Plugged-in: study finds Irish, ages 13-19, are teenagers…as in typical teenagers, living much of their lives on-line. A recent study of the media habits of Irish teens show them communicating with friends by text messaging (56 percent) and by Facebook (38 percent) and with their parents by shrugs, scowls, eye-rolls and monosyllabic grunts (87 percent--not part of the study, pure conjecture on my part).

The Irish Digital Teen Survey was undertaken in November by Mulley Communications Ltd., an online marketing and PR consultancy based in Cork and Dublin that actively studies Irish digital space. You can download a pdf of the just released Irish Digital Teen Survey, but here are some highlights of their look at Irish teen media interaction:
· 14% have a part-time job
· 28% spend their money on socializing, 27% on phone credit
· Gig tickets and music is what teens buy most online
· Most teens use their parents credit card or laser to buy online
· Phone is the most treasured item of teens
· Teens are not downloading all their music for free
· Most music recommendations come via friends
· Nearly half of teens use the online TV players from media organizations with 40% streaming TV and over one-third watching via playback services
· 44% of teens are on Meteor (Irish cellphone/mobile digital provider)
· Nokia are the most popular phones, the iPhone is the most desired
· 74% access the Internet on their mobiles per month
· Communicating with friends: 56% via text message, 38% via Facebook, phone call 28%, email 27%

Mulley released another study this past summer on Irish Facebook usage after working with the Centre for Research and Innovation in Learning and Teaching at National College of Ireland on an eye-tracking test to see what Irish people pay attention to when using Facebook. The survey was made possible through an Innovation Voucher from Enterprise Ireland.

In the sophisticated remote eye-tracking technology used to analyze the users’ gaze behavior, two infra-red cameras located next to the computer screen scanned the user’s eye movements. After a short calibration phase the software determines the exact gaze position. The gaze position can then be matched against content on the screen.

Here’s what their eye-tracking study revealed of the way people look at Facebook newswall and profile pages:

And here are some of their Facebook study’s findings:
· 71% of users looked at adverts on their Profile pages, 31% of users looked at adverts on the News Feed page (homepage).
· Users pay more attention (53% vs. 31%) to page updates in their News Feed Wall rather than adverts to the right-hand side of the Wall.
· 30 out of the 40 users log on to Facebook once a day or more.
· The average number of pages these users are fans of is 28 pages.
· Games were mentioned as a popular Facebook activity in pre-test questionnaire. When questioned directly if they play any games on Facebook, only 11 out of 40 indicated that they do, the most popular game is Farmville.
· Just over half of these users currently share videos via Facebook. Younger rather than older users are more likely to share videos. Posting a URL link to their own status update in Facebook or commenting on a friend’s status was their preferred way to share video.

Mulley’s takeaway from this study?
· Advertising works in Facebook. And with the in-built demographic ad targeting, your ads willl get clicked even more.
· Get yourself a FREE Facebook Page if you are a business. Sending out updates to your customers via your Page gets noticed by your customers and you can build a fan base from there as your updates and offers will get looked at.

Damien Mulley is also an organizer of the Irish Blog Awards: the 2011 event takes place on March 19th in Europa Hotel, Belfast.