5 Stats On Millennials, Teens & Social Media

Do you know what young consumers want out of social platforms right now, how social media is integrated into their day, or how it makes them feel? Here are five fresh stats on Millennials, teens, and social media...

How can the importance of social media in Millennials and teens’ lives be stated? When we survey 13-33-year-olds for our quarterly Social Media Tracker, only 2% say they don’t use any social platform. Millennials reportedly spend 11 hours and 26 minutes with smartphones daily, and Ypulse’s research shows that messaging and social networking are the two activities they are doing the most on mobile during that significant amount of their days. Teens are even more likely than older Millennials to use their phones for social networking. According to our recent monthly survey delving into social media behavior, four in ten 13-33-year-old admit they are addicted to social media.

So we don’t need to tell brands it’s important to understand the role that social media plays in young consumers’ lives—but we can keep you constantly up to date on its impacts and implications. Here are five new stats on Millennials and teens social media behavior and preferences right now:

1. Half of 13-33-year-olds say getting likes on social media gives them a rush.

There’s a reason so many feel addicted. Young consumers are often criticized for their compulsive social media use and over-sharing, but that social use can make them feel really good. Social sharing actually releases a higher dose of “feel-good hormone” oxytocin than in-person interactions—and 51% of 13-33-year-olds say getting likes gives them a rush. A lot of attention is paid to the negative side of social media, but when we surveyed Millennials and teens, 46% of 13-17-year-olds, and 45% of 18-33-year-olds also said that social media makes them feel better about themselves, versus 21% of 13-17-year-olds and 31% of 18-33-year-olds who say it makes them feel bad about themselves.

2. The majority of young consumers use social media when they’re watching TV.           

The use of a second screen while consuming entertainment media is pervasive—the majority of 13-33-year-olds say they use social media when they’re watching TV. But that might not be a bad thing for brands. Though advertisers often view mobile devices as a distraction from traditional marketing, it turns out that viewers who tweet while watching TV are more likely to recall ads. Twitter partnered with social analytics company Canvs (who we recently spoke to about fandom), and found that 62% of users who follow conversations on Twitter about a show they watch are more likely to recall ads, and 61% who used emotional language within their show-related tweets said they would purchase from brands that are advertised. It’s worth noting that 86% of young females are using social during TV time, versus 73% of males.

3. Over three in ten teens start using a social network less once their parents join. 

35% of 13-17-year-olds say they start using a social network less once their parents join. Of course, teens throughout generations have wanted to have safe spaces away from their parents, and generally prioritize time with peers over time with family—but this generation of teens has another layer of reasons that they might want to use different platforms from their parents. A recent study showed children 10-17-years-old “were really concerned” about what their parents posted about them on social media. They were also nearly three times more likely than parents to feel that there should be rules in place about what can be shared. This is the first generation to have their childhood digitally documented—from first sonogram on—and those postings can come back to haunt them. No wonder they’re less interested in platforms once mom and dad join them, they’re eager to avoid embarrassment. In fact, one of Snapchat’s original goals was to make a platform that "confuses the olds" to keep teens “safe” from parents.

4. Eight in ten young consumers would rather use a social network that only allows close friends to see their posts.

When we asked Millennials to chose between the two, 79% said they would rather use a social network that only allows their close friends to see their posts than a social network that allows anyone to see their posts. We’ve been keeping tabs on the increasing allure of privacy in social media for young consumers, and it hasn’t slowed signs of slowing down. Chat apps and platforms that encourage more one-on-one interactions (like Snapchat) have steadily grown more popular. Even on those platforms originally built for mass broadcasting, young consumers are finding ways to keep their real talk private. Fusion recently reported that cool Millennials are still on Facebook—you just can’t see them. Ever since the site introduced the option to make groups closed or secret on the site, young users have been building private communities that don’t show up in search, and members need permission to join. Recent research on 14-17-year-olds found that they prefer communication on messaging apps that “don’t leave a paper trail,” and choose to share their lives on more personalized social media networks—choosing Snapchat over a more public Facebook or Twitter platform.

5. Four in ten Millennials and teens have posted about a brand on social media.

While young consumers can be sensitive at times about how brands invade their social media spaces, the majority tell us that they have friended or followed a brand on social media, and we know their favorites to follow. But perhaps even more importantly, 38% of 13-33-year-olds say they have posted about a brand on social media. Since they are more likely to listen to their peers’ opinions on brands than any other source, this social sharing is vital. When we ask what they’ve posted about brands, 54% say a positive message about an experience. That’s compared to 22% who have shared a negative message about an experience. They’re also posting about brands when sharing their purchases: 55% something they bought. But they’re more likely to post their plates than their shopping bags: 33% have posted a photo of food they were eating, versus 22% who have shared a photo of what they were wearing.         

Gold subscribers can download the full Topline Report and survey data on social media behavior here

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “[It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is] my favorite satirical/dark comedy for the past 12 seasons and it hasn't dipped in quality since.”—Male, 21, NY

Nike’s new store puts mobile use at the center of the experience. Using geo-fencing, Nike knows when a customer walks into their 68,000 square foot space and changes the app accordingly. Users can see tailored content and offers, book styling appointments on-site, scan mannequins to have product delivered to their dressing room, and more. Based on the success of similar stores in L.A. and Shanghai, Nike execs hope their new flagship will build up Nike’s Brandom, and drive app downloads in the process. (Ad Age)

Jell-O is rolling out edible slime kits. Their Unicorn and Monster kits cash in on the slime trend, which has been booming in the anxiety economy for at least three years. Elmer’s, Cra-Z-Art, and Nickelodeon were all quick to tap the trend for marketing and products while Jell-O is a little late to the party. But considering that 82% of teens told Ypulse last year that they’ve participated in at least one trending activity to relax, there might still be time to capitalize. (Vox)

BuzzFeed is getting into the retail game, with plans to open family-focused stores across the country, starting in NYC. The brick-and-mortar venture, called Camp, will sell toys and apparel to Millennial parents and their kids, and the first is scheduled to open in time to capture some holiday spending. The concept is copying Story by changing up products and experiences every eight to 12 weeks, because, “we want to deliver adventure every time they come to the store.” (Ad Age)

Pharma companies are using influencers for social media marketing. Wego is a platform that connects patients with social media followings to pharmaceutical companies for marketing activations, like posts about drugs and devices. One company at least has seen success using the approach: Sunovian's earned media impressions surged from fewer than 100,000 to more than 13.2 million after working with Wego. The biggest caveats to that cashflow could be abiding by FDA regulations and contending with “a myriad of ethical issues." (STAT)

Eighty-five percent of Millennials have purchased a product after viewing a branded videoThat’s nearly 10% higher than the adult average for the U.S, U.K., and Australia, according to Brightcove. In addition, 56% ranked videos as more engaging than any other marketing materials and 46% said its their favorite form of brand communication. They're also seeking Shoppable content: 30% said they're interested in videos containing purchase links. (Marketing Charts)

Quote of the Day: “Black-ish is my favorite show on air because it's informative, funny, relatable, and political…I know that I'll be entertained and maybe even learn something new or think critically about certain issues.”—Female, 22, PA

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies