Special Report: Inside Millennials’ Mobile Social World

We tracked the mobile activity of 18-25-year-olds to find out exactly what they’re doing on their phones, what platforms they’re spending their time on, for how long, and more…

It should come as no surprise that 63% of Millennials tell us they can’t live without their phones—and 43% agree that they’re addicted to social media. (Those are just the ones willing to admit it.) According to mobile device company B2X, Millennials around the world look at their phones three times more than Boomers on average. But actually understanding what they’re actually doing on their devices is another story. We track their social media use and mobile media consumption, survey them on their mobile and social behavior—but we wanted to get even closer. Last month, we asked a group of 18-25-year-olds to give us access to their smartphones, allowing us to track the apps they’re using and get a real look at their mobile social behavior. With that rich data, we’ve created a Special Report* that gives an in-depth look at Millennials’ social media behaviors—what they’re really using, when, for how long, and more.

*This full Special Report is available to Gold subscribers to download here! They can also access an interactive digital version of these findings to instantly look at the groups and platforms they’re most interested in, all with a few clicks. 

Not a Gold subscriber? Contact us to find out how to access this content. 

Here’s a glimpse at what we discovered: 

We know that young consumers are on their phones all the time, but how much of that time is spent on social media platforms versus other apps and content? It’s a question we’re asked all the time—and now we know. Almost half of 18-25-year-olds’ time on their phones was spent on social apps and sites. We should note that using social apps was…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I honestly wouldn't like to communicate with brands, unless it is to solve problems their brand is causing.”—Female, 27, MI

Why don’t people seem to care as much about fake followers on Instagram as on other platforms? Because while Facebook and Twitter are bashed for feeds full of fake news, no one holds Instagram to the same standard. The image-centric platform is inherently “a hyperreality,” where no one’s candid shot is truly spontaneous, and photo-shop freely fills feeds. Where does it get tricky? With Influencers, who are expected to garner true engagements for brands. (Real Life)

Influencer marketing faced another tricky situation this week when PopSugar replaced influencers’ affiliate links with their own. RewardStyle and its Instagram product LikeToKnow.it’s network of content creators’ photos and sometimes entire feeds “were copied to the site via “thousands of ‘falsified vanity pages’ containing millions of images belonging to the network’s content creators.” The group is planning on seeking a class-action lawsuit on their intellectual property and for the lost revenue that PopSugar made each time a customer clicked to purchase. (Racked)

Colleges are giving out more merit-based aid to win over top students. Tuition discount rates have risen to a record 49.1% for first-time, full-time freshman attending private universities, up over 10% from ten years prior—according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers. By using data-driven analysis to calculate just how much aid is likely to lure a top student in, colleges are seeing success upping their prestige. However, the practice has also “created a closing of the doors for low-income students,” according to one policy analyst. (WSJ)

Apple is betting that young consumers could bring back magazines via a magazine subscription service. The tech company took a gamble by buying Texture, a subscription service for over 200 titles that’s been dubbed the “Netflix of Magazine Publishing.” The app aggregates articles into a single browsing experience, rather than being separated by title, and pays the included publications. Apple has announced plans to integrate the service into their Apple News app, the latest incarnation of their less-than-successful Newsstand app. (Bloomberg)

Function of Beauty is customizing hair care, blending up shampoo and conditioner for each customer based off a five-question quiz. Beauty companies big and small have hopped on the Customization Nation trend, and Function of Beauty takes that to the next level with their hyper-personalized hair care set. They're customizing everything from the fragrance to the chemical components, and even going so far as to print the purchaser’s name on each product. The founder explains, "Every single person is unique and different...why negate that instead of catering to it?" (Paper)

“[Allison Raskin] is open about her struggles with mental health, and she is also funny.”—Female, 19, CA

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