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April 07, 2008

Weekly social data chart: Young girls

by Josh Bernoff

This is the second our series of weekly data charts taken from our research and from Groundswell.

Today we look at girls age 12 to 18, data taken from our Youth surveys. This was the age group that Procter & Gamble's beinggirl.com was trying to reach in marketing its feminine care products, as we describe in Chapter 6.

Groundswell figure 6-3

Believe it or not, this is not the most socially active group we've ever looked at. In fact, they're less active on several measures than college students. And as you can see from the chart, girls show up slightly less active than boys.

But still, when you have an audience in which 55% are Spectators consuming social content and only 34% are Inactives, you know that social applications will be effective in reaching them. (Here's an explanation of the terms in the Social Technographics Profile.)

But that's just one side of why P&G decided to reach out with a social network. The other is that this group is resistant to traditional media, especially advertising for feminine care products. Sometimes a social application is nearly the only way to reach a group.

A few other observations about young girls. They have more Creators than Critics, which I've never seen in any other profile. This is a uniquely creative group. Any site that's aimed at them needs to provide an outlet for that creativity, which beinggirl.com does. The site is aimed at encouraging young girls to talk about their problems and help each other out. That works. The branding is extremely subtle, but effective. That works, too.

And at 48% Joiners, this group is all over social networks. Ordinarily, this would mean a company could reach out to them in the networks they frequent, like Facebook and Piczo. But "targeting" this group is fraught with negative connotations. Which is one reason why P&G created a space where they could control things and moderate participation, keeping an eye out for inappropriate behavior. That's expensive.

But in P&G's case, they told us it was four times as effective per dollar spent as traditional advertising. Which is why they've not only made beinggirl.com a success, they've expanded it to 21 different countries.


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Malcolm Kass

"The other is that this group is resistant to traditional media."

The "resistance" you talk about is scientifically called "psychological reactance". And Social apps certainly are not the only way to get around it. Product placements in movies have been used to get around this for years. Its pricey, but quite effective. Not to mention that I think young girls tend to watch movies as well, so the reach is there.

Social Marketing Journal

We can see how college students are far more social online than this age group as this age group's online usage tends to be a bit more restricted. Interesting data noneteless!

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