Know Your Future Customers: Highlights from the MediaSmarts Life Online Study

Media SmartsCanadian teenagers are connected and mobile: that’s the conclusion that comes from the latest MediaSmarts report called Life Online. This report looks at online behaviour of children from grades 4 to 11—a great prediction of the patterns of future adult consumers that you can use today to build a marketing strategy for tomorrow. Here are some interesting highlights.

The future is mobile 

By grade 11, a whopping 75% of teenagers use their smart phones to access the web and about 72% use a laptop. To say that this is the age of mobile would be stating the obvious. For this age group, the smartphone is actually the most popular way to access the web. With bigger, faster, better phones released every year, we can safely assume that this trend can only continue.

We all know that mobile use is on the rise and that companies and organizations must cater to these devices. By grade 11, 85% of students have their own cell phone—you can be sure that as time goes by, this number will increase.

In short: if you don’t have a mobile or responsive website, you are losing thousands of opportunities to connect with your future customers—as well as current ones who also tend to use mobile more and more as years go by.

Social media is ubiquitous

For anyone who works in the field of marketing, PR and communications, social media has become part of the typical arsenal of tactics to reach and engage people. Those who caught on to the importance of social media for the future of business communication have it right: by grade 11, close to 95% of students have a Facebook account, and more than 60% have a Twitter account.

Social media is no longer a plus: it is now a must.

Make videos

The MediaSmarts survey asked students to list their top 10 websites. In 75% of responses (and by far the most popular) was YouTube. The next one is Facebook, with 57% of students listing it in their top 10.

There are very little financial and technical barriers to making quality videos anymore; a smartphone and a free video editing suite are enough. Making videos should definitely be part of your social media content strategy.

Who’s the goofy prankster in your office? What awesome things do people do with your product? How are others using your services to make the world a better place? These are all great video ideas and things that will bring to light the human side of your business or organization.

Plugged-in generation

According to the study, 35% of students worry that they spend too much time online. With 65% who are not worried, we can conclude that for them, being online is a normal part of life.

However, many of them still appreciate time spent offline. 77% choose to go offline to spend time with friends and family, 71% to go outside or to play games or sports, 45% to enjoy quiet time and 44% to read a book.

In general, internet access outside of school is almost universal, with 99% of students saying that they surf the web outside of the classroom. Contrary to those who were born in the 80s and who came of age as the internet matured, the upcoming generation was born with a fully functional, easily accessible and ubiquitous network of knowledge, information and communication. What will the future consumer look like? We can’t tell for sure, but we can say that the web, mobile devices and social media will be an integral part of their behaviour.

Learn more about what youth are doing online at Social Media YOUTH Camp, May 3rd.

Eventbrite - Social Media YOUTH Camp

Social Media Camp

Canada's Social Media event of the year, coming May 1-3, 2014.

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