Tweens, Teens Willing to Welcome Brands to Social Networks

July 5, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Media & Entertainment | Youth & Gen X

Some 71% of online teens and tweens visit social-networking sites weekly, and more than half of all teens – and nearly half of all online 9-17 year olds – reported participation in advertiser-branded interactive activities in the previous month, according to findings from an Alloy Media + Marketing whitepaper.

The whitepaper, commissioned from a national social networking and advertising study conducted by Grunwald Associates, delves into tween and teen behaviors and attitudes about advertising within the social-networking environment.

Some findings from the study:

  • The study validates that social networking is now an embedded component in the lifestyles of online teens and tweens:
    • 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.
    • More broadly, 96% of online teens/tweens report ever having used any type of social networking technology, including IM/chat, text messaging and email.


  • Social networking use is approaching near parity with TV time among online 9-17 year olds that use SN.
  • When asked where their mindshare goes while they multitask between TV and online, by more than 4:1 teens say they focus mainly on online.
  • Teens are vigorously creating and maintaining their online personal spaces – 60% have created profiles or personal sites and almost 20% update their sites or profiles at least once a day.
  • Some 64% of teens upload photos and 42% of teens create characters, avatars, such as Meez, or anime to express themselves across their personal profiles.

Findings on branding opportunity:

  • Nearly half (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.
  • More than 90% of tweens and teens say they’d like to hear about one or more types of entertainment products in social-networking sites.
  • Close to half (45%) say they’d like to hear about enthusiast or special interest products, such as technology, sports, and automotive.
  • Four in ten, including more than two-thirds of girls (68%), say they’d like to hear about apparel and personal care products on social-networking sites.
  • One-fourth want to hear about food and beverage products.
  • 31% also say they want to hear about more serious offerings such as college information or products that can help them with school.
  • Overall, 20% of teens report adding branded content to their own websites in the last month.

Findings on parents and online teens:

  • Some 50% of online tweens and teens report finding out about new websites (not confined to social networking sites) from their parents, compared with 44% who use web searches to find new sites.
  • A significant 66% of tweens and teens (including 60% of teens) have “been on the internet together” with their parents in the past month
  • 71% report they’ve discussed the internet with their parents
  • 96% of online 9-17 year olds (including 94% of teens) report one or more rules or restrictions over their internet use in the home.
  • Overall, parents generally have a positive view of advertisers that sponsor services clearly designed to help their children become successful adults.
  • When asked about advertising placements, parents appear more positive about content that creatively engages their children and asks for their feedback, such as offers and information included in quizzes and polls.

Grunwald also makes suggestions to marketers that wish to reach kids on social networks:

  • Be sensitive: Marketers must respect social network user’s feelings of ownership and emotional attachment to their profile pages.
  • Be useful: Marketers will be welcomed if they help kids reach their online goals – kids want useful content and tools, parents want skillset-building and educational activities.
  • Be fun: Marketers must appeal to young social network users’ need to be entertained with music, games, and video.
  • Be interested: Marketers should treat young people as their partners to benefit from their ideas and gain valuable information.
  • Be innovative: Marketers must help supply kids with new tools that make kids stand out among their peers.
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