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Texting is best medium for advertisers to reach teens: Study

Teens texting

Mobile messaging options are proliferating

Texting is the best medium for advertisers to reach teens and young adults, according to ChaCha.

The company polled about 1,500 teens and young adults on their favorite way to communicate. Sixty-eight percent responded that they prefer SMS, as opposed to 10 percent who chose mobile calls, 9 percent who opted for Facebook, 3 percent selected instant messaging and 0.3 percent liked email.

“We saw that teens and young adults spend more time texting on their mobile devices as a primary means to communicate than any other media – including social media such as Facebook, IM and email,” said Cat Enagonio, vice president of marketing and client care at ChaCha, Indianpolis. “They would rather give up TV or their computers before giving up their mobile devices.

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“What’s surprising is the reliance on time spent with mobile texting versus any other way to communicate including phone calls and even face-to-face conversations,” she said.

ChaCha is a free mobile answers service that let users call 1-800-2-ChaCha or text questions to ChaCha at the short code 242242.

Texting overload
The ChaCha findings matched a recent study that Pew conducted, research showing that texting has become the preferred channel of basic communication between teens and their friends.

According to Pew, 75 percent of kids 12-17 have a mobile device – up from 45 percent in 2004.

Additionally, the study showed that half of teens send 50 or more text messages a day, or 1,500 texts per month. One in three send more than 100 texts per day, or more than 3,000 texts per month.

“Teens are very hard to reach with ad messages since they tend to multitask and pay only a little bit of attention to lots of media,” Ms. Enagonio said. “SMS text advertising does a better job of grabbing their attention than any other kind of advertising.

“They seem to like the intimacy of the exchange that happens when they respond to texts from marketers and act on the call-to-action at a much higher rate than other forms of advertising,” she said.

Texting poll
ChaCha also surveyed teens and young adults on whether they would rather have TV or just their handsets. Sixty-one percent of participants said that they would prefer to have their mobile device.

About 18 percent chose their computer, 11 percent opted the radio and 11 percent selected television.

In addition, the company asked what the teens would buy if someone gave them $500.

A majority of participants chose clothes, but 14 percent chose a mobile phone.

“Texting will continue to grow among teens and is now taking off with adults,” Ms. Enagonio said. “I know that I communicate with my kids more via texting than on the phone or email.

“They prefer it and it can happen at their convenience,” she said. “Marketers go where their customer go. They have come online in a big way and will step up their ad budgets for both mobile display and SMS text advertising as the world continues to carry their most important communications media in their pocket or purse.”

Associate Editor Rimma Kats covers media, television, research and social networks. Reach her at rimma@mobilemarketer.com.

Related content: Research, ChaCha, teens, Cat Enagonio, messaging, mobile marketing, mobile

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Comments on "Texting is best medium for advertisers to reach teens: Study"

  1. Aaron Gray says:

    October 24, 2011 at 11:16am

    Too bad the ChaCha statistics are practically useless due to selection bias. They polled a group of people who use texting to get answers. The sample was not representative of the population - it was a selected group of people rather than a random sample of the population. In this particular case, it is likely that these people use texting more often than the average person in the population, because they using a texting service. ChaCha, a company whose entire purpose is giving people answers to their questions, should know better than to make such an elementary statistical mistake. :-( Thanks anyway for the article, but its too bad that the statistics are biased.
  2. Fred Myers says:

    June 6, 2011 at 2:45pm

    I know that texting is the way that my teens connect. I am able to say things as a father through texting that I cannot say in person. They seem to prefer that medium. There seems to be more than one way to reach teens. Along with targeted email marketing, text messaging seems to be at the top of the list.
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