WATERTOWN: Word-of-mouth and television advertising remain much more influential than social networks when it comes to shaping the purchase decisions of young consumers in the US, a survey by Pangea Media has found.

The company polled over 2,000 "teens and tweens" in order to establish which brands they considered to be "cool" across a number of categories, and also to understand which types of media impacted their buying habits.

Overall, 77% of this group argued they relied on their friends to find out about new brands, compared with 71% who said they learned about these goods in-store, and 51% who did so via TV ads.

With regard to discovering new products on the web, 26% of participants stated that search ads were the most common method by which to do so on this particular medium.

However, only 24% of respondents accorded the same status to the two social networks mentioned in the study: Facebook and MySpace.

When asked whether Facebook or MySpace had the "coolest" information about new brands, 46% of participants said "neither" did so, while 24% opted for the former of these two properties.

Moreover, 71% of those surveyed stated that they were not registered as "friend" or "fan" of any brands on either of the social media services.

In terms of their purchase behaviour, 85% typically chose a product from a particular manufacturer because they had seen it on television, while 57% said they did do so because they "liked it".

Converse was named as the most popular athletics brand by 57% of young consumers, a figure that fell to 27% for Nike, and 8% for Adidas and Puma.

YouTube was the preferred site for online video among 94% of contributors, while 74% regarded Google as the best search tool, compared with 21% for Yahoo.

In the soft drinks category, 58% of the sample favoured Coca-Cola to Pepsi, while McDonald's was the top fast-food brand, on 27%, followed by Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, both on 23%.

Data sourced from MediaPost; additional content by WARC staff