'Green Teens' Make Desirable Marketing Targets, Study Finds

Teens who care about the environment aren't just socially aware. They are also a desirable ad/marketing target, says a new JupiterResearch report.

The company obtained questionnaires from 2,091 online users ages 13 to 17 and found 38% of teens online are concerned about the environment, with 15% constituting an especially committed group of "Green Teens." This smaller "hardcore" element is especially responsive to online communications, including marketing messages, making them an attractive target audience for appropriate online advertising.

The Green Teen cohort trends slightly female (57%), and 45% say they like to be the first to know about new products. The report also contained some qualitative description of green teens, noting that they are "popular, engaged in school activities and a little artsy." The report drew special attention to their popularity, saying that this makes them effective influencers and trendsetters in their peer groups.

In terms of online activity, they are more likely to engage in e-commerce activity than the average teenager (42% versus 32%), and over-index in every other area of online activity measured by Jupiter: 18% use a digital photo service (versus 12% of teens overall), 24% visit mobile content sites (versus 18% overall), 22% participate in chat rooms (versus 17% overall), and 31% visit movie sites (versus 24% overall).



The Jupiter study is just the latest in a series of research efforts mapping the attitudes of consumers toward social causes--many focusing specifically on young people.

For instance, a 2006 study from Alloy Media and Marketing and Harris Interactive found that college students ranked social responsibility higher than celebrity endorsement as factors in their choice of consumer brands, including environmental causes. The two firms conducted an online survey of 1,793 adults ages 18-30 and currently enrolled in college. Fully 33% of respondents said they prefer brands known for involvement with not-for-profit causes, community activism or environment-friendly practices.

And earlier this year, an online study of 767 U.S. teens by JWT found that more than 80% of American teenagers are concerned about the environment and the role of the United States in causing pollution, with 54% saying they are "strongly bothered" by these issues. Plus, 77% said they believe it's their responsibility to care for the environment, 61% said they think their generation will be more environmentally responsible than older generations, and 78% think there is still time to repair environmental damage.

Turning to the population at large, a recent study by Cone, LLC found that business practices--including how a company treats its employees and its approach to social responsibility--play a major role in consumer purchase decisions. The 2007 Cone Cause Evolution Survey found that more than two-thirds of Americans are concerned about the business practices of companies when they decide what to buy. Some 83% believe companies should support social causes, and 92% said they have a more positive image of companies that do.

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