Last month, Fuse and the University of Massachusetts, conducted research around how brands can effectively reach the teen target without breaking their budgets. The study, "Advertising to Teens: 2009 Research," surveyed 598 teenagers ages 13 - 18 online, gathering a statistically valid sample in all aspects. Concentrations included Health & Beauty, Shoes, Department Stores & Retailers, Apparel, Cell Phones, Consumer Electronics, Food & Snack Food and Quick Service Restaurants.
We compared findings with current industry buzz to see if marketers were on track or missing the mark with teens. While some of the findings came as a surprise and may be subject to debate, we encourage marketers to use these insights while reviewing their current budget allocation for reaching the teen market. The information highlighted below includes the top three most surprising results:
- Industry buzz is that TV ad revenue is shrinking; Brandweek reported that analysts see broadcast TV ad revenue shrinking between 8 and 10% in 2009
- TV viewership/ratings are down, thus less advertiser revenue,
- TV has become less effective in a world of other "small screens"
- TV isn't an effective way to reach teens
- The study found that 75% of teens prefer and/or believe it's appropriate for brands to advertise to them by way of TV advertising
- According to eMarketer, advertising on social networks was $1.2 billion in 2008, rising to $1.3 billion in 2009
- The study found that only 30% of teens have "friended" a brand on a social networking site
- Additionally, over 60% had an unfavorable to neutral opinion of brands advertising on social networks
- Alternatively, almost 80% of teens have visited a brand's official product site, most often to make purchase decisions
- We think this number is higher than in the past due in part to teens making smart purchasing decisions because of the recession
- In 2008 Adweek reported, "It's not surprising that marketers have ramped up their use of the medium (text messaging) to engage their customers ..."
- The study found that less than 10% of teens approve of or think text messaging is an effective way to reach them
- Even though 90% of teens text, 90% of teens disapprove of advertisers texting them
In summary ...
Don't totally disregard television advertising if marketing budgets can sustain it.
Brands that view social networks as a relatively free place to insert themselves in the teen dialogue are not well received; teens view social networks as a place to hang out with their friends.
The days of a brand having a "profile" on MySpace are over; brands need to invest in relevant, paid content that provides some type of added value to teens and then further investment to maintain/update that presence. Social network marketing tactics are not free! Invest in your content, keep it fresh, and success will follow
The findings around text message advertising reinforce that just because teens are engaged in something, it is not a valid reason for brands to advertise to them in that space or through that medium.
For more information and to get a copy on these results, visit www.fusemarketing.com.
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