BERLIN: Brands hoping to connect with social network users in Germany can employ traditional media like television alongside the web to engage this audience, according to a new study.

TNS Infratest, the research firm, assessed members of the country's online population who regularly utilised portals like Facebook, Studivz and Xing in order to gauge their shared attitudes and values.

It reported that 42% of the 14–49 year old demographic, or 16.6 million people, had signed up to at least one social network, with men making a up a slight majority of visitors to these sites.

More specifically, 58% of individuals in the 14–29 year old age range were registered with a social network, a figure that fell to 25% for 30–39 year olds and 17% for 40–49 year olds.

With regard to brands, TNS suggested that this group was much more likely to try new products and services, and also to discuss their views on the web.

Elsewhere, this segment tended to be "dynamic" and quick to respond to change, more than usually creative, experience-orientated and to place a higher than average value on friendship.

However, while shoppers fitting this profile constitute a valuable target for brand communications, marketers were advised to ensure they adopted bespoke models rather than adapting strategies from other channels.

This even applied to offline advertising, as consumers who belonged to social networks were typically found to favour content ranging from comedy series, reality TV shows and soap operas to medical dramas.

"Social networkers also like those TV programmes that provide a direct link to blogs or forums, which can be discussed to accompany the broadcasts online," said Andre Petras, of TNS.

Data sourced from TNS Infratest; additional content by Warc staff