As part of its emergence as the single best medium for advertisers to reach the teen market, ChaCha, the popular free service that has delivered quick, accurate answers to over a half a billion questions, periodically polls its users to see what's on their minds.
In the past week, using its SMS text-messaging service, ChaCha asked nearly 1500 teen and young adult users: "What's your favorite way to communicate?" Their answers:
Mobile Text 67.53%
Mobile Call/Voice 9.22%
Instant Message 2.88%
*The highest percentage answer for "other" for this question was "in person."
This data aligns closely with a recent Pew Internet study focusing on teens and their use of mobile phones, which shows that mobile phone texting has become the preferred channel of basic communication between teens and their friends, with mobile phone calling a close second. According to Pew Research Center, some 75% of 12-17 year olds now own mobile phones, up from 45% in 2004. Those phones have become indispensable tools in teen communication patterns. Fully 72% of all teens -- or 88% of teen mobile phone users -- are text-messagers. That is a sharp rise from the 51% of teens who were texters in 2006. More than half of teens (54%) are daily texters.
The Yankee Group finds that last year Americans began to spend less time with media. Activities decreased almost across the board, with reading, music and radio, and TV and video dropping most dramatically. The only increase in time spent was with mobile phones. Talk time on mobile was up 12%, while average daily mobile web use rose 36% to 11 minutes. Texting was also up, by 55%, to take up 27 minutes a day in 2009. Time spent texting is now higher than calls or mobile internet use.
But surely many believe that teens would rather have TV than their mobile phones. This is not necessarily the case, per ChaCha. When users were asked, "If any of these items were taken away, what would you miss the most?", here is how they answered:
Mobile Phone 60.69%
ChaCha also asked what teens were thinking about buying if someone laid $500 on them. They responded:
Mobile Phone 14.17%
iPod/MP3 Player 13.77%
Video Games 13.70%
"Teens rely on their mobile devices as their primary medium, and they ask ChaCha over a million questions each day providing insights on their brand attitudes and actions," says Scott Jones, CEO of ChaCha. "An in-depth analysis of the data in ChaCha's massive answer database can provide actionable insights into the consumers 'preferences' on a national or local level. For example, traffic patterns can be analyzed to determine the impact of a particular ad campaign, ascertain the popularity of different TV shows among the youth segment, and even to determine regional interest levels for a particular product."
At Ad Week's What Teens Want show in New York, for the first time, ChaCha will also provide a forum, where brand advertisers and agencies may submit questions they would like to ask ChaCha's teen users. ChaCha will select a sampling of questions from attendees, submit them to users overnight, and report the results live on the following morning at the show.
"This is a fun, unique opportunity for agencies and advertisers to connect real-time ChaCha users! We look forward to working with them closely and providing a new vehicle for understanding what is on the minds of teens today," added Mr. Jones.
ChaCha (www.chacha.com) has emerged as the No 1 way for marketers to engage teens and young adults. Through its unique "smart friend" platform, ChaCha has answered over 500 million questions since launch from over 15 million unique users per month via SMS text (242-242™), online (http://www.chacha.com), Twitter (@chacha), Facebook app, iPhone app, Android app, and voice (1-800-2-ChaCha™). Working with major brands such as Paramount, AT&T, Palm, Johnson&Johnson, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and presidential political campaigns, ChaCha.com is one of the fastest-growing mobile and online publishers according to Nielsen and Quantcast.
ChaCha was founded by proven innovator and entrepreneur, Scott Jones, and is funded by Bezos Expeditions; Morton Meyerson, former President and Vice Chairman of EDS as well as Chairman and CEO of Perot Systems; Rod Canion, founding CEO of Compaq Computer; the Simon family; and Jack Gill, Silicon Valley venture capitalist.