Why do Millennials use Facebook and Twitter?

Discussion
Apr 13, 2015

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from MarketingCharts, a Watershed Publishing publication providing up-to-the-minute data and research to marketers.

More than nine in 10 U.S. Millennials (aged 18-34) use Facebook, while fewer than four in 10 use Twitter, according to results from a recently released survey conducted by the Media Insight Project, an initiative of the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The survey found Facebook use driven primarily by a desire to keep current with friends’ lives and Twitter use more to see what’s "trending."

Asked which, if any, of several options are the main reasons they use Facebook, 69 percent (75 percent of Facebook users) agreed it is to see what’s happening in their friends’ lives and what they’re talking about. Next on the list, 53 percent of respondents overall (58 percent of users) reported that a main reason for using Facebook is to find things that entertain them such as funny lists, articles or videos.

By comparison, significantly fewer (31 percent of respondents; 34 percent of users) said a reason for using Facebook is to see what’s "trending" and what people are talking about on social media.

Conversely, some 16 percent of Millennials surveyed said seeing what’s trending is a main reason for using Twitter, slightly ahead of the 15 percent who said they mainly use Twitter to find things that entertain them.

Of note, Twitter users were more likely to say they compose their own posts about news-related items than share news content seen on other websites. The opposite was true for Facebook users. In each case, though, Facebook users appeared more engaged in these activities than Twitter users, an interesting result given Twitter’s reputation as a real-time news source.

Other findings:

  • Roughly three-quarters of Millennials’ news and information comes from online rather than offline sources.
  • Respondents were more likely to say they "mostly bump into news and information" (60 percent) than actively seeking it out (39 percent).
  • Facebook ranks as Millennials’ most frequent source of news for a variety of topics, including: celebrities or pop culture; the arts and culture; sports; music, TV and movies; local restaurants or entertainment; style, beauty and fashion; and food and cooking. It falls a close second to search engines in terms of health and fitness news and information.

 

What do the particular appeals of Facebook and Twitter to Millennials mean for marketers? Do you expent the appeal of Facebook and Twitter to change for Millennials as they age?

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10 Comments on "Why do Millennials use Facebook and Twitter?"


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Max Goldberg
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

Marketers should be experimenting with Facebook and Twitter not to sell, but to engage in conversations with consumers, provide useful information and to look for consumer trends. Regardless of if Millennials stay with Facebook and Twitter, marketers need to go where their customers are. Electronic media is here to stay. The job of marketers is to keep up with the trends.

Dick Seesel
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

The migration from “old media” to “new media” continues, and with it the need to reach younger consumers where they gather and digest information. Part of the appeal of sites like Facebook and Twitter is the “small bite” format, which in turn presents a challenge to marketers accustomed to dealing with media requiring a longer attention span. (Yes, including a 30-second spot!) You need to break through an unprecedented amount of ad clutter to get your message to resonate.

Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D.
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

If I am interpreting this correctly, Millennials use Facebook to see what their friends are talking about and doing and Twitter to see what is going on now. Why is this a surprise? That is how both tools positioned themselves when they started and how they still position themselves.

For businesses, the challenge is how to present messages in the middle of or as part of a social conversation and how to make your tweets relevant to current news or events.

Laura Davis-Taylor
Guest
Laura Davis-Taylor
7 years 1 month ago

Yes, digital/electronic media is here to stay. But caution with the word media.

As an agency person, media used to be about one-way shotgun blasts. Digital media is about two-way engagements and, more importantly, context. As in contextual to who the person is, where they are, what they are looking to solve at that moment and how they like to utilize the media (Twitter or Facebook) that they are currently engaging with. As soon as advertisers start abusing it for one-way shotgun ads again, the game is over.

I sat in a meeting last year with one of the lead strategists on a top five brand account that stated, “We got social media wrong, we didn’t realize that it is a paid media.” I disagree on all counts. If you can pay for the presence and it has value and context to the user, fine. If it’s being used to try to snare as many eyeballs and as much brand awareness as possible, sit back and watch as people find other platforms to gather and share on.

Joan Treistman
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

I am struck with how we continue to discuss Facebook and Twitter as communications resources that are static. Whether the target audience is composed of Millennials or not, marketers have to be in lockstep with the dynamics of the constantly-changing universe of social media. It’s about being in the moment and where the audience can be found and engaged.

I don’t think it’s about Millennials aging, but rather about what happens as social media, e.g., Facebook and Twitter, age.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

You have to market where your audience is. Both Facebook and Twitter have enough influence to augment marketing efforts. However, as more social channels come and go (like Google+), marketers need to maintain a wide presence across a number of channels and keep those presences fresh and responsive to remain relevant.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

It means they have a built-in audience for the foreseeable future (footnote: See MySpace for why this may change without notice).

I think Facebook actually may have more traction with Millennials since they use it to track friends and acquaintances over time while Twitter may lose its appeal.

Brian Numainville
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

At present, Facebook is a way for Millennials to stay connected, whether that is to a family member, friend, band or business. They look to their network to make recommendations and as a trusted source of information. In terms of longevity of the tool, who knows what the next great innovation might be so it is hard to predict whether or not Facebook is the tool long term or if something else better will disrupt it along the way. But social networks are here to stay!

Chuck Palmer
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

Given the importance of this group and their penchant for transience, FB and Twitter will have to reinvent and stay nimble to remain relevant. Millennials are known for being hard to peg—one reason I heart them—the key will be about the value of the experience for them and their circle of friends.

Sid Raisch
Guest
Sid Raisch
7 years 1 month ago

It’s interesting as I am late to the game on this topic to see that a clear majority says “Somewhat weaker – 44%,” which I believe is hogwash. There are several things here. One is that FB and Twitter are for different purposes entirely.

Facebook will become more valuable over time as Millennials keep in touch with more people they come to know. It is more about life stage than about age. Millennials are beginning to buy houses as they enter the workforce and have a way to pay for them. They’re beginning to own their own technology devices, rather than their parents’.

Twitter is more of an action. Tweet – it is real time and informational, not really very relational. More useful in the professional life, and geared toward aspiring go-getters. It’s a portion of the Millennial population—a psychographic that is using it.

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