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BizReport : Research archives : August 07, 2007

Survey finds friends as important as brands

Friends are as important as brands, according to MTV and Microsoft’s recently released findings from their global study into how kids and young adults interact with digital technology.

by Helen Leggatt

The ‘Circuits of Cool/Digital Playground’ study is reportedly the largest-ever global study of its kind undertaken by MTV and Nickelodeon, in association with MSN.

Eighteen-thousand kids and young adults (16-24 year olds) across 16 countries were consulted. All of them were defined as “tech embracing” in that they had easy access to the Internet, a mobile phone and at least two other electronic devices.

One key finding was that friends are becoming as important as brands. According to MTV Network's Fahey Rush, the number of opinion formers and influencers is much larger these days. So, too, are the channels via which this growing elite can communicate.

The study revealed that the majority of ways in which young people were exposed to website content and viral videos was via their network of friends. Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed said that the majority of websites they viewed were due to links provided by friends, and 55 percent of viral video content was viewed after recommendations from a friend.

Marketers need to investigate and acknowledge the new ways in which young people communicate and run their daily lives. "In an age when young people influence each other as much as marketers do, friends are becoming as important as brands. Kids have much more power to influence each other. You need to be interesting enough for kids and young people to bother to talk about you. You need to be remarkable. If not, you won't be respected - that's what some brands get wrong," said Rush.

Tags: brands, friends, influencers, Microsoft, MTV, viral marketing

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