TEENS: A Framework for Understanding Adolescent Online Social Behaviors on myYearbook, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter

Open Access
Sobel, Kate
Area of Honors:
Information Sciences and Technology
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Jim Jansen, Thesis Supervisor
  • Xiaolong Zhang, Honors Advisor
  • Social Media
  • teenager behavior
  • online segmenting
Social media is becoming a staple in the marketing mix, along side print, radio, television, and online mediums. One of the major demographic groups marketers are interested in is teenagers – which are heavy users of social media services such as Facebook, MySpace, and others social media sites. Teens tend to be a trend setting group when it comes to technology usage. In this paper, we present the TEENS model as a way to segment teenagers based on their attitudes towards and behaviors with social media services from an ecommerce perspective. This research is a cross-platform descriptive and inferential analysis of teenager’s behaviors on four social networking sites: myYearbook, MySpace, Twitter and Facebook. We investigate three major factors: their level of engagement with the social media sites, their engagement with companies on social media sites, and their engagement with ecommerce on social media sites. We then use clustering analysis techniques to find groups of teenagers with distinct behaviors based on these three areas of interest. We found that teenager behaviors on social networking sites are very complex but that the TEENS model can help define some of these teens’ interactions of interest in the marketing area. Specifically, a large majority of teenagers who are on social media sites have multiple accounts. In fact, only 10% of social media site users are considered to be “low engagers”. Just over 40% of teenagers are willing or have used social media sites in some form of ecommerce, and almost 30% are engaged with a company via social media. Teenagers consider social media sites as personal spaces, and marketers must treat them as such. Through our research, companies can segment teenagers to better utilize social networking sites. Findings indicate that companies can create relationships and target specific groups of teenagers to get their message across in the best and most efficient way possible. We also found that there are distinct differences between social media sites, which imply that companies will have to change their marketing techniques according to which social media site they are targeting. Overall, teenagers are a complex demographic that needs much attention in order to better understand their behaviors and attitudes towards online advertising and company relations.