American youth have embraced
the Internet, but still believe television strongly influences their
purchasing behaviors, according to research recently conducted for Advertising
Age by NeoPets, Inc. A total of 15,902 U.S. residents from ages seven
to 23 were sampled. The maximum margin of error is +/- 2.3 percent.
The survey revealed, among other things, that the Internet is the
overwhelming favorite medium among young people, with respondents indicating
that they spend an average of 12.1 hours per week on the Internet. Television
was ranked second at 7.5 hours per week, radio is third at 4.9 hours per week,
and magazines ranked fourth at 1.8 hours per week. Furthermore, when survey
respondents were asked if they could only have one of these media, Internet
was chosen more than three to one over television (69 percent vs. 21 percent).
“The Internet involves its users and consistently offers a more desirable
experience than traditional media, which provides a more passive, less
engaging experience. This strong preference for the Internet is present among
both males and females in roughly equal proportions,” said Rik Kinney,
executive vice president of NeoPets, Inc.
Despite their preference for the Internet as the medium they couldn`t do
without, survey results indicated that young people rank television as their
first choice for conveying advertising messages. From ages seven to 23,
television advertising ranked as the most preferred, most interesting, most
memorable and the best source of advertising information.
In addition, respondents said that television advertising was most
effective with regard to its influence on their buying behaviors. The
majority of respondents (90 percent) stated that TV advertising had influenced
one or more purchases, more than any other form of advertising. Magazine
advertising ranked second at 57 percent; Internet advertising ranked third at
47 percent, and radio advertising ranked fourth at 41 percent of respondents
who have been influenced to buy something as a direct result of advertising.
“Young people understand that the Internet is a great medium for personal
communication and information gathering,” said Kinney. “Yet, much Internet
advertising to date has been relatively ineffective compared to other media.
This may be due, at least in part, to uninteresting and inappropriate
placement of intrusive banners, buttons and pop-ups.”
Significantly, results showed that tweens and teens understand that all
forms of advertising are designed to make them buy things. “Young people
exhibit a healthy skepticism regarding advertising, yet the majority reported
that they actually like advertising and appreciate the information it
provides,” said Kinney.
Kinney added that thousands of verbatim responses further demonstrated
that young people have a high level of understanding and sophistication with
regard to all types of media advertising. When asked what advertising is
trying to do, one 7-year old responded, “To SELL, SELL, SELL, and make the
product sing like a song in your head.” Kinney noted that respondents from
all age groups were highly-opinionated in their praise and criticism of all
types of advertising.
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