4 Millennial social media habits explained: Instagram.

Brogan & Partners 09/29/15 - 4:13 pm

Although Facebook may be the most popular social media app among Millennials, Instagram is the most Millennial-heavy, making it a key marketing platform for brands to engage with this generation. According to CEB Iconoculture, 73 percent of Instagrammers are between ages 15 and 35 years old, which means a large majority of Millennials contribute to the 80 million photos that are uploaded on Instagram daily. So, there’s no doubt Millennials are using Instagram. But it’s important to understand their Instagram habits in order to discover what that says about this generation.

80 million photos are uploaded on Instagram daily.

What types of photos are Millennials posting? Research shows there are eight main photo categories that are most popular on Instagram: friends, food, gadget, quotes, pets, activity, selfie and fashion. Among Millennials, some of the top trending hashtags include #fashion, #friends, #typography, #travel, #smile, #iphoneonly, #nofilter and #authentic. This generation is all about capturing their everyday moments, not just the big ones. So, showing their network what they ate, their outfit of the day (#ootd) and who they were with is a primary habit of this generation.

Here’s what these categories, hashtags and everyday moments tell us about Millennials:

1.   Creative visuals are a mandatory – Studies show Millennials would rather share a photo than post a status about it. They’re not recording their everyday lives (#ootd) through journal entries and blogs as much as they are through pictures, which is why Instagram is so popular among this generation. This photo-sharing generation favors brands that showcase visual creativity, just like they do. And we’re not just talking about any visual. It has to be creative. To Millennials, a photo is really worth a thousand words. And chances are, before they even get to the fine print, they already have a first impression of your brand based on what they saw.

Tips for brands: Find creative ways to showcase your brand visually. For Millennials, having a visual won’t have a positive impact if it’s not creative. It’s important for you to learn what other brands in your industry are doing and what’s working (or not working) with this generation. Check out our blog series on industry-specific best practices for brands on Instagram.

Inspired by the trending hashtag #typography, Miller Lite captured a series of creative visuals that would resonate with Millennials (and advertise their brand). 

2.   Make it mobile – If there’s one thing Millennial Instagram habits tell us, it’s that they are a mobile generation. Instagram only allows users to upload photos via their smartphone. And rather than that being a disadvantage to this generation, Millennials love and celebrate the convenience of it (hence the popular hashtag, #iphoneonly). With one device, they can capture an experience and share it with others using their “iPhone only.”

Tips for brands: For better engagement with this audience, your brand website, campaigns and ads need to be mobile-friendly. Millennials are doing more on their phone than previous generations. So if your brand wants to get their attention (and keep it), it’s time to move your message into the mobile sphere.  

3.   Native advertising is the way to go – Millennial hashtags such as #nofilter and #authentic drive home the point that this generation likes to keep it real. According to CEB, 70 percent of consumers over the age of 15 say that genuineness and authenticity are extremely important values. And while Instagram provides users with a variety of filters to choose from, some Millennials prefer to showcase the fact that they used #nofilter (or at least it looks like they didn’t). The same rule applies to brands. Millennials are looking for authentic brands. And they won’t hesitate to pass up a brand that doesn’t feel organic to their lifestyle.

Tips for brands: More and more brands are tapping into native advertising. Instead of standing out to showcase the brand, ads are now conforming to match the platforms that Millennials are on in order to appeal to them. Brands, like Wendy’s, are revamping their Instagram photos to look and feel like the photos a Millennial would see on their Instagram newsfeed (while still showing their products). To engage with this audience, be organic. Be authentic. And keep it real. 

What else do you think Instagram tells us about this generation? Let us know in the comments below.

Tune into this blog series as we explore more Millennial social media habits and what that tells us about this generation.

Blog Category: Social Media

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