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 playing and talking about [Animal Crossing] with other people. It's nostalgic for me since I've been playing games from the series from a young age.”—Female, 22, PA

Which brands had the most YouTube subscribers in 2018? In media, Warner Bros. topped the list with 6.4 million subscribers, followed by BBC and ESPN. Apple beat out last year’s winner for tech PlayStation, while Red Bull and Ford remained the reigning champs of food and beverage and automotive, respectively. Finally, Nike was first place in the clothing category for the second year running, with 30,000 more subscribers than their closest competitor, Adidas. (Tubefilter)

A “Little League for esports” is fostering future esports stars—and fans for life. Super League Gaming is bringing some much-needed organization to youth competitive gaming, building teams of young Minecraft, League of Legends, and Clash Royal players, helping them train and compete. But the program isn’t just for the next Ninja; just like traditional sports, kids get a sense of community among like-minded friends. (AP News)

Nielsen reports that Millennials actually consume less media than older demos, but more of it is digital. While the average adult consumes over ten hours of content a day, 18-34-year-olds spend less than eight hours with media. And the heaviest smartphone users are 35-49-year-olds, who spend 20 minutes more each day on average with their phones than Millennials. However, the younger demo does spend 44% of their media time with digital devices, more than older demos that spend more time with TV as they age up. (THR)

Vitaminwater is wagering $100,000 that you can’t give up your smartphone for a year. Contestants have to disconnect from internet-enabled devices where “texting is a pleasant experience” for 365 days and post a pic to Twitter or Instagram explaining why they need the digital detox. And when the year’s up, they have to prove it. Considering that 65% of 13-36-year-olds told Ypulse they would be unable to unplug from their smartphones for a week, earning that $100,000 may be harder than they know. (Fortune)

Hard seltzer revenue skyrocketed over 400% over the past 18 months. White Claw leads the way for the category with top-of-the-results organic search (they’re the number one Google result for “hard seltzer”) and a social media presence that focuses on health and wellness-related imagery. Sparkling water is already one of Millennials’ favorite things to drink, and its hard version could rise through the ranks of their top alcoholic beverages. (Gartner)

Quote of the Day: “People call [video game culture] nerdy but I see nerdy as a positive connotation.”—Female, 28, MA

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