Friends have taken on new meaning. They’re no longer a coffee date, they’re a potential comment or “like.” New research by Mr. Youth has found that the graduating class of 2015 will be 3x as likely to follow a brand, a trend they found after conducting a three-phase study this past spring. The study included qualitative and quantitative elements such as a study of 5,000 incoming freshmen nationwide. The study also used data from more intimate focus groups where each teen documented their own life with a personal video camera.

The class of 2015 was found to be hyper-connected and technologically savvy. They have a major influence of both the popularity and endurance of a brand. Though not surprising, Mr. Youth’s insights by the numbers proved interesting to consider:

  • 87% are cutting the cord on cable, electing to watch all of their TV shows and movies online
  • 55% are on Twitter and they are three times more likely to follow a brand as opposed to a family member
  • 66% will look up a store if they see a friend check-in from their mobile device, and 91% keep their check-ins publicly visible — although only 36% use foursquare
  • 73% have earned and used virtual currency for shopping, although only 11% defined success as having a lot of money in real life.

“We know the Class of 2015 is active online, using many different technologies and forms of social media,” said Matt Britton, Founder and CEO of Mr Youth. “Our research focused on looking behind the scenes to uncover what purpose each channel serves in their lives and determining what drives their brand engagement decisions.”