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Advertising to teens - 7 things to think about


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We ran a guerrilla research project over the summer with teens. We learned a few things and confirmed some stuff we knew already. All interesting. Enjoy.

7 things to think about:
They have a love/hate relationship with advertising
They are strongly individual, yet desire the advice of others
Heavy researchers and more price conscious than you would think
They want to be recognized
They are extremely social and connected
They’re informed and in-touch, but still naïve
They don’t think the future will be much different, but they have high hopes for it

Published in: Business

Advertising to teens - 7 things to think about

  1. Advertising to teens 7 things to think about Summer 2010
  2. MEET SEAN <ul><ul><li>Sean is 16. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sean is crazy smart. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sean was our intern for the summer. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sean helped us build community* of teens on Facebook to ask them questions about technology, marketing and the future. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thanks Sean. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>* Our teen community included 110 teens
  3. TEENS 7 THINGS TO THINK ABOUT * Our teen community included 110 teens <ul><ul><li>7 key themes emerged from the discussions, surveys and conversations: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They have a love/hate relationship with advertising </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They are strongly individual, yet desire the advice of others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Heavy researchers and more price conscious than you would think </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They want to be recognized </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They are extremely social and connected </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They’re informed and in-touch, but still naïve </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They don’t think the future will be much different, but they have high hopes for it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  4. TEENS LOVE/HATE ADVERTISING <ul><ul><li>Advertising to teens is tough. They're skeptical, cynical and generally don't trust brands. Teens seem to be on the fence as to whether they want ads to influence their purchase decisions or not. On the one end, they actively seek out the new trailer for the latest IGN game or laugh and share a hilarious viral video or ad. But the minute an ad sneaks into their ‘moment’ and disrupts them, they become enraged – hating the industry for pushing their ideas onto them. They treat it as if they had just been violated. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The 3 key things we’ve found with teens and ads are: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relevance – make it about something that interests them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality – they want to see well produced ads with good content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Choice – don’t force them to watch your ad, allow them to opt-in </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not that different from the rest of us. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  5. TEENS FITTING IN AS AN INDIVIDUAL <ul><ul><li>Teens buy things as a reflection of their personality – so to question their choice in product/brand, is to question their identity. However their purchase decisions are often swayed by recommendations from friends and family. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If enough of their friends buy a product or service, teens who use a different product will usually switch, in order to better fit in with their friends and be able to share similar experiences. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s a fine line between being an individual and fitting in. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  6. TEENS RESEARCH <ul><ul><li>There seems to be a preconceived notion that teens have disposable income and never have to think about the purchases they make. We found they research most of their purchases (online) for two reasons: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They have a limited budget and want to make sure what they buy is of good quality. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They want to ensure the product adequately reflects their personality. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Any purchase over $50 (especially electronics) is likely to be heavily researched, compared and socialized with friends & family prior to making the final purchase decision. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Since they don’t have credit cards they tend not to purchase online. When they do, they use gift cards or their parents’ credit cards. However, to use their parents’ credit cards means asking for approval, and asking for approval means involving the parent in the purchase decision (which they try to avoid). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We were surprised to learn that most made their own purchases, even with less than $30 a week available to spend.   </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  7. TEENS RECOGNITION <ul><ul><li>Teens love to get noticed. In fact, to them, it’s not a matter of if they get noticed; it’s when will they get noticed. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If given the opportunity for 15 seconds of fame, they will take it. They feel they are important and have a lot to contribute, so when they feel someone wants to listen or gives them a platform to share, they’ll do it, but only if they believe there is something in it for them. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The desire to be noticed influences how they act online. Teens may say or do things online that they normally wouldn’t in real life, just to get attention or recognition. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  8. TEENS SOCIAL AND CONNECTED <ul><ul><li>Teens expect to remain connected across channels from their mobile phone, to their computer, to in-person. They see no boarders between channels - its one continuous experience. This seamless interaction between friends, across channels is an expectation for when teens engage with brands. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ It’s annoying to me to have a device that serves only one purpose.” – Community member </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This quote perfectly summarizes the overall feeling about devices – they want to have unlimited access to their games, Internet, friends, etc. in one place, anywhere they go. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  9. TEENS IN TUNE <ul><ul><li>Teens are incredibly sarcastic, apprehensive of joining & pessimistic. They seem to have a good grasp of what’s going on and current events. They are quick witted, insightful and at the same time totally naïve. They are quick to judge, and share the judgment publicly with friends and, frankly, anyone who will listen. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They appreciate it when marketers talk to them like adults and they appreciate those who are transparent, honest & most of all just keeping it real. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  10. TEENS THE FUTURE <ul><ul><li>We wanted to see how teens today would see the future. We were half expecting ideas as far out as the ideas Baby Boomers had about the future – silver jumpsuits, flying cars and pill form food. What we found was the exact opposite. Teens don’t expect drastic jumps in technological advancements. In fact, they think most of the technology will be similar but more integrated. What they feel will change is the level of technological adoption and how that impacts behavior. In fact, one insightful teen said, “I would not be surprised if there's more people at home... working from home, schooling from home, and having some sort of super 3D tour of exotic locations rather than having to physically visit.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>