People between the ages of 18 and 34 are more likely to be influenced to make a purchase based on email marketing messages and direct mail than messages on social networking sites, according to a new study.

Carried out by online marketing solutions firm ExactTarget, the poll also found college students are very "spam savvy" and believe communication channels they deem to be "private" such as social networking sites and SMS are off-limits to marketers.

In addition, teens were found to be the group which used social networking more than any other, but were also more likely to make a purchase from direct mail, with email, SMS and social networking sites following behind.

Mike Bloxham, director of insight and research at Ball State University’s Centre for Media Design, comments on the findings.

"It is too easy to assume that the media consumers choose for their own news, information and entertainment are, by default, the best media to use for marketing messages," he states.

Meanwhile, in an interview with the Times, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, states the social networking site is currently experimenting with "engagement ads" which encourage users to comment and share to raise brand awareness.

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