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

“I don't spend money, really on anything. I enjoy video games and will enjoy getting video games, but I receive as gifts from grandparents, parents”—Female, 14, IA

Airbnb is booming in Africa, where young travelers are “looking for culture rather than comfort.” Over two million people have used Airbnb in Africa to book vacation accommodations in the last five years, reportedly earning African hosts $139 million in just the past year. Wanderlusting Millennials are pushing themselves out of their comfort zones to discover new places, rather than retread old ground, and locales like Africa are getting a boost because of it. (Quartz)

Nielsen says they finally have a way to measure Netflix viewership—but Netflix says they’re way off base. Nielsen claims they can keep track of all viewing on the platform, including originals, “whether or not a studio or network wants them to.” Netflix claims, “The data that Nielsen is reporting is not accurate, not even close, and does not reflect the viewing of these shows on Netflix.” Ouch. Regardless, Nielsen’s move is a step in the right direction to measure what The Post-TV Genis watching, and has “direct implications for the ad business.” (MediaPostAdAgeFortune)

Influencers are using Instagram’s new polling feature, beating brands to the punch. Influencer network Blog Lovin’ found that 66% of their followers (many of which are influencers) had already used polling, while 87% plan to in the future. Polling is not only an opportunity to engage with customers but a way for brands to “[ask] for feedback about products, creat[e] engagement around topics that are in the media and [conduct] market research.” But brands have been slow to ask influencers to use the new story feature for promotions or to utilize the feature on their standalone accounts. (Glossy)

High school students are increasingly taking college courses—but little is known about whether it will benefit them. Thanks to dual-enrollment programs, which are expanding rapidly, students can get a head start on college credits, cutting down on the cost of higher education. Some also argue that Advanced Placement courses are more rigorous, and worthier of students’ extra effort. However, the impacts of programs on “a diverse set of students” is not yet known. (WSJ)

Kids have online influencers too, and they’re pushing branded toys to devoted viewers. Unboxing videos on YouTube are not a new phenomenon, but kid stars unboxing toys are getting brands’ attention as a way to leverage The Influencer Effect. MGA Entertainment, the world’s largest private toy company, pivoted 90% of their ad spend to digital in 2014 and report the strategy is paying off. Studies show children’s attention is switching from cable to YouTube, and influencers help brands reach a “much more engaged smaller audience” and give them “that potential for virality.” (Bloomberg)

"I love coffee and love the experience of having someone make me a nice latte. I like being around other people and hanging out in restaurants or cafes.”—Female, 20, PA

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