Yes, alright, that headline is about as far from breaking news as you can get in 2014, if you’ve been paying even an iota of attention to youth trends in recent times.
But it’s always worth exploring what teenagers and “Millennials” (an ever-expanding demographic that seemingly now refers to anyone aged between 18 and 34) are up to digitally. Two articles yesterday provided plenty more food for thought.
The first is TechCrunch’s write-up of some new research in the US on social media app usage by 18-34 year-olds by comScore.
It notes that while Facebook and Instagram remain the two most popular apps used by this age group in the US (75.6% and 43.1% penetration respectively), Snapchat has vaulted to third place in the list with a 32.9% score, ahead of Twitter (23.8%), Google+ (18% – usual caveat about whether a Google+ ‘user’ is actually using the social networking bit of Google+), Pinterest (17.9%), Vine (10.7%) and Tumblr (6.3%).
Snapchat has nearly tripled its penetration rate since November 2013, when it was being used by 12.1% of US 18-34 year-olds according to comScore’s research.
But of most interest is its current 50% penetration rate among the younger end of that demographic: 18-24 year-olds. “At this reach threshold, Snapchat has likely established a certain degree of staying power within this demographic segment that gives it some runway to evolve beyond its core value proposition,” claimed comScore’s Andrew Lipsman.
It’s reasonable to expect music to be high on the list of potential feature expansions, even if Snapchat decides to steer clear of direct licensing – what price a hook-up with a streaming service, along the lines of Spotify’s partnership with VoIP/messaging app Tango?
The second article is from AdWeek, digging deeper into the popularity of YouTubers among younger teenagers. The hook is teenage crew Our 2nd Life (O2L) – essentially a boy band but with songs replaced by video blogging (vlogging).
The six-strong group are currently earning “in the five to six figures for about four weeks on the road” while charging $1k-$2k to post a sponsored Instagram photo and $40k-$50k for a branded video on YouTube. This, based on a fanbase of 2.4m YouTube subscribers and millions of followers for the individual members on Twitter.
“They’re rock stars in their own right, but they’re influencers like journalists in their own ways,” suggests MTV’s Tina Exarhos in the piece. “If you’re talking to kids, you want someone who talks to kids in their own language,” adds Kelly Mullens Brown of Ryan Seacrest Productions.