Social Ranking: How Millennials & Teens Really Feel About The Platforms They Use

This week we're counting down our five most popular articles of 2016 so far, and giving all our readers access to one each day. Here is the 3rd most clicked, originally published Jan 4, 2016.  Enjoy!

What do 13-33-year-olds really think of Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and the other sites they're spending the most time on?

Our most clicked article of 2015 was Millennials & Teens Sound Off: Their Top 10 Favorite Apps. It makes sense—brands are now understanding that if they want to reach young consumers, they need to tailor marketing for the media and entertainment they’re spending the most time consuming, and knowing which they love the most is a huge advantage. In that article, we reported that Instagram was at the top of their top ten favorite app list, beating out Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, and more.

But they’re using multiple platforms for multiple purposes, so in one of our most recent surveys of young consumers, we took our exploration of their social media preferences to a new level. Which social platform do Millennials and teens think is the most fun? The most boring? The most addictive? We got 1000 13-33-year-olds to sound off on the social media that they use, and got the real scoop on how they rank the apps and sites they're hooked on. 

We had young consumers look at a list of positive and negative descriptors, and asked them to choose the social media app that they felt is best described by each. The result is a snapshot of their range of feelings on these platforms. Here’s an overall look at which apps were most likely to be chosen for each descriptor, for 13-33-year-olds overall:  

Facebook's ubiquitousness for young consumers is clear here. They see the site as the most popular, addictive, authentic, boring, and annoying all at once. FB's wide range of functions are a factor: because so many things are done on the platform (photos, status, news sharing, etc.) it can play more than one role in users' lives, and evoke many different feelings. 

Arguably, YouTube performed the best in the positive attribute list, ranking the highest for the most descriptors, and not coming in the top three position for any of the negative list. Interestingly, Twitter has a bit of the opposite problem, coming up as the second most annoying and most mean platform overall, and not ranking in the top three for any of the positive attributes. In our social media use tracker, we have seen Twitter use plateau amongst young consumers, while visually-driven Instagram (which ranked as one of the most popular, addictive, and creative) has seen use steadily climb. 

Of course, we've talked before about the difference between older Millennial and teen social media users, and a look at the rankings according to age presents some interesting differences. Here is a comparison of the top picked app for each descriptor among 13-17-year-olds and 18-33-year-olds: 

For 13-17-year-olds, Facebook ranked as the most authentic platform, but did not rise to the top for any other positive descriptors. This indicates a weakness in Facebook's perception among its youngest users: it's not standing out from the crowd. These are consumers who are more accustomed to specialized social media, apps and sites that have taken just one Facebook's many features and made it a focus. The competition is possibly drowning out the originator. For teens, YouTube is clearly the most highly regarded site, coming up as the most addictive, creative, fun, and innovative. 

Facebook's difficulties with young users is also clear when we look at the age comparison for the negative descriptors: 

Here, Facebook is the most annoying and ties as most boring for teens. While Twitter takes those dubious honors among 18-33-year-olds. 

Those who read our first paragraph might be wondering why Instagram, which ranked as Millennials and teens' favorite app, is also the one they see as the most fake. We explored this dichotomy in our most recent Ypulse Quarterly: while young consumers have perfected the art of looking perfect on social, and the platforms have become an integral part of their lives, there is an awareness of the dangers of social media illusion. In addition, while they believe they personally are conveying their true selves on social media, they perceive others' posts as less authentic. 

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “I like following Jeffree Star on social media because he creates high-quality makeup while also being entertaining.”

—Female, 21, FL

Millennials are more likely to talk politics at work than their parents. A new study from Peakon has revealed that despite the highly-tense political climate, most Americans are actually comfortable discussing politics at work. Millennials are the most comfortable, with 68% stating they feel “no discomfort” talking about the topic, compared to 62% of 55-64-year-olds. According to Peakon, the internet has encouraged Millennials to “shar[e] their opinions everywhere—on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, etc.,” and their desire for a “more transparent” workplace is also likely driving the trend. (Elite Daily

Honest Company is taking their diapers to the Major Leagues. In a partnership with MLB, the company is launching a “Born a Fan” collection in Target that will offer personal care products, household cleaners, and diapers with logos from six teams: the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Giants, Cardinals, and Dodgers. The brand hopes to tap into “hardcore” baseball fans with the venture, but according to one expert, it may end up being more of a novelty: “It[’ll be] fun to do once in a while. But ultimately parents know diaper performance, and they buy the best.” (Adweek

Aspiring musicians have found a home—and a lot of money—on emerging live streaming spaces. Not only do live stream apps, like YouNow and Live.ly, give up-and-coming music acts the chance to build up large fan bases, but the addition of virtual tip jars has become a lucrative channel of revenue for some, even eliminating the need to do IRL performances or sell recordings. Brent Morgan, a 29-year-old musician, is finding his way into the industry by broadcasting twice a day on YouNow, where he’s making between $15,000-$20,000 a month. (The Wall Street Journal

Asian-Pacific kids would choose internet over TV if they had to pick. TotallyAwesome’s APAC Kids Market Insights report found that 77% of six-14-year-olds in the Asia-Pacific region would prefer to use the internet exclusively versus just TV—an 11% increase from the year before. In five out of the seven countries surveyed, children are more likely to have access to smartphones than TV, but both TV and smartphones are the most popular devices used daily, with 60% using them multiple times a day, versus 44% who use tablets daily. (Kidscreen

Virtual reality is getting a “first-of-its-kind” animated family series. Raising a Rukus, created by Virtual Reality Company, follows the story “of two siblings and their mischievous pet dog Ruckus, who are traveling to different worlds and have magical adventures together.” VRC describes the experience as “watching a Pixar short—except that you are immersed in it.” The series will be available through headsets and in theaters, first in Canada and then North America later this summer. (Variety

Quote of the Day: “My favorite brand to follow on social media is Urban Outfitters because not only do they post about items I am interested in, but I also get inspired by the artistic photos that they post.”—Female, 16, CA

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