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Young adults eager to engage with brands online, Global research from Microsoft and Synovate reveals


Almost a third of 18-24 year olds around the world regularly talk about brands in online forums or discussion boards

LONDON — A new global survey conducted by Synovate in conjunction with Microsoft reveals the extent to which young adults are willing to interact and engage with brands as part of their daily online activities. When asked about their online brand engagement in the last month, almost a third (28%) had talked about a brand on a discussion forum; almost a quarter (23%) had added brand-related content to their instant messenger service; and almost one in five (19%) had added branded content to their homepage or social networking site.

The ’Young Adults Revealed’ survey of 12,603 18-24 year olds from 26 countries around the world gives brands and advertisers valuable insight into the online behaviours of this much sought after demographic. Spending on average 2.5 hours of their daily leisure time online, young people claim that they are not only regularly clicking on banner or online adverts (47%) or accessing brand and product information via portals (18%) but also interacting in a more engaged way - almost a quarter of them (24%) have actively uploaded advertising or marketing clips to social networking or video sites in the last month.

“Young people today are totally comfortable with the idea of branded content and branded entertainment. For example, almost half (42%) have watched an advert before watching a video online. However, the results of this survey show that they are more than just ’comfortable’ - they are openly willing and eager to engage with brands online. They clearly feel their opinions about brands are important. They want to associate themselves with brands they see as ’cool’ and this is why we see them uploading clips to their social networking sites and IM services,” comments Julian Rolfe, Global Manager, Young Adults Revealed, Synovate.

Beth Uyenco, Global Research Director, Microsoft Advertising says: “People think that the younger generation is notoriously marketing savvy and difficult to engage. However, we know from this survey and our experience with our advertisers that if advertising is done in a relevant and credible way, young adults are actually eager to interact, share opinions and even pass the message on.”

Active Audiences

Young people are accessible through a range of digital touch points and engage in a variety of activities throughout the day. They regularly read emails (94%) and news or current affairs (80%). They also read about film, music or games (76%) and chat on IM (76%). Almost three quarters of respondents had watched video clips online (73%), and they are most likely to pass on comedy clips (62%), followed by music clips (40%) and clips featuring friends (27%). Almost one in ten respondents had also passed on viral advertising and marketing clips (9%).

Mobile internet access is also proving popular with over a third of respondents using their handset to browse while on the move (34%). The most common online activities from a mobile include:

1. Listening to the radio (15%)
2. Accessing games (13%)
3. Visiting social networking sites (11%)
4. Watching streamed video clips (10%)
5. Reading about sport (9%)

Microsoft Advertising’s Uyenco concludes: “We know young adults are active users of the internet but we can see that they are looking for an experience that is both relevant and customised to their personal needs and interests. What this research shows is the extent of the opportunity for advertisers to capture the imaginations of the elusive young adult generation as they go about their daily digital lives - from gaming and IM through to video and mobile. By tapping into the trends and mindsets of young adults, brands can engage this active audience and create a dialogue knowing they are highly likely to continue discussing the brand with their peers.”

The ’Young Adults Revealed’ Survey was conducted by Synovate in June / July 2008 and questioned respondents in Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UK, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the USA. The syndicated study is available to purchase. Please contact Julian Rolfe for further information.

About the survey

Young Adults Revealed was conducted by Synovate’s youth research group OnePointNine in conjunction with Microsoft, and the results are drawn from a sample of 12,603 respondents in 26 countries worldwide who have signed up to be part of Synovate’s online panel. Each country had at least 400 respondents, except for Turkey where there were at least 800 and China and the USA where there were at least 1,000 each. In every country, Synovate also consulted two experts (academics, journalists, sociologists or social commentators) on the age-group for their feedback, reaction and comment to add additional analysis and interpretation on the findings.

About Microsoft Advertising

Microsoft Advertising provides world-class advertising tools and solutions for digital advertisers and publishers to drive brand and consumer engagement. The portfolio includes all of our digital advertising businesses: our global media network that includes MSN, Windows Live, Office Live, XBOX, Live Search, Facebook and more, and our global technology platforms and tools that include Atlas, AdECN, adCenter, DRIVEpm, Massive and ScreenTonic, which together create engaging digital advertising experiences for their consumers. Microsoft Advertising helps make buying and selling media simple, smart and more cost-effective across media and devices in the Microsoft network of properties and beyond, which spans 42 markets globally and 21 languages. Click here for more information:

About Microsoft Corporation

Founded in 1975, Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft, Windows, Windows Live and Windows Mobile are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

About Synovate

Synovate, the market research arm of Aegis Group plc, generates consumer insights that drive competitive marketing solutions. The network provides clients with cohesive global support and a comprehensive suite of research solutions. Synovate employs over 6,000 staff across 62 countries.

For more information on Synovate visit


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