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

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “Retail should be a facilitator for experience, rather than just selling product.”—Sharmandean Reid, Founder, Wah Nails London (YPulse)

Millennials seeking portable booze are cracking open canned wine. Even though the category still only accounts for less than 1% of the Millennial-favorite alcoholic beverages’ market, Nielsen reports it spiked 69% last year and continues to gain ground. An exec at Delicato Family Wines explains, “Millennials have grown up in a world where consuming wine outdoors—or any location outside of the traditional table—is more acceptable than generations past.” (Wine Spectator)

Summer camps are cropping up to teach kids how to become YouTubers. At I-D Tech Camps, Level Up, and Star Camps, kids can learn all about how to, as the latter puts it, “Become an Internet sensation.” They offer courses in how to create and post videos, from shooting clips to editing audio, and how to build their personal brand. But don’t worry, most are framing YouTubing as a hobby, not a career, and setting kids’ expectations accordingly. (WSJ)

A new bill could change the free-to-play profit model that’s made games like Fortnite top earners. Senators have proposed the official ban of “loot boxes,” or items that players can buy (and sometimes must buy) to win a video game, often gambling on what’s inside. Senator Ed Markey explains that “Inherently manipulative game features that take advantage of kids and turn play time into pay time should be out of bounds.” For some, this will eliminate a key revenue stream and open the door to review other in-game purchases.  (The Verge)

A social media overhaul upped Corn Nuts’ sales by 12%—with no paid support.The snack’s sales were stagnant before a new exec took over their Twitter, infusing it with the personable tone food brands have become known for (and sometimes notorious for). Since then, followers spiked from 650 to 21,000, and what they’re calling a “scrappy” strategy “absolutely translated to sales,” reporting that retail sales spiked 12% and Millennials’ repeat purchases rose the same percentage. (Marketing Dive)

The retail apocalypse continues, with 7,000 more stores closing their doors in 2019. CoStar Group estimates that the square footage of retail space closed has topped its own record each year since 2017, and this year they’re “predicting more of the same.” PayLess ShoeSource, Gymboree, Dressbarn, and Charlotte Russe lead the list of number stores planned to shutter this year, as retailers learn to scale down size and up Experiencification for young shoppers. (Business Insider

Quote of the Day: “It’s a really interesting time at the moment in catalog [music]…Sometimes, it’s a question of how we make something out of nothing.”—Tim Fraser-Harding, President, Global Catalogue, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group (Rolling Stone)

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