Ypulse Essentials: A Hunger Games Game, Google+ Is Still Growing, Millennial Women Want & Give Shopping Advice

Hunger GamesGet ready for Hunger Games the, uh, game… (Lionsgate is teaming up with Funtactix to build a social game that takes place in the world of Panem. Debuting the same day as the movie, it will give us the first official map of the futuristic country, which plenty of fans have been trying to divine on their own. In other games news, an Angry Birds K’nex building set — complete with favorite characters and buildable launchers — seems like a brilliant product extension) (Examiner) (Google) (Kidscreen)

- The Super Bowl isn’t just the ultimate sporting event, it’s the ultimate advertising (competition! This year, Google’s businesses are helping us experience it to the max with a YouTube channel created just for the occasion called Ad Blitz 2012 — blitz! get it? — and a Google+ hangout the following day to discuss all this hits and misses. Speaking of Google+, the site has reportedly just hit 100 million users) (Pocket Lint) (Mashable)

- Millennial women are social shoppers (broadcasting their opinions to help friends, family, and perfect strangers make smarter purchase decisions. They also take others’ advice, buying items they’ve heard about via social media and asking their social media friends about what to buy) (eMarketer)

- While the TV industry is struggling with young viewers, some cable companies get Millennials (and what matters to them — justice, authenticity, and connection & community — and focus network decisions based on those principles. Speaking of making moves that would excite a Millennial audience, Viacom might be willing to unbundle its cable channels, including MTV, for a la carte consumption. Such a move might stem the tide of cord cutting among Millennials who don’t see a value in paying a huge cable bill when they don’t watch most of the channels)…

 
 

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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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