How Social and Mobile is the New iGeneration?

In today’s digital world and social web I would be almost considered a dinosaur.

How Social and Mobile is the New iGeneration

My generation grew up on personal computers that weren’t connected to anything but the power outlet and the laptops were the size of small cars.

I wasn’t brought up on a diet of iPods, iPhones and the Internet.

Today’s i-generation that is attending college and university have known nothing but Facebook, YouTube and Google almost since they were able to read and write.

The one year olds today are finding that the toy of choice is often an Apple iPad that makes learning and entertainment intuitive.

Digital devices dominate!

A Glimpse into the Future

So if you want to see what will be influencing tomorrow’s leaders, you need to look at what the college students of today are using to engage with brands, the devices they are using to communicate and the social networks they think are important.

Digital Media IX recently completed a study of 2,000 college students to try and discover what digital media, brands  and devices are important.

Here are the top insights from that research.

1. The Top 6 Social Networks for College Students

It was no surprise to see the top three of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter scoring above 60% usage. Facebook at 97% continues as expected to be the defacto social network of choice for almost all students.

The study also revealed that LinkedIn is important for senior year college students as they start considering a career.

Pinterest is still a girl thing with 55% of college women using it with only 5% of men on the visual social networking platform.

What I found surprising was Google+  at over 20% with women counting for 60% of the participants.

The top 6 Social Networks for College Students

2. How Students Engage with Brands

I wouldn’t be tearing down your website anytime soon if you want to engage with college students. It is still the primary digital platform that they visit to to obtain information. The Facebook page engagement is primarily limited to “likes” for entering a contest or to incentive.

Over 50% engage with a video, mostly through YouTube.

More than one-third of students download apps sponsored by a brand, high lighting the growing importance  of apps and mobile in engagement.

Twitter, though the least popular was revealed to be a powerful marketing medium with those that “Tweet” influencing a broad group of friends which amplifies the influence.

How Students Engage with Brands

3. Smart Phones

As expected the smart phone is the most important thing to carry around. What was surprising was the level of dominance the Apple iPhone has for this generation at 58% .

It also appears that the Blackberry (8%) has been usurped by HTC at 11%, with Samsung also rising in usage.

This survey reveals the power of the Apple brand for the younger generation.

The Impact of Smart Phones

4. Mobile Apps on Students Phones

In the survey college students identified 800 unique mobile apps but nine apps represented nearly half the responses (as listed below in the graphic).

The top three apps were Facebook, Twitter and weather. The rise of Instagram and Pinterest over the last 12 months was also evident.

As expected Sports apps were the favorite of men.

Mobile Apps on Students Phones5. The Top 10 Digital Brands for College Students

The pervasive influence of Apple is on display for all to see here with it ranking in three of the top five digital brands.

DigitalMediaIX developed the DMIX ratio (DMIX/R) to provide understanding of brands and how they are influenced by the various forms of digital media.

Also factored in were Facebook “likes,” Twitter Followers, and YouTube Channel Views, weighted to reflect their relative importance.

The Top 10 Digital Brands for College Students

You can view the top 50 digital brands at the Digital Media IX website

What About You?

Do any of the results surprise you?

Could you use any of the information revealed to assist you with your marketing.

Look forward to hearing your feedback and comments.

More Reading

Image by sparktography


  • Jonathan Payne

    Nothing too surprising here, but great information! The dominance of Facebook and Twitter apps is pretty neat.

    • Jeff Bullas

      Thanks Johnathan for your comment. I lecture at the International College of management and I have certainly noticed the rise of Twitter amongst tertiary students over the past 2 years.

      • Jonathan Payne

        I would agree with that based on my anecdotal experience. Being a 21 year old college student myself, I’ve definitely noticed Twitter picking up steam among my peers and even more so among those who are just a few years younger than myself. 

        I’m not entirely sure what the cause of that is — Facebook getting a bit boring, people feeling social pressures within Facebook more so than they do with Twitter, more adults/parents on Facebook…whatever the cause, the next year or two in social media is going to be interesting.

        • Jeff Bullas

          Maybe because it is short and efficient but can share links!

    • Jeff Bullas

      Thanks Johnathan for your comment. I lecture at the International College of management and I have certainly noticed the rise of Twitter amongst tertiary students over the past 2 years.

  • Kathy Lisiewicz

    “Pinterest is still a girl thing”

    I’m bothered by this wording; it’s very dismissive. Pinterest drives traffic, and women make or influence the majority of economic decisions in the U.S.

  • Karen A. Nelson

    Doesn’t surprise me at all. You can look at the high schools and get a lot of the same results. If you want to take it a step further you could look at junior high students but those kids are on YouTube more than Facebook. These kids are going to want everything quicker! Lord help us all. lol

    • Jeff Bullas

      In ten years you will not recognise the web!

  • Abel Pardo

    I’m professor at the university and I really noticed that Facebook and twitter are the kings. Good post, Jeff!

    • Jeff Bullas

      Thanks Abel and it certainly cannot be ignored

    • Jeff Bullas

      Thanks Abel and it certainly cannot be ignored

  • Abel Pardo

    I’m professor at the university and I really noticed that Facebook and twitter are the kings. Good post, Jeff!

  • Facebook Likes

    Indeed, I am more engage in facebook and youtube, 3rd in twitter. Great Info.

  • Richard

    what concerns me is the importance of brands in the list. Is this a response to too much information leading to curated choice as the only way of making choices in the future. For marketing this means that unless you have the resources to develop brands then your chances of getting noticed are minimal. Is this a good thing?

    • Jeff Bullas

      Thanks Richard for the comment. What is vital to break through in a targeted sector is focus. Brands always have mass media budgets with deep pockets. You can create your own brand online but it needs focused relentless content publishing in multimedia formats on multiple social networks. Sorry there is no such thing as get rich quick scheme that isn’t a scam. Just focused efficient persistence!

  • Nick Stamoulis

    It’s interesting that women of the age group are counting for 60% of the 20% of Google+ use because most of the data points to it being a social network used more by males.  Possibly the younger generation will gravitate towards Google+ since Facebook may be their parents’ social network.    

  • Jeff Bullas

    Thanks Don . it was great to share your and the students work :)

  • Antonio Calero

    Is it a chance that the Top 10 brands are currently investing a lot of energy and resources in Digital Media campaigns? I don’t think so…

    Many other good brands are missing a great opportunity for not having good digital strategies in place. Let’s not forget these students will be the Business men and women of the near future, and will surely keep using and thinking on those brands.

  • Elisabeth Karlehav

    Employer Branding people, pay heed! :)

  • HostGator Coupons

    WOW Students are lucky they way before graduating they carry a 1000 $ laptop with them