Today’s Youth almost half as likely to engage with brands on social networks

A report on NMA earlier this week highlighted the fact that the majority of those in the UK do not want to engage with brands via social media so I thought I’d take a look at the research we did with the IAB to see if this rings true for the youth audience too.The research conducted by TNS said that many brands had ‘misguided digital strategies’ that were failing to attract visitors and instead adding to a ‘mountain of digital waste’.

This echo’s the me too strategy we see many brands implementing often without much thought as to why they are creating their Facebook page or Twitter account.

Research carried out by the IAB in association with The Student Room looked into young peoples behaviour online, part of which was their interaction with brands across various platforms.

We found that despite 83% seeing brands advertising on social networks, just 30% admit to connecting with them and their top reasons for doing so are:

  1. Discounts (35.2%)
  2. Exclusive content (29.5%)
  3. Competitions (24.3%)

This is considerably lower than the 61% found by TNS across the general public, which is surprising as the youth audience are often thought to be THE target audience on social sites.

However we found that only 35.7% of young people have said they research purchases on social networks whereas 64.3% have used forums and community sites like The Student Room to get advice before they buy.

In fact young people are almost 3 times more likely to make a purchase decision on an online forum or community site (30.9%) than a social network (11.3%)

It is time for brands to stop adding to the digital dump and think about what they want to get out of their online presence as social media may not be the easy answer that it previously appeared to be.

The full findings of The Student Room’s research with the IAB are available in the reports section of this blog.