Since 2006, the number of teens that post their personal email address on social media has doubled from 29 percent to 53 percent. This was one of the eye opening pieces of data shared on the Pew Internet Research new report on “Teens, Social Media and Privacy”. The new Pew data on teens reveals important information for higher education, both in terms of helping young people learn about social media privacy and in learning how to market to this ever-changing culture. But are the new stats bells and whistles for marketers and recruiters, or alarms for student services and college athletics? It’s a mixed bag really—let’s take a look.
Bells and Whistles
The Pew data confirms what all marketers and recruiters suspected and are pleased to know: teens are sharing their personal information more than ever. Data and contact information on your focus group is easier to get than ever.
Teens are flocking to Twitter. Twitter use has doubled among teens in the last two years. Only 14 percent of teen Facebook users share with the public. On Twitter, that number jumps to 64 percent.
Teens are posting more personal information than ever. Every category of personal information shared on social media has increased significantly:
- 91% post a photo of themselves, up from 79% in 2006.
- 71% post their school name, up from 49%.
- 71% post the city or town where they live, up from 61%.
- 53% post their email address, up from 29%.
- 20% post their cell phone number, up from 2%.
Targeted advertising on social media such as promoted posts, Facebook ads, and promoted tweets have more power than ever. If you do your research on those channels, your paid advertising on Twitter and Facebook can be more focused and probably have better returns.
Social search can produce richer results for marketing. With the increased sharing of personal information comes better search results. Using Facebook Graph Search and Advanced Twitter Search, you will be able to key in on influencers and more focused target groups for recruiting, admissions, and retention.
The data also confirms a sliding scale of apathy about online privacy. Even though the majority of teens understand how to navigate privacy, more are using open channels online and sharing more personal information.
- 94 percent of 14-17 year olds share personal pictures of themselves online
- 53 percent post their email addresses
- 72 percent of 14-17 year olds post their hometown name
- 76 percent post their school name
Increasingly, teens are confident about sharing their personal information online. Unfortunately, many don’t understand the importance of online reputation protection. With applications like Snapchat, Chirp, Instagram, and Twitter, teens really believe their information is only going to their friends. For a better explanation of online privacy traps, see these two blog pieces on the biggest privacy mistakes people make online.
Who Do Teens Listen To?
iGen is a generation born with consumer-driven capitalism at its core and altruism at its heart. Never before has there been a generation so globally plugged in and so informed. We learned that their patterns and behaviors are opposed to anything that has come before them and that they basically ignore messages from brands, unless those brands have earned admittance to their infinite touch points. It is simply in their DNA to listen to their trusted network, rather than controlled messages from brands.
We recognized that iGen-ers only care about information if it is relevant to them and, since the power of brand-engagement is in the hands of the consumer, they will serve as their own gatekeepers, awarding relevant information by sharing it with their trusted network of peers and burying irrelevant information so it will be invisible to their peers. This trend is already evident in early studies: 60% of iGen expects relevant advertisements and 46% prefer funny advertisements.
What are you takeaways from the new Pew data?