NEW YORK and SAN FRANCISCO -- A recent survey by myYearbook and Ketchum of teen social media users showed that not only are online influencers more likely than the average teen to participate in social media activities, such as updating their status at least once per day or sending 3,000 texts per month, but they also are spending more time socializing and influencing their peers offline.
The study surveyed 10,000 teens, aged 13 to 19, who are members of myYearbook, and identified teen influencers in the social media space to provide insight on how they share information and interact online. Social media teen influencers are defined as the top 15 percent most active and most engaged teens in the myYearbook community.
Teens With Online Friends Socialize More Offline
A teen's social media popularity translates offline, as teen social media influencers are 40 percent more likely to have attended a party over the last weekend than average teens. They also are 20 percent more likely to have had a friend visit them at home in the last week.
"The survey dispels the notion that the most engaged teens on a social network are most likely to be home alone on a Saturday night; those teens who are most social online are most social offline," said Geoff Cook, CEO of myYearbook.
These influencers are also more active than the average teen offline in terms of listening to music, playing video games, and reading books, newspapers, and magazines.
Teen Influencers Are Hyper-sharing, Hyper-purchasing and Hyper-consuming
Teen social media influencers are hyper-communicators and hyper-purchasers. These influencers are significantly more likely than the average teen to participate in social media activities, with 97 percent spending two hours per day on a social networking site, 95 percent updating their statuses at least once per day, and 91 percent having more than 500 friends on their social networks. Interestingly, among teen influencers, only 16 percent report using a mobile application that allows them to check in at a given location, such as either Foursquare or Gowalla.
From movie tickets to mobile devices, this group is also wielding more purchasing power than the average teen — and they want to evangelize their purchases. In fact, 87 percent of teen social media influencers share information on the products they use with their friends, compared to only 50 percent of teens in general. Across age brackets, these influencers look to recommendations from friends and peers as their most trusted source. When it comes to purchasing a product, 52 percent of teen social media influencers trust their friends' recommendations most, compared to 9 percent who would most trust an adult.
Teen social media influencers are far more likely to engage with their social networks while watching television than the average teen. Of teen social media influencers, 88 percent are texting and 79 percent are online while watching television, versus 74 percent texting and 66 percent online among average teens. Overall, teen social media influencers also clock more time online than watching television. Half of teen influencers spend three or more hours online while only a quarter spend the same amount of time watching television.
The survey data indicates that teens aged 15 to 17 are the most engaged online, with activity among 18- and 19-year-olds dropping slightly, likely due to increased face-to-face socialization after entering college or leaving home. In sharing information with their social networks, instant messaging/chatting and status updates are the most preferred methods across the board, but older teens, aged 18 to 19, show an increased affinity for photo sharing and are less likely to use instant messaging/chatting than younger teens.
Younger teens do not want to be friends with their parents on social media sites. In fact, 56 percent of teen social media influencers aged 13 to 14 say they "hate it" or are "nervous" or "annoyed" when their parents "friend" them on social media sites, while only 27 percent of teen social media influencers aged 18 to 19 responded this way.
LOL and OMG! – What Resonates for Teens
Survey respondents indicated that content that is particularly humorous or shocking is what resonates most with them, and also what they are most likely to share with others. Interestingly, the majority of respondents prefer interaction from brands to be clear and straightforward, but they also appreciate when a brand can be edgy, funny or shocking – as long as it is done well. Influencers are also 41 percent more likely than average teens to be interested in celebrity news.
"Across the board, teens said the most sharable content was 'LOL! Funny' or 'OMG! Shocking' or content that includes celebrities, which is in line with the type of content that moves across the Web fastest," said Adrianna Giuliani, vice president, creative and strategic planning, Ketchum. "Brands hoping to keep up should find unique ways to participate in the things teenagers already care about versus competing with what's already capturing their attention."
This is the first in a series of surveys to be conducted by myYearbook.com and Ketchum that examine how teens interact online and use social media.
About the Survey
The Social Media Teen Influencer Survey was developed by myYearbook and the Ketchum Global Research Network. The survey was conducted between May 5 and 11, 2010 online among a representative sample of 10,000 myYearbook.com members aged 13 to 19. The margin of error for the findings is +/- 2.3 percentage points with a confidence interval of 95 percent.
The survey sought to identify teen influencers in social media communications and better understand how this select group interacts with friends, family members and brands online. This survey is one of the largest teen studies conducted to date, with respondents providing more than 500,000 individual answers to the 55 questions.
myYearbook is the most trafficked teen site, with more page views, minutes, and visits than any other single site in the comScore Teens category. myYearbook combines innovative social games, virtual goods, social applications, and a robust virtual currency called "Lunch Money" to facilitate introductions and break the ice. The average myYearbook member visits the site 13 times per month and spends 12 minutes per visit, making myYearbook one of the most engaging social media destinations on the Internet. According to comScore, myYearbook is one of the 25 most trafficked sites in the United States as measured by page views, by minutes, and by minutes per visitor per month. myYearbook started in a single high school in 2005 and has grown to over 20 million members worldwide. For more information please visit: www.myYearbook.com.
A communications innovator, Ketchum ranks among the largest global communications consultancies and leads the industry in the U.K. and continental Europe as Ketchum Pleon. With five global practices – Brand Marketing, Corporate, Healthcare, Food & Nutrition, and Technology – and specialty capabilities that include Access Communications (high- and consumer-tech PR), Concentric Communications (experiential marketing, events and meetings), MMG (clinical trial recruitment), Ketchum Global Research Network, Ketchum Sports & Entertainment, and Ketchum Pleon Change (change management and workplace communications), Ketchum leverages its marketing and corporate communication expertise to build brands and reputations for clients. For more information on Ketchum, a unit of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC), visit www.ketchum.com.