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Generation whY? Irish Teens’ use of Social Media

Tags: Marketing, Consumer PR, Digital, Social Media, 

Generation whY? Irish Teens’ use of Social Media

Boomer, Generation X and Y and now iGen. These are audiences that Irish marketers and PR pros have to leverage and genuinely interact with every day. Communicating through social media is of course the obvious medium, but how and why are teens using social media, particularly Irish teens? The latest research from iReach reveals many learnings and insights. We were also delighted to talk to a Transition Year student, Cliona Cassidy, who joined us for work experience recently. Here is our take on it.

Why are teens using devices? Not surprisingly, 95% of all Irish teens aged 15-18 own a smart phone, followed by 86% who own a laptop and 38% who own a tablet. Our teens’ favourite app genres are music, games, followed by communication, sports and fashion/ shopping.

Music never dies, but the way we listen to it is. According to the survey, only 3% of Irish 15-18-year olds listen to music on the radio. 89% listen via their phones. This in tandem with the fact that 76% of listening takes place on Spotify, suggests great merit in marketers further exploring playlists for consumer and lifestyle clients – merging social and music to reach this notoriously difficult audience to engage with.

Snapchat and Instagram are the most popular social channels for Irish teens (96% and 92% respectively). Facebook chases behind at 87%. The top reasons for using social media are for entertainment (57%), to communicate with others (51%) and to keep in touch with family and friends (47%). Interestingly, for 8 – 12-year olds in Ireland, for the 45% that use social media, YouTube accounts for 78% of this usage and Snapchat falls behind at 57% and Instagram at 41%.

Influence the non-influential? Generation Y, which comprises the 15-18 age cohort are known for being less loyal to brands and are extremely changeable when it comes to taste, fashion and lifestyle. 53% account a singer/ actor/ celebrity/ sportsperson/ politician as their role model. A parent/ family member is considered by 35%. Teachers and social media influencers amass only 19% each and a surprising 30% of those asked do not know who a role model is for them. 67% of those asked said that social media influence has a low impact on their purchases. However, when there is social media influence, Instagram leads the way at 49%.

What our Transition Year student had to say, really confirmed this. Snapchat and Instagram are leading the way for social media usage. As for brands using Influencer Marketing, she believes that for the most part, young people know that there are large amounts of money involved in getting a celebrity or blogger to post about a product. She thinks that this method of marketing needs to be authentic and in fact, sometimes a brand involving a smaller blogger is more effective as the interaction and fit can be more genuine.

Generation Y is certainly one of the most challenging, but interesting audiences to engage with. As with all comms activity, research must guide decisions and we are learning from Generation Y and iGen every day. This learning is crucial to our activity and strategies because this is an audience that must be actively engaged with when embarking on campaigns for clients. They need to be involved and we need to listen and be proactive in campaign strategies that enhance and foster this smart, informed and up and coming generation.