Facebook and YouTube still embraced by teens, but TV remains first

Word on the street is that teenagers and young adults are turning away from Facebook and YouTube in favour of the ‘next best thing’, but the latest statistics suggest otherwise.

New Roy Morgan research shows that the two social media platforms are the most used by Australians aged 14 to 24.

For September, the poll found that 76% of Australians in this age bracket visited Facebook in an average week, and 70% accessed YouTube.  

These figures were still behind the consumption of free to air television, with 90% in this age group watching it in September.

Next in line in the social media rankings was Google+, used by 26% of respondents. This was equalled by Twitter at 26%, while just 5% used professional networking site LinkedIn.  

Art posting site Pinterest is new to the Roy Morgan research. It tracked at 8% for September.

Photosharing site Instagram was also recently added to the survey, but the statistics were not revealed due to the short-term gathering of results. Usage of new photography sensation SnapChat was not recorded in the survey.

Roy Morgan Research digital director Tim Martin said the results show the effect of combining both social media and television marketing to reach mass audiences.

“Australia’s media landscape has undergone some major changes in the past decade, and continues to evolve at a dizzying rate,” he said.

“While social media has great resonance with teenagers and young adults, their viewing of free to air hasn’t declined as a result.”

Martin explained to SmartCompany that they expected to see a decline in television viewing as social media use rises, but this was not the case. He said it was also expected that the use of the dominant sites such as Facebook and YouTube would decline as more social media options are adopted, but this was also not true.

Rather, young Australians appear to be adding more social networks to their daily usage, instead of replacing one with another, as they each have different qualities to offer.

The trick for businesses hoping to market goods and services to the teen and early adult market is to adopt a multi-dimensional, cross platform approach.

“Marketing and media in the digital space come with unique challenges but offer huge potential. Understanding the demographics, attitudes and behaviours of consumers visiting different kinds of websites and social media platforms is vital,” Martin said.

David Waller, senior lecturer in the School of Marketing at University of Technology, Sydney, says the statistics demonstrate the further fragmentation of marketing avenues, and an increase in the challenges faced by businesses when it comes to reaching their desired audience for advertising.

“In the old days you’d advertise in Smash Hits magazine and reach all the teenagers and tie it all together,” he says.

He says while brands need a presence across all the platforms, if consumers feel bombarded by advertising on sites they reserve for socialising, they simply switch off.

“Advertisers need to be media smart and find ways to make people aware of their brands, but not be annoyed by them,” he says.

Waller also highlights the multi-tasking nature of teens and young adults when it comes to engaging with social media. He says it can be hard to capture their attention, as they will watch a show, follow Twitter and post on Facebook all at once, making it even harder for advertisers to capture their attention.

He points to collaborations between brands and TV shows via product placements, or celebrity endorsement on sites such as Twitter, as ways to crack tough audiences.


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