Those involved in marketing consumer electronic equipment often focus on the youth market when initiating discovery and investigating mobile and web usage trends. The top end of the youth segment—teens 12 to 17, are often seen as trend setters when it comes to new forms of inter-cohort communication. The Nielsen Company recently assembled a treasure trove of data from its various company resources to paint a portrait of the American teen market today. Following is an overview of some of the behavior and media myth-breakers that the company uncovered in compiling its review of males and females 12 to 17.
Despite their image as cellular junkies, teens actually talk less on the phone (515 minutes per month on average) than those 18 to 24 years old (750 minutes per month). Rather than talking, teens are texting and watching mobile video with their smartphone units. In fact, this cohort watched more video on mobile devices than any other—approximately 7 hours and 13 minutes per month, versus 4 hours and 20 minutes for the overall U.S. population. Given their propensity to consume mobile video, this segment also tends to be more receptive to advertising on these devices. Fifty-eight percent indicated that they are likely to pay attention to mobile ads some or all of the time.
Teens 12 to 17 also tended to out-text all other segments. In the first quarter of 2011, this group averaged almost 3,400 mobile texts per month, more than twice as many as those sent by their 18 to 24 year old neighbors. As might be expected, these consumers are also social media butterflies. Almost 79% of teens visit social networks or blogs on a regular basis. While the 12 to 17 contingent watches less television than the general population, they still tended to average over 21 and one-half hours of TV viewing time per week (up 6% since 2005).
In general, adults 18+ tend to spend more time with online video than those 12 to 17. However, teens tend to have better recall of ads online than they do of similar ads on television. Insofar as content is concerned, the top TV show among the 12 to 17 cohort continues to be American Idol. Google tends to be the top website and general drama is the TV program genre that teens prefer most.
Gugelplex TV recognizes that teens, similar to their adult counterparts, tend to vary greatly in their cross-media behavior. In reality, males and females 12 to 17 are no more typical in their media consumption patterns than are men and women 18+. However, as new consumer media technologies are introduced that induce greater audience fragmentation, it becomes imperative to set a baseline against which various audience segmentation approaches may be cast. As Nielsen says in its report: “The segmented behavior of extreme teen users, teens of difference races or genders and teens in different regions, internationally and domestically, is poorly represented by averages. But what averages conceal in variation, they make up for in perspective.” Overall, Gugelplex TV believes that it is the combination of the two that will provide the greatest insight.
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