INSIGHTS: How Verve’s Teen Interns Are Spending Their Time Online

By 18/04/2016 Digital No Comments
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From September to June, Verve is inundated with requests from TY students who want to delve into the fast-paced world of events and marketing for a few weeks. For the successful 16 year-old interns, we can never resist some impromptu market research to pick their brains about their ever-changing internet habits.

With the members of Gen Z frequently migrating from one platform to the other – brands know that Facebook and Twitter are no longer the last word in social media. Especially if teens are the target demographic. With the rise of Snapchat, Instagram, Vine and Pinterest – now more than ever it’s important for brands to innovate ways to leverage their product on new platforms.

While Facebook is widely regarded as the social media mega-force, particularly among mid-twenties and up, transition year student, Sean told us that Mark Zuckerberg’s social network is the last stop for his peer group. Photo-sharing app Instagram (Facebook owned, to be fair) was his network of choice. “I prefer Instagram because I think that it has more of a creative edge,” he said.

16 year-old Lisa shared the same sentiment, adding that Instagram is a vehicle for her celebrity obsession. “It is great for stalking your favourite celebrities, like Kylie and Kendall Jenner, and seeing what they are up to,” she said.

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The most popular social networks among teens ( via PiperJaffray.com )

Reality TV star and model Kendall Jenner has 54 million followers on the platform, mostly teens like Lisa. It’s no wonder the young influencer is known to command up to $300,000 USD for a single endorsement post.

“Snapchat is used a lot for sending funny videos or pictures and having quick conversations,” one Verve teen said. Another added, “It is more of a fun way to contact your friends when you’re out and about.” And another, “I would check my Snapchat consistently during the day.”

They are not alone, with 28% of their peers claiming that Snapchat is the most important social network. Instagram trails closely behind at 27%, according to the Taking Stock With Teens report by Piper Jaffray published earlier this month.

The IPSOS MRBI social media survey (published in January 2016) shows that 25% of Irish people have a Snapchat account and 22% are active on Instagram – with most users being in the under 30 age bracket. This is not a passive audience either – they comment, they follow and they connect with a brand. But how do you go about reaching the audience? Product placement is an obvious option, with many brands seeing huge success from recruiting young influencers to give their online seal of approval. However, the more creative the campaign, the bigger the return.

Dominos UK saw huge success with their ‘Mouth Boggles’ TV and Snapchat campaign. Users were asked describe the main emotions that came with ordering a pizza and introduced a sponsored Dominos Snapchat lens, which resulted in huge engagement in the form of short Snaps and GIFs. The campaign was successful in driving a greater emotional connection to the brand.

When it comes to news, one of our sport-centric interns gets all the latest headlines from Sky Sports online and reckons he checks back at least once an hour for live results, news and fixtures. The celebrity worshippers are devout readers of the Daily Mail Online. Both say that they primarily use their phones to access the internet.

As for film and television consumption, the Piper Jeffray report says, “Teens are spending more time on Netflix and YouTube as opposed to traditional TV. The amount of time they spend on these websites combined equates to 66% versus traditional TV at 26%.”

Our young Verve interns viewing habits definitely back up the research. “I would watch almost all of my programmes on Netflix. It means that you can watch your favourite shows without the hassle of waiting during ad breaks.”

Others agree that YouTube would be more popular than traditional television, “Beauty vloggers such as Tanya Burr and Zoella have recently become extremely popular with teenage girls,” she says.

And she’s right. Zoella aka Zoe Sugg has 10 million followers, landed a book deal and is reported to earn over €60K per month as a result of endorsement deals, YouTube revenue and public appearances. She’s not alone, with the likes of Tyler Oakley, Troye Sivan and Grace Helbig, all managing to turn their YouTube hobby into a lucrative career.

Even over the past year, the digital landscape has changed drastically. Brands are fighting tooth and nail for engagement, and it is the early adopters who anticipate these changes that will out perform their competitors.