iMedia Connection has posted the article “Smells Like Teen Influence”, which cites three JupiterResearch polls regarding Teen marketing and Internet use.

Jupiter conducted a survey of 1,800 online teens, ages 13-17, about their attitudes and habits via the Internet and offline. The reports — “Demographic Profile: Teens Online,” Online Teen Marketing Segmentation: Reaching Teen Influencers” and “Consumer Survey: Online Teen Media Behavior Marketing” — identified a critical target group called “teen influencers,” who have much clout in what’s considered cool in style and entertainment. This group also wields heavy influence on household purchasing, making them a highly-attractive target audience to marketers.

“The Internet is not a panacea for reaching teens,” says David Card, vice president and senior analyst of JupiterResearch. “Teens spend seven hours per week online versus 10 hours watching TV — an online-to-TV gap that is wider than that of adults. However, compared to adults, more online teens are regular users of instant messaging (71 percent) and online content like personal pages and Weblogs (30 percent). Teens also outpace adults in gaming, music and movies, but participate less in online entertainment categories like sports and TV.”

The 17 percent of online teens that are “teen influencers” are key marketing and media targets. This group is popular and style-conscious, and has a strong influence on friends and families. They are the most active, spending eight hours per week online, and are involved in the broadest range of Web activities. This group tends to be older and wealthier than the average teen, and is keen on spreading the word on trends and products.

The study identified other groups, too. “Squares,” which make up 44 percent of online teens, are less concerned about style and don’t use the Web as much as the influencers. Fifty-nine percent are boys. The “wannabes” are popular, frequently online and are concerned about being in style. Fifty-four percent of “wannabes” are girls. The “unpopular” group is less influential and the least Web active. They come from average-income homes and don’t indulge themselves with clothes or products. Fifty-six percent are boys.

The study identified different habits among online boys and girls, finding that teen girls are active in more activities than boys, which is evident in style, music, movies, local information and TV categories. More teen boys, however, visit sport sites regularly (7 percent vs. 33 percent) and download music (29 percent vs. 32 percent) and partake in online gaming more than their female counterpart.

“Conventional wisdom says girls mature faster than boys do, and this phenomenon holds true online,” says Vikram Sehgal, research director of JupiterResearch. “On average, a 14-year-old girl is more active online than a 17-year-old boy. Teen boys spend 150 percent more time per week playing online games than girls do, but girls spend 22 percent more time online.”


Photo: Ingo Bernhardt