Social Networks are Free Entertainment for Millenials

Facebook’s latest TV campaign is doing it’s best to portrait an image of togetherness on the platform, but pretty much everyone can agree it’s been a bumpy time for them of late. Like all social platforms, people engage for varying reasons,but we’ve uncovered that Millenials more than most are demanding entertainment first and friendship second from social media. The numbers below show how and why Millenials consume their social media, which you can use to influence your next campaign decisions.

How much time do Millenials spend on social?

Young millennials (21-27 year olds) are spending an average of 2 hours 52 minutes engaging with social media daily, older millennials (28-34 year olds) are slightly behind this figure with an average of 2 hours 11 minutes on their favourite platforms. The total UK average is 1 hour 52 minutes. Astonishingly, over 11% of millennials are spending more than 6 hours a day on social media!

How are they spending this time?

Finding enjoyable content, coupled with filling up spare time, suggests a shift in usage away from staying in touch with friends, to entertainment. Surprisingly, more millennials are following brands (42%) than their favourite musicians (40%), actors (35%) or news outlets (29%). So, it stands to reason that millennials want utility, in the form of great content, from their favourite brands.

Facebook spearheading the entertainment shift

More millennials have watched a video on Facebook in the last month than have messaged a friend on a one-to-one basis. And they aren’t just watching the odd video either, 54% admit to watching large numbers in a row without consciously realising it (Facebook IQ). But it’s not just video causing the shift; 39% more millennials have read an article on Facebook than have updated their status in the last month.

Why has the shift occurred?

Over 90% of millennials list entertainment as an important/ very important motivation for using the internet (1.2x the UK average), and for this group social media is synonymous with the internet.

Further to this, there is now a plethora of social platforms which individuals are using for a myriad of reasons. The number of social accounts held by users has been steadily rising since their inception, although that’s now beginning to plateau, with the average UK internet user having 6.8 social accounts. This figure jumps to 8.1 for older millennials and a whopping 9.5 for young millennials. It’s little wonder they’re spending so much time on social.

Entertainment isn’t necessarily the motivation for all social use. With the likes of Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and Snapchat gaining traction in recent years, it appears the ‘social’ element of social media has migrated over to messenger apps- the eerie realms of dark social which just 21% of senior marketing professionals claim they can attribute value to (IBM, 2017).

Senator, we run ads.

This young tech savvy audience know the trade-off for their free entertainment comes in the form of advertising. But that doesn’t mean peppering your audience with ads which offer no utility on social is necessarily the way to resonate with them. Brands like Red Bull (7M+ YouTube subscribers) and Adidas (32M Facebook followers) understand that great video content attracts and keeps their audience.

What Does This Mean for Brands?

Brands should take note of shifting usage motivations and look to ensure their campaigns match the demands of their audience; providing entertaining content or drawing a laugh may just be the key that unlocks the millennial wallet.