Friday Five: Teens and tech

The latest research from the Pew Research Center ought to be of interest to admissions and enrollment management marketers, or anyone who markets to the always-on teenage demographic.

Here are five important findings about U.S. teens from that research on Teens, Social Media & Technology:

PI_2015-04-09_teensandtech_011. Facebook is not dead to teens.

We’ve all heard the rumors of Facebook’s demise among the teenage crowd. But the Pew research shows that Facebook is still the most popular and most frequently used social network among teens ages 13 to 17. Seventy-one percent of them use Facebook.

The takeaway: When marketing to teens, don’t discount the potential impact of Facebook.

2. Smartphones: the gateway to online.

Pew reports that nearly three-quarters of teens have access to a smartphone, and mobile devices “have become a primary driver of teen internet use.” Nine out of 10 teens go online from mobile devices at least occasionally. “Among these ‘mobile teens,’ 94% go online daily or more often,” Pew reports.

The takeaway: To reach teens, think mobile, responsive, adaptive. Make sure your online presence is mobile-friendly.

3. Teens are diversifying their social media usage.

Seventy-one percent of teens surveyed report using more than one social network site, while 22 percent of teens reported using only one site (two-thirds of the one-site-only teens use Facebook).

The takeaway: Don’t put all your marketing efforts into a single social media platform. Diversify.

4. Girls like social; boys like video games.

In a bit of a twist on the “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” cliche, Pew found that girls are more active on social media than are boys. They also prefer visually-oriented sites — especially Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest — while boys are more likely than girls to play video games.

The takeaway: Understand the preferences of your audiences, and market accordingly. If you run a contest on Instagram, for example, don’t be surprised if you have little participation from boys.

5. Teens are always on.

This may seem like a no-brainer, right? But the data bear out this truth. Fully 92 percent of teens go online daily, and nearly one in four are “constantly” online.

The takeaway: In your marketing to teens, think digital-first.


Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

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