App Overload: The Friday Don’t Miss List

Your weekly round-up of the topics we’ve covered this week along with all the things that might not have made it in our posts the first time around, but that you should not miss…

1. Back to the Future
The Internet of Things (IoT) has infiltrated domestic homes, turning egg cartons into sensory items and allowing objects to communicate with each other. While smart objects at home aim to make life easier, don’t miss IoT integration in the workplace, where it’s not just about things, but about empowering people. Technology will increase productivity by providing assistance for routine tasks and allowing meetings to happen whenever, wherever, and however, an idea that aligns with Millennials’ idea of a flexible work-life balance. 66% of Millennials are also open to wearable devices in the workplace. Good thing, because by 2025, 1 trillion devices are estimated to be connected worldwide.
 
2. Superheroines Catching Fire
Strong female comic book characters and superheroines are at the forefront of Millennial media, and we let you know how fans are speaking up to put Wonder Woman, Black Widow, and Hit Girl in starring roles. Though production power ultimately falls to movie execs, fans pay tribute with their wallets, so don’t miss media chatter that The Hunger Games’ second installment Catching Fire may beat the first film at the box office by a longshot. The film celebrates Katniss, the lead, for her tenacity, and has also inspired a surge in interest for archery, her signature skill.
 
3. Drinks Drop the Beat
We let you know that luxury is being turned on its side in favor adventure and authenticity when it comes to the tastes of drinking age Millennials, so don’t miss AR Mixer, an app being developed to infuse augmented reality with alcohol to make every drink a hit. Users can…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“Most of the role models and leaders in my life have been Gen Xers so far."

–Male, 16, WI

Instagram has reached 700 million active users, and its growth has been speeding up. The app hit the new user mark just four months after reaching 600 million, and the introduction of Instagram stories in August may be a major contributor to its accelerated growth. The feature has a reported 200 million daily active users compared to Snapchat’s 161 million. Overall, Instagram now has twice the user base of Twitter and is quickly approaching the coveted 1 billion user mark that Facebook, WhatsApp, and Messenger have reached. (TechCrunch)

Millennials are using social media and YouTube to decide what to buy. A U.K. study found 32% of 18-24-year-olds are using social media to research their purchase decisions before checking out, and 25% are using video platforms like YouTube. There are also signs they’d like to search for products on social media: 25% of U.K. 18-24-year-olds reported the desire to search media based on their lifestyle and 23% would like search to understand their current mood. These findings, paired with the detailed targeting available to advertisers, are changing the consumer journey from search query to cart. (AdvertisingWeek)

Millennials are keeping 70% of their money in cash, reluctant to invest in anything, from stocks to their own retirement plans—according to new BlackRock research. Clearly impacted by the Great Recession, Millennials are most likely to agree, "What you might earn investing isn't worth the risk of losing your money," and a third say “they learned what not to do with their money” from watching their parents. They also tend to undervalue the potential returns of investments by millions of dollars, which is not good news for their futures—at their current rate, most Millennials will have less than $1 million saved for retirement. (TheStreet)

Influencer marketing is proving its worth. Though marketers have worried about determining ROI with the approach, one report is claiming it’s more effective than advertising alone, showing a direct lift in results rates of up to 30%. Across 450 influencers and 11 campaigns, the expansive research compared results from consumers exposed to ads featuring influencers versus control groups, overwhelmingly showing increased action when an influencer was involved. Good news for marketers, who spent $570 million on influencer marketing on Instagram alone last year. (Adweek)

The Amazon Echo can now help pick your outfit—and tell you when you don’t look good. LED lights and a depth-sensing camera will let the new Echo Look take pictures of any look, and “Style Check” software “combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists” to evaluate which outfit is best, and lets you compare pictures of multiple outfits, from multiple angles. Amazon’s already extensive product recommendations could feasibly be a part of this product’s future—and, if all goes well, a drone will ship the recommended new clothes to your door. (Quartz)

“I want to work for myself so that I can have more flexibility and be my own boss. I have an online business.”
—Female, 16, FL

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