Survey: Youth Are Willing Companions to Online Advertisers

  |  November 12, 2008   |  Comments

Synovate and Microsoft find 18- to 20-year-olds embrace online branding.

As any visit to a school full of Hollister- and Abercrombie-adorned students reveals, young people are brand-conscious.

A new study shows that many young adults not only buy brands but also talk about them and add brand content to their instant messenger services, Web homepages and social networking sites.

The global survey, conducted by Synovate in conjunction with Microsoft, was designed to find out how much young adults will interact and engage online with brands on a daily basis. The survey revealed that 28 percent say they talked about a brand on a discussion forum, 23 percent added brand-related content to their IM service and 19 percent added branded content to their homepage or favorite social sites.

The research, called the 'Young Adults Revealed' survey, included 12,603 people 18 to 24 years old from 26 countries, according to Synovate, an arm of Aegis Group plc that conducts market research into consumer behavior. The researchers found the survey respondents spent an average of 2.5 hours online daily in non-work-related activity.

Nearly half of the surveyed people said they click on banner or online ads. Some 18 percent said they accessed brand and product information via portals. But, as Synovate noted in a statement, "they are also interacting in a more engaged way," with 24 percent reporting they uploaded ad or marketing clips to social networking or video sites in the last month.

Synovate's global manager of syndicated research, Julian Rolfe, believes the research shows young people are not only "totally comfortable with the idea of branded content and branded entertainment," but also reveals they are "openly willing and eager to engage" online with brands.

"They clearly feel their opinions about brands are important, they want to associate themselves with brands they see as 'cool' and this is why we see them uploading clips to their social networking sites and IM services," said Rolfe in a statement.

Among the study's other findings: 94 percent of young people regularly read e-mails, 80 percent get news online, 76 percent use the Web to read about movies, music and games, and a similar percentage chat on IM.

Synovate found that nearly three quarters of the survey respondents watched online video clips and about one in ten said they passed along viral ad and marketing clips.

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