Social Media study on digital natives released by Volkswagen and MTV

The new international study “MePublic – A Global Study on Social Media Youth” by Volkswagen and MTV Networks presents some interesting insight into media use and value ethics in the group of 14-to 29-year-olds (digital natives). No surprise that they will respond to one of the findings: Young people want to see networking apps extend to the car… and Volkswagen already works on that app.

“With just under 500,000 fans on Facebook and over ten million visitors on YouTube since the company profile was set up at the end of 2008, Volkswagen already has one of the largest fan communities in the automotive industry. And together with our fans we are breaking new ground in the social web – as confirmed by the recent “App my Ride” competition where we gave prizes to the best developments for applications in car infotainment systems.” Luca de Meo, Group Marketing Head, Volkswagen AG.

The findings show the intensive use of new media and their commitment to brands by digital natives…
– 58% spend time on social networks on a daily basis
– 50% follow product recommendations in social networks
– 43% post their favorite brands on the social web

And the digital natives are well equipped to have best possible access to the new media.
– 94% have a mobile phone
– 92% have a TV set
– 75% an MP3 player

Obviously, there a country-specific differences as the “MePublic” the study lays open. In Japan 40% of the young people primarily use mobile access to their social network which already can be compared with some outlook on the mobile future. 57% of US digital natives use online sources prior to buying a car. In Japan it is only 38% as the young people tend to seek advice direct from the dealer.

The study “MePublic” states six user types based on criteria such as frequency of use, motivation and goal. Amongst those the characters for a “pro-social” world are i.e…
– Mediacs: most active and demanding, technically literate, strongly committed, always looking for something new
– Crewsers: social networks = place to meet up with friends
– Funatics: spectators = like to observe, but are not very active themselves

Spot On!
Generally speaking, the study shows that social networks have been added to digital natives perception of mobility. They want to be available when the are driving. When 60% of the 14-to 29-year-olds are convinced that the significance of mobile social networks will increase over the coming years, it speaks a clear language. If you fear the digital natives are “tweeting and driving”, Volkswagen takes the fear of you: “The driver’s safety remains the top priority.” This nice PR message comes along with the ambitious word about their next iPhone app called “Dieter App”. “The planned application assumes the role of the co-pilot and loyal companion and is in line with the wish for a personalized vehicle expressed by the young people”.

Is this a new approach to humanize a brand perception? Installation of apps that appear like human charaters? What do you think about the study findings?