Studentawards teamed up with BigReach Learning to examine the relationship between youth, media and brands and look as their attitudes towards privacy and advertising.  When surveyed, 76% of young adults agreed they were concerned about online privacy in general, with 60% agreeing they were concerned about the use of non-personally identifiable information being used to target advertising. In-person interviews revealed that while they want to avoid spam, most youth accept the use of non-personally identifiable information by advertisers as commonplace. 18 to 24 year olds are receptive to seeing ads targeted to their interests and are more likely to notice ads that are relevant.

In total, 1,225 Canadians aged 18 to 24 and subsequently conducted 23 in-person interviews with the cohort.

“The in-person interviews challenged our assumptions about how this media-savvy group feel about advertising.” said Maura Hanley, President BigReach Learning Inc. “For example, we discovered that when youth mention they are concerned about online privacy, what they are really saying is that they are concerned about safety and reputation. If they trust the brand asking for their personal information, they will willingly share it, especially if there is some perceived benefit to them by doing so.”

Results from the survey also revealed a shift in priorities of young adults, for example, membership in religious groups (30%) is almost the same as membership in online special interest or hobby groups (29%). The same percentage of youth (30%) belong to an online multiplayer gaming community as belong to a school club. However, when asked about groups and communities, the first thing they want to talk about is their volunteer activities. 76% of 18 and 19 year olds and 58% of students over the age of 20 volunteer. Marketers must consider the level of engagement youth have with a community before making an investment.