.
Filters are also applied to photographs as the need for positive affirmation of others is pursued, however Teens are beginning to see these as a distortion of reality and recognise the addictive nature of social media acceptance.
Engaging the Audience
With these factors put into consideration, brands would be wise to improve Teen engagement by adapting their content accordingly for each platform. There is no ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ when it comes to social media engagement. Teens are responding best to fun apps and realistic portrayals of their peer group.
One of the biggest forms of Teen engagement comes through the YouTube personalities that they follow, an average of 65% (boys and girls) have favourites whose content is continuously influential over time. The YouTube favourite channels differ amongst the sexes, music, vloggers and make-up tutorials are attracting the girls, whereby it’s the funny videos, gaming and music that drive the boy audiences.
Trust is a huge aspect of brand endorsements amongst Teens and should be managed carefully. An authentic and relevant ambassador is essential if you intend to engage through this route, if a YouTuber is not a true reflection of the product or service then the endorsement will most likely be met with cynicism.
On the flip side of this is the positivity that these non-celebrity celebrities can garner from Teens, Youtubers are often seen by their followers as friends or mates and this naturally generates trust and familiarity. 42% of Teens say they have purchased a product due to a YouTube influencer, and 54% will talk with people about an endorsed product.
In summary, Teens are becoming increasingly exposed to online brand content and their savvy enforces high expectations. They expect organisations to be ethical and are attracted to the ones that support good causes, however they are not deceived by overstated and exaggerated claims and tend not to interact with them as a result. Teen targeted posting need to be a careful blend of ethics and brand messaging, this audience has never been more synchronised with brand behaviours or as social media savvy.