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Despite the image of teens being obsessed with digital communications, only 13% of teen word-of-mouth (WOM) about brands takes place onlinevia texting/instant messaging (7%), social networking (3%), and email (3%)according to a survey from Keller Fay Group.

Among all US online consumers surveyed, just 7% of brand-related WOM occurs online, of which 3% is via texting/instant messaging, 3% via email, and 1% via social networking.


Fully 75% of teens' WOM about brands occurs face to face and 10% occurs via telephone.

Below, other findings from TalkTrack Word of Mouth Among Teens, an ongoing study conducted by Keller Fay Group.

Overall, teens exchange WOM opinions and information about brands at significantly higher levels than online consumers overall.

Across brand categories, media and entertainment conversations are most popular among teens: 78% engage in one or more conversations per day about such brands, compared with 57% of all online consumers.

Similarly, 69% of teens engage in one or more conversations per day about food and dining brands (vs. 54% of all online consumers) and 67% of teens engage in such conversations about technology (vs. 39%).

Beauty needs are a key interest: Teens are 43% more likely than all online consumers to have conversations about personal care and beauty (45% vs. 25%).

Media and Marketing Conversations

Media and marketing topics are important to teens: 61% of teen brand-related conversations include references to media and marketing. Among such teen conversations, most make references to TV (20%), followed by Internet-related topics (19%), and magazines (8%).

Among all online consumers, 52% of brand-related conversations include references to media and marketing. Among those conversations, slightly fewer make references to TV (17%) and to Internet-related topics (15%); slightly more make references to promotions (6%).


Looking for great digital marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Digital Marketing Factbook (May 2010), a 296-page compilation of data and 254 charts, covering email marketing, social media, search engine marketing, e-commerce, and mobile marketing. Also check out The State of Social Media Marketing, a 240-page original research report from MarketingProfs.


Most WOM occurs in the home: 54% of brand conversations among all online consumers occur in the home as do 38% of conversations among teens. For teens, however, the school environment is a close second (28%), whereas for the general public, the work environment is a distant second (12%).

Most-Discussed Brands

Among teens, the five most-discussed brands are Coca-Cola, Apple, Verizon, iPod, and Ford. Among all online consumers, the most-discussed brands are Coca-Cola, Verizon, Wal-Mart, AT&T, and Pepsi.

Sprite, Samsung and Hollister are three brands that appear on the teens' top-20 list, but not on the general public's list. By contrast, three brands on the general public's top-20 list—Target, HP, and Honda—don't appear on the teens' top-20 list.

Though the media/entertainment brand category is the most discussed by teens overall, the number of large brands within that category are so numerous that no single brand is mentioned frequently enough to make the top 20, the study notes. However, the relatively few dominant players within the telecom category, for example, yield a higher likelihood of frequent mention.

About the data: Findings are from TalkTrack, which measures brand WOM across offline and online channels. Participants use a diary to keep track of their brand conversations, and then complete online surveys to provide information about those conversations. The teen WOM findings reflect data collected from July 2009 to June 2010 among 36,000 online consumers age 13-69, of which 4,900 were teens, age 13-17. 

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