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Facebook Helps Millennials Keep Up with Headlines

Millennials log on to Facebook frequently to get news

March 27, 2015

eMarketer estimates that 88.0% of 18-to-24-year-old internet users in the US will use Facebook this year, as will 78.6% of those in the 25-to-34 range. This works out to 58.7 million millennials logging on to Facebook at least monthly in 2015—and many are likely doing so to check out the news.

Frequency with Which US Millennial Internet Users Check Social Media for News and Information, by Site, Feb 2015 (% of respondents)

According to February 2015 research by The Media Insight Project for the American Press Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago, 57% of US millennials checked Facebook at least once a day to get news and information, with 30% logging on several times a day and 14% doing so nearly constantly. No other social site came close in respondents for this frequency.

Despite the fact that they use Facebook for news often, millennials don’t consider this a top reason for logging on. Just 47% of respondents said this was a main reason for accessing the site.

Facebook Activities of US Millennial Facebook Users, Feb 2015 (% of respondents)

However, once they log on, news consumption is high. Seven in 10 millennials said they regularly read or watched news stories and headlines posted by other people on Facebook, and 60% engaged with news items, headlines or story links by “liking” them—though they were a little standoffish when it came to commenting, at around one-third of respondents. More than four in 10 were also willing to share news themselves.

As social media expands its reputation as a news hub, newsrooms are following suit. When Cision asked journalists in North America about what they thought the most important digital trends in media were, the integration of social platforms in newsroom operations ranked second, cited by 18% and trailing only ever-popular mobile.

Ways in Which Journalists in North America Use Facebook vs. Twitter, Jan 2015 (% of respondents)

Even more, individual reporters are making themselves known on social. Among journalists polled by Cision, three-quarters used Facebook for marketing and promotion, and nearly eight in 10 used Twitter for the same reason. The personal side of social was also important for reporters, as around two-thirds used Twitter or Facebook to build relationships. Business-related efforts such as lead gen and story pitches weren’t as common.

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