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The 18-to-24-year-old set is famously media-drenched, with high Internet and mobile phone usage. However, these young adults are not solidly opposed to brands themselves, and are willing to spread the word about the ones they like. That is one of the findings Synovate made in June and July of 2008 in its “Young Adults Revealed” study, released this month.
When asked about their online brand engagement in the past month, 28% of respondents had talked about a brand on a discussion forum, 23% had put brand-related content on their instant messaging (IM) profile, and 19% had added branded content to their homepage or social networking site.
Nearly one-half said they had clicked on online ads, and 18% had accessed brand and product information through a portal. Nearly one-quarter had uploaded ads to social networks and online video sites in the past month.
“They are more than just ‘comfortable’ with brands,” said Julian Rolfe, global manager at Synovate, in a statement. “They want to associate themselves with brands they see as ‘cool’ and this is why we see them uploading clips to their social networking sites and IM services.”
“If advertising is done in a relevant and credible way, young adults are actually eager to interact, share opinions and even pass the message on,” added Beth Uyenco, global research director at Microsoft Advertising, in a statement.
Respondents were most likely to pass on comedy clips (62%), followed by music clips (40%) and clips featuring friends (27%). Almost one out of 10 passed along viral advertising and marketing clips.
Word-of-mouth is an ever-stronger way to market to college students. An August 2008 Alloy Media + Marketing survey of these young adults found they thought word-of-mouth was the most useful type of advertising. Samples—always a bonus for students on a budget—ranked second.
Showing that students do still consider traditional media relevant, TV and magazine ads also ranked highly—higher, in fact, than online ads and sponsored Web applications.
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