The YAYA Connection

We're the youth and young adults (the YAYA market).
We're talking about the YAYA consumer for advertisers and marketers interested in our demographic.

We are the millennials,
but we won't be the YAYA market forever.
We're transient.
We're the elusive 18-24-year old market.

University of Missouri School of Journalism affiliated.

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The YAYA market loves genuine advertising campaigns and Dove nails this with their new “Patches” video. What do you think?

Did you know 81% of mobile games are free? Would you pay for a paid gaming experience? Most in the YAYA market would never, unless it was to gain extra lives or spare their Facebook friends from a pesky invite. 

by Brendan Shaughnessy


2. Breathe. You’ve been planning for this your whole life. A phone interview. Sweet I got this. Should I start apartment hunting? No, don’t get ahead of yourself. You’ll jinx it!

3. I’ll play it cool like I don’t need them… I really do though… but be cool. Should I use “sincerely” or “regards?” Only grandmas use “sincerely” and I’m a millennial. #hip

4. *spend 4 hours re-reading 2 paragraph email*

5. I spelt my name wrong?!? How did I manage that? My name is Brendan not Brensan.. I can’t even spell my own name right. I’m gonna be homeless. What a failure!

6. *send* 

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7. Still nothing back. Maybe she lost my email. She’s probably a busy lady. Should I send another? No, I don’t want to seem clingy. But seriously, isn’t your job to recruit me? What else are you doing? Email me back! I’m a perfect fit! EMAIL ME.

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9. *One new email*

10. “Sorry for the delay, how does Thursday work?”

11. Whew. I knew she was going to get back to me. She was probably just taking her kids to soccer practice. Recruiters are people, too. Thursday works all day and twice on Sunday.

12. *send*

13. Be Thursday.

14. Interview. Killed it. High fives and fist pumps as far as the eye can see.

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15. Send thank you note, thank you email, a bouquet of Spanish roses and a unicorn horn.

16. I’m sitting in a forever abyss. Drifting by. I don’t know where I’m going to be or who I even am anymore. Please call me. Please call me.

17. *One new email*

18. “Dear applicant, we loved your application, but will unfortunately be moving on without you through our hiring process. If you want your heart back, too bad. We’re keeping it. Forever.”

19. Repeat

In anticipation of YAYA Connection’s upcoming White Paper on mobile gaming, here’s some information about their popularity.

Where do you think the ever-so-popular game Flappy Birds fairs with others like Candy Crush or Angry Birds?

By: Lindsey Wehking, Researcher 

I’ve never been a huge mobile gamer. When I played in the past it was only to obliterate my boyfriend at Words With Friends. Then I found 2048. What began as curiosity about an emerging trend may soon become the sad tale of a young woman’s demise.


 In case you’ve been successfully functioning in the productive world for the past few weeks, 2048 is a simple puzzle game where the player combines tiles by sliding them across the grid to create a single tile with the value 2048.

 Coming early May, YAYA Connection will release a White Paper on the youth and young adult (YAYA) market’s relationship with mobile gaming. What was really fascinating was that over the few weeks we conducted primary research, we were able to watch one mobile gaming craze die out and another rise in its ashes.

 When we began our research, “Flappy Bird” was still trending. In focus group after focus group, we asked participants for their associations with “Mobile Gaming”. They responded: “Flappy Bird.” This wasn’t surprising.

 Only two weeks later, we sent out a survey to over 200 18-24 year old mobile gamers. We began seeing a response to our question asking for participants’ favorite mobile game that none of us were familiar with, and hadn’t come up in the focus groups: 2048.  12344469385_a327e44e62_o.jpg

 At first, we wrote 2048 off as an error code, but as it climbed the ranks a quick Google search proved our asininity. It became the second most popular game within our sample (right behind Candy Crush), and soon after it exploded all over social media and the news. The fast-paced mobile gaming market had cycled through right before our eyes.

 2048 is the perfect testament to the rapidly changing and unforgiving nature of the mobile gaming industry. Inspired by a browser-based game of the same name, 2048 hit app stores in mid-March and by April 1 was one of the most downloaded apps in the Apple App Store. 2048 appears to be a rip-off of the $1.99 game “Threes”, but has obliterated any demand for the original.  Why? Simply enough: it’s free!

Puzzle games are one of the most downloaded mobile gaming apps, and we found this rings true for the YAYA gamer. From our survey, I know I’m not the only one swiping my way late into the night. As I was sitting in class today, I found myself watching that 4 x 4 grid take shape in the rows of seats before me, and imagining sliding together occupants with the same colored shirts. Someone send help!

Or, maybe just check back in early May for our full report on the YAYA mobile gamer! You’ll find actionable insights relevant to advertisers, game developers and any brand wanting to get involved with mobile gaming.

Thai Life Insurance’s “Unsung Hero” commercial. 

By: Taylor Werthauser, PR Newsletter

Given that my first blog for YAYA Connection was also about sports, you may find it surprising that I actually don’t know that much about them.  My boyfriend eats, sleeps and breathes football, so I may have learned a thing or two by osmosis, but for the most part I know just about diddlysquat.

But for whatever reason, I love March Madness.

I’m not the only one who loves March Madness. Even my friends, who are far less interested in sports, have their brackets filled out.  So what’s the deal? Why does the YAYA market (youth and young adults, age 18-24) like March Madness so much? And what can you as a marketer do to leverage that?

Why we love it: We’re all about the team

 Gen Y’ers have a reputation of being self-invested yet lazy and uncompetitive. The reality is that they are all about the team. Studies from organizations like Rainmaker Thinking show that millennials have a talent and enjoy working in and being part of teams. Even T. Scott Gross, the author of “Positively Outrageous Service” and Forbes contributor, notes that millennials are great team players, because they’ve been raised to be all about the team. And it’s true. We’ve been working in teams for group projects and winning trophies because “everyone’s a winner,” since before we could remember. So when our team makes it into the NCAA tournament (or the NIT–full disclosure, we’re all Mizzou fans here at YAYA Connection), it feels like we’ve made it into the final tournament too.

