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Coming of Age on Screens – Facebook IQ Event

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Facebook presented the findings of their newest study yesterday. Titled “The Coming of Age on Screens”, the study focuses on how the elusive group of so called Millenials interact with their digital devices and how that changes over time.

Together with Crowd DNA, Facebook’s insights unit Facebook IQ conducted a large-scale study amongst 11,000 13-24 year olds from 13 countries as well as conducting 165 qualitative interviews.

Key findings from “The Coming of Age on Screens”:

  • Millenials are actually three groups, not one. While marketers often like to throw all 13-24 year olds in the same bucket, this study has shown what common sense and personal experience dictates. During the tumultus teenage years and the early twenties, so much changes that ultimately your media reception and communication behaviours do as well. The study identifies the three groups as being the Optimists (13-15), the Explorers (16-19)and the Realists (20-24).  Fun side fact: The study finds that German teens were the most optimistic (60 percent).
  • Optimism is a strong force. Not just with the 13-15 year olds described as the group of optimists, but actually within the entire study, Facebook found optimism to be an overwhelming factor. Across the 13 countries, 58% of the people describe themselves as optimistic. The 13- to 15-year-olds expressed the most positivity, with 64% describing themselves as optimistic. Across the board, 72% of young people agreed they try to see the positives in every situation. In Indonesia, this applies to 92% of respondents. 
  • Being happy is the most important. Another key finding was that young people rate happiness as the most important goal. It’s more important to them than other circumstances like “being financially independent”, “being part of a loving family” or “discovering my interests and skills”.
  • It’s all about being connected. Teens and young adults use their plethora of digital devices (an average of about five screens, it was said) first and foremost to stay connected with their friends and family. 73% of the study participants said that their lives revolve around friends and family and 67% said they are very happy with their social lives. And 65% of participants use social media to connect with people they see everyday – so friends at school, their parent, friends or siblings.
  • From FOMO to FOBO. The FOMO (fear of missing out) is accompanied more and more by FOBO (fear of being online).

What does that mean for marketers?

Engaging, valuable content is King. While this certainly isn’t news, it’s always good for marketers to remember. Facebook IQ recommends to position your brand as a source of information, inspiration or validation with those coming of age as well as making sure you tailor your communications approach to each of the three groups rather than try one wide sweep.

While not mentioned in the article about the study, another very interesting number was the rise of mobile video consumption. Up by 532% in the past few years, mobile video has become a phenomenon in its own right. While I’m sure the Facebook autoplay function helped facilitate the acceptance of mobile video tremendously, cases like the ALS ice bucket challenge show what a huge potential video has for brands’ communications. According to Facebook, 17 Million videos related to the ice bucket challenge were shared to Facebook and watched over 10 billion (!) times by 440 million people. And that’s from June 1st to August 17th of 2014. Of course the constant stream of celebrities dumping ice over their heads helped the campaign immensely.

And because we know it’s fun to watch, here’s a celeb compilation.

tl;dr: New Facebook study shows Millenials are actually three groups instead of one – are overwhelmingly optimistic, strive for happiness and can’t stand not being connected. Mobile video is the mega trend. Brands need to adjust their communications accordingly. 

Picture credit: (c) Viktor Hanacek, picjumbo

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