How teens use social media and why it matters to brands

If you want to know the future of technology and its impact on society, study how teenagers interact with one another. Teenagers are digital natives, navigating in a complex and sophisticated world that most of us do not fully understand. Yet, teens are a highly interesting target group to many companies. Their behavior as consumers is radically different from what we see in other target groups and they may seem unpredictable and difficult to reach. At Millward Brown Denmark, we have set out to clarify and understand where teenagers interact online, how and why.

New qualitative study

We are currently performing a big qualitative research study on teenagers and their use of social media: How do teens interact with brands in the new media channels? Our goal is to obtain new insights into teenagers’ interaction with brands online. In the process, we are seeking new ways of doing qualitative research. With the use of our trademark online platform IDEABLOG®, our study takes place exactly where the teenage consumers are: Online with smartphones, interacting, sharing, liking, smart chatting, hash tagging, streaming, sharing, uploading, downloading, commenting and performing digital multitasking intensively day and night.

Meeting teens where they are

Millward Brown’s IDEABLOG® can be run via an app that the respondents download to their smartphones, logging into a private, secure online forum. Here, we can engage them into developing ideas, expressing attitudes and interacting with each other. We can post mini-polls, surveys, interactive activities and the respondents are able to upload their own thoughts, pictures and videos.

Bloggers’ influence on consumer behavior

Another aspect of the study is to learn about young people’s influence through the internet. Through social media and blog forums, we have investigated the blogosphere in order to identify Danish bloggers who target teens. We have invited five bloggers under 20 to participate in an online focus group. We seek to uncover their motives for blogging, the effects of their blogging, upcoming online trends, and the young bloggers’ interaction with brands.
In addition to this, we have invited a handful of big advertisers to discuss and share how they use social media. What are the challenges they face and what are their thoughts on the near future?

Please share

What is the single most important thing that comes to your mind when investigating teens and their use of social media? What do you think we will find, where are we heading? Please leave a comment below. We look forward to presenting you with our findings.


4 thoughts on “How teens use social media and why it matters to brands

  1. Have conducted a few studies now with teens and their use of social media, it is second nature, they don’t distinguish between these formats and more traditional ones so when you ask them what time they spend on the internet, they say an hour a day – but they forget about their 24/7 connectivity and their constant chit/chat. I have noticed some key differences between ages – Younger teens fearful of interacting with 3rd parties on-line, so interaction with advertisers less than we might think – they worry about their identity, inappropriate content, viruses …

    • Hi Louise – thanks for your comment! We are looking in to our findings right now and I can to some extent confirm your insights, but from our perspective another reason for not interacting a lot with advertisers is the fact that teens do not see an immediate gratification from this. And they are so focused on the here and now. But I am looking forward to sharing more insights when the reporting is done!

  2. Will you also be looking into the value for company Facebook pages, why they “friend/like/link” company/brand FB sites and posts? How and why they interact with them? Has thier behaviour changed the past years – are companys/brands sites/postings keeping up or are they now outdated ? (cases)

  3. Hi Penny! The focus of our research has been to understand the teens and their usage of social media: How, when, where, what, with whom etc., trying to get a deep understanding of what is interesting to them, how they navigate within this area and how our clients can get in touch with them – where are the opening points? At this point no direct testing of sites etc. has been included, We will be happy to share our findings with you once our research is final. We will contact you directly.

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