Study shows younger consumers value site participation, engagement

The past week has seen a ton of coverage around a Gartner study supposedly pointing to signs of social media fatigue.   Hence, the UK tabloid Daily Mail, a regular anti social media cheerleader, led with a piece entitled “is the tide turning for Twitter and Facebook.  One in four young people is bored with social media.”

Except that’s not really what the study showed. Instead, Gartner probably spun this one a certain way knowing it would get a reaction.

In fact, Gartner found that a quarter of younger consumers were using social media less and 37% more.   Not only that, the very same Daily Mail piece that talked about the tide turning for Twitter and Facebook quotes Gartner lead researcher Charlotte Patrick, who says “Teenagers and those in their twenties were significantly more likely to say that they had increased their usage.”

As a result, ‘younger consumers deepen relationship with social media’ would perhaps have been a more accurate headline.

This is backed up by an article published in AdAge today headlined, “63% of readers don’t care about your comments.”  Or rather, according to an AdAge Ipsos study, almost two thirds of consumers said it would make no difference or even make them less likely to visit a news site if it allowed them to post comments, videos or pictures.

However, when broken down by age, the results are very different.   Site engagement and participation definitely matters for the under 30s.   Meanwhile, 80% of the over 55s say they never comment on stories compared with 24% of 18-4 year olds.

Two points from these two different studies.   First of all Gartner stresses the need to keep content – specifically branded content – fresh and interesting to stop younger consumers zoning out.

Secondly, AdAge concludes with the point that the way the under 30s consume news is very different to how it has been done before, and news publishers need to think carefully about how this audience can be brought in and encouraged to take part.


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