Social Media Tracked Trends: The Stats On Who’s Using What

We've seen rumors about teens abandoning Facebook, and social media upstarts dominating more established platforms. Figuring out just what to believe when it comes to young consumers and social media use isn't easy- that's why we ask them to tell us what they're doing and track social media trends throughout the year. Today we're spotlighting those tracked stats to share our insights.

Thanks to Ypulse’s bi-weekly survey of 1000 14-32-year-old Millennials nationwide, we are able to track data on the generation over time. The speed at which the social media landscape changes (especially over the last two years) has made keeping tabs on what platforms they’re using, and what’s growing in popularity, more important than ever. Today’s social media upstart is tomorrow’s go-to communication center for a generation that is used to quickly adopting and discarding media. Each quarter, we ask these young consumers which social media networks they use, adding new networks as we see them rise in popularity. Here is a tracked trend snapshot of social media use amoung 14-32-year-olds from January 2013 to today: 

Despite the widespread near-panic that young consumers were abandoning Facebook, we’ve seen the network dip slightly in popularity, but overall maintain its position as the number one network that they say they use—by far. Even when looking at only 14-17-year-olds, which we break out in our age-specific charts, Facebook remains the dominant social platform, though YouTube has this year become the number one platform teens use, with 89% telling us they use the video site compared to 80% who say they use Facebook: 

Meanwhile however, Vine, Snapchat, and Instagram have increased in popularity for all young consumers at a quick and steady pace, and skyrocketed in teen use, usurping Twitter and at times Instagram for 13-17-year-olds users. Millennials are hugely visual, and are drawn to things that allow them to display their creativity in a visual way. What these and other apps provide that they are currently not finding on Facebook is a focus on visual communication, which is key for the generation, as well as tools to make the visuals that they share into personalized mini works of art. The other big draw these apps have is a more exclusive circle of followers—there is a real attraction to spaces that they feel only their peers are using. 

But just asking Millennials to tell us what they have an account on is not getting the full picture. Many use some networks sporadically, and others open accounts but don’t ever spend any time on them. So we also ask them what accounts they post or comment on daily:

With daily use as a qualifier, we see a different landscape take shape. Facebook is by far the dominant network, with 62% of 14-32-year-olds overall currently using it daily. Instagram and Twitter are battling it out for second place. But daily use of Facebook for teens has dropped significantly to 34%, with Twitter at 38% and Snapchat at 36%. Of course age is not the only factor we see effecting social use, and we look at males versus females to get a pictures of which networks are being used by which gender. Here is the daily activity gender snapshot:

Here it becomes clear that while Instagram and Twitter might be competing for second place in daily use overall, among females Instagram is already the big winner. Use of the network among young females has risen nearly 10% since August of last year, and is far higher than male use. Females, not surprisingly, are the dominant users of most of the networks, save YouTube and, currently, Twitter. 

Digging into the data regularly gathered directly from young consumers gives us an evolving picture of their social media behavior, where Facebook likely rules thanks to its longer history, but smaller networks are scrambling to catch up in popularity, and are already winning the battle among some segments. Visual communication platforms continue to draw in more users, especially females, we'll likely see their popularity rise over the course of the next year as well.

 

Silver and Gold subscribers are given access to a growing collection of these tracked data trends, which highlight shifts in their demographics and behavior. Currently, our tracked data trends include:

  • Generational Demographics (Population, School Enrollment, Earnings, Parenthood)
  • Social Networks (Account Ownership, Network Daily Usage)
  • Media Usage (Consumption by Service, Consumption by Device, Consumption by Screen)
  • Spending (Average Daily Spend, Items Purchased)

Charts breaking out age and gender differences are also included in each category, and you can find all these constantly updated resources for you to explore in the Data Room of Ypulse.com. 

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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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