A mere four percent of all Americans ages 15 to 25 thinks that a brand page on Facebook is a credible source of information about the product — indicating that such pages are no more credible to youngsters than advertising or than what a competitor would say about the brand. Does this finding from an InSites Consulting survey imply that most companies overinvest in their presence on social media?
"I don't think so", said Joeri Van den Bergh, Gen Y expert at InSites Consulting and author of How Cool Brands Stay Hot. "It is mainly a good indication of the fact that this Generation Y is very much aware of a company's marketing strategy. As youngsters attach a lot of importance to the opinion of their friends and of other users of a product or brand, companies should let those groups do the talking. When brands really use their social media socially by allowing feedback and conversations by regular consumers on their pages rather than by filling them themselves, that's when they really become decent and useful marketing instruments. It is the only medium that allows open dialogue at no great expense. However, many companies keep using their pages too commercially and hope that that's the way to get youngsters to think the brand is so cool that they will 'Like' anything which is posted on the page," said Van den Bergh. "But that's not how it's done. It's all about creating compelling content together; stuff that is worth sharing in conversations with your friends."
Twenty-two percent of U.S. youngsters indicate that what regular consumers write on online forums and blogs is credible, as is what they are told by their friends about a brand or product (14%) and the opinion of other brand users (20%). This is their top 3 of most reliable sources.
Youngsters think they are reliable and honest … yet they do sometimes pretend to be someone else
Almost 9 out of 10 U.S. youngsters (86%) claim they are honest and reliable. That is pretty much the case on a global scale, according to an InSites Consulting survey. The highest scores are in Romania (95%) and Brazil (94%), whereas Indian youngsters find themselves the least reliable and honest. Yet three quarters of Indian youngsters does think to be honest and reliable.
Apart from that, 1 out of every 4 American youngsters sometimes pretends to be someone else. This happens when they are with people who enjoy a higher social status (26%), when flirting (17%), or when with their in-laws (19%). About 25% does not shy away from occasionally being less honest with a teacher or boss. No less than 28% of the youth also confesses presenting themselves more positively than reality when looking for a new job. A remarkable US result is that about 1 out of 6 youth pretends to be someone else around their parents, and 1 out of 10 sometimes does so with their own partner.
But all in all, the honesty of our youth is not badly off. "That is also an aspect of the Millennial generation", said Van den Bergh. "Being loyal to yourself is their definition of authenticity. They expect that same honesty from the brands that they think are cool and that they buy. One out of every 3 U.S. youngsters thinks authenticity is one of the main brand characteristics."
These facts and figures are based on a global research organized by InSites Consulting amongst 4,065 respondents aged 15 to 25 (Generation Y) in 16 countries: the USA, Brazil, Russia, India, China, the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Romania, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium. The sample is representative for the Gen Y population of each country.