When browsing on Facebook, Twitter or any other popular social site it doesn’t take long to realize that most teenagers freely share personal information. A little too freely by many standards, but that’s another story. The fact that they are willing to post detailed information about what they enjoy doing with friends, where they had dinner, places they want to travel and just about every other detail of their life, it is getting easier for marketers to show very detailed advertisements just to them.
A report titled, “Teens, Social Media and Privacy” found that since 2006 the percentage of teenagers who post photos of themselves on a regular basis has shot up from 79% to 91%. Over 70% are also sharing details about their school, home towns and more. 20% even admitted to posting their phone numbers publically.
With all this information available online, much of it publically to anyone who knows where to look, it is getting easier and easier for marketers to specifically target these young users. While this type of intrusion on privacy may bother older users, the younger generation reported that only 9% of them are concerned about third-parties accessing their data.
As these teens grow up and move into the ‘real world’ the question is whether or not they will continue to post freely online or if they will start being a little more conservative in what they share. There is some indication that many people continue to share these details well into their twenties and possibly beyond.
As marketers continue to get better at quickly creating attractive advertisements which are extremely focused on a very specific audience they may be able to reap excellent results. The problem may be, however, that as these younger users realize that marketers are using their personal information to target them with advertisements they may stop sharing so freely.
With the generation of teenagers today being among the first to grow up using Facebook (or MySpace) and other social networks it will be interesting to see how it changes their attitudes about personal information. This information will be very valuable to marketers, and interesting to those studying the impact of social sharing on people.
Personally I found the report to be interesting, but not at all surprising. What about you? Are you using this type of information in your marketing campaigns? Is it something you’ll look into using down the road?
The full report can be found HERE if you’re interested in reviewing it.