 How you can leverage it: Join in on the team spirit!

Everyone has a favorite team. And obviously, everybody likes to see kU lose (see full disclosure above), So rally around that team spirit and capitalize on it. But be careful-it’s easy to go negative and lay down some smack-talk on your biggest rival. Make sure to keep it positive.

Why we love it: It’s easier to watch

YAYA sports fans are experts at “second-screening,” meaning we’ll watch TV, but we’ll be on our phones, laptops or computers at the same time. That way, we can watch overlapping games without having to flip back and forth.  Second screens make it easier to watch all the games and it shows. A report from Turner says that second screen viewership of the NCAA tournament is up 42% from last year and that 4 million hours of live video were consumed in the first three days.  And live streaming to mobile platforms, like tablets and smartphones, rose 87% from last year.

How can you leverage it: Digital Advertising

So, if we know that YAYA sports fans are streaming video on mobile devices, then that’s where you need to put the ads. Digital advertising can range from online display ads, to pre-roll video, to native content.  A study from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project found that 18-29 year olds were more likely to engage in real-time mobile activities, so leverage their “second-screening” in real time to get them engaged with your brand.

Why we love it: We love a good underdog

Millennials love a good underdog story and it’s probably because we relate. A study from PriceWaterhouseCoopers notes that Millennials tend to feel like the underdog in their places of work. We just want to succeed and impress you with our skills and that translates to a good underdog story. It’s about having the faith in others that they can do well too.

How you can leverage it: Love that underdog too.

In the workforce or on the court, showing that you have faith in the teams is the best way to get a millennial engaged. We’re a little more dimensional than self-entitled techies and marketers that can see that are marketers that we’ll relate to the most.

Even though the the last game of the NCAA Tournament was Monday night, you can still take these tips off the court. Understanding how millennials think and work is key to being able to market to them or even hire them on your team!

 What are some reasons you love March Madness? Or, do you have any tips and tricks about marketing to millennials? Share with us below!

Have you had a chance to check out YAYA Connection’s Vines? Do it now!

By: Anna Blasberg, White Paper Editor 

Instagram is continuing to prove itself worthy of its $1 billion dollar price tag. In 2013, Instagram was “the fastest growing of the top 10 mobile apps.” Of the photo-sharing platform’s user base of almost 35 million, those of us between 18-24 years old represent the largest portion of users. In a recent report by eMarketer, we are expected to continue as the dominant users. Here is what their projection looks like for 2014, and an overall look at each age category up until 2016:

In October of 2013, Instagram started to test ads in the form of sponsored posts with a few select advertisers. So far they have done everything right with the ad rollout. The post images are carefully vetted by Instagram before being cleared for publishing.

So how much do these sponsored posts cost? AdAge recently published that brands have been quoted between $350 thousand to $1 million for a month-long buy. That’s a massive commitment–especially since the only targeting available to advertisers is based on age and gender. Considering the prevalence of youth and young adult (YAYA) users on Instagram, advertisers should definitely try targeting us through their ads.

With such a hefty price tag on the new sponsored posts we won’t be seeing smaller brands with them anytime soon on our Instagram feeds.

Smaller brands, have no fear if you can’t shell out $1 million for a sponsored Instagram post! Organically growing your audience through best practices is still the best way to utilize Instagram in our eyes. We appreciate when brands interact with us through comments and make awesome hashtags that we actually want to post on. Nike obviously has a smashing hit with #justdoit and leads the Instagram community with 24,609,760 posts on their hashtag.

Some of the giants who originally tested the ad units may just be wasting their money.  According to AdAge, “It’s currently unclear whether any of the advertisers in the test group — Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, Burberry, General Electric, Levi’s, Lexus, Macy’s, Michael Kors, PayPal and Starwood — are re-upping on Instagram ads.” Sure, paying for more eyeballs will inevitably garner more followers, but if a brand fails to deliver consistently engaging content, we’re going to start tapping that “Unfollow” button. Let’s take a look at how some of the test group brands are doing.

*Lexus – #259

There is a reason this auto-behemoth is ranked so low. Just look at their page overview:

Yikes. Even if you’re a car person this has to get boring. The images are sleek, but they don’t fit in with the general vibe of Instagram. Lexus should dedicate their dollars to their account management before paying for more sponsored ads. We appreciate brands that are creative enough to give us variety. BMW does a better job--they occasionally feature follower photos and actually utilize the app’s photo filters that made it a success in the first place.

*Taco Bell – #60

First of all, T-Bell gets props for making good use of their profile link and directing users to their YouTube page instead of their website like a lot of other brands. By nature, the food category lends itself to the visual platform quite well. However, Taco Bell is a standout because of its personal feel. Every photo is unique, artsy, and very non-market-y, which we love. Almost every post feels like a user-submission, which creates a community feel for followers. These girls could totally be our friends:

Taco Bell made the right move in using sponsored ads to promote their new breakfast menu. Since promoted posts stay in a user’s feed longer than a day, Taco Bell is more likely to be top-of-mind–making us more likely to swing by the Taco Bell drive thru instead of the McDonald’s one on the way to campus.

As long as Instagram continues to be rigorous in its ad-approval process, we won’t mind seeing the sponsored posts. People will complain for the sake of complaining, but we will get used to Instagram ads, just like we have grown to accept Facebook ads. The advantage Instagram has is that sponsored posts will be inherently less spammy. Brands just need to be certain that they can deliver a top-notch user experience to new followers they gain through advertising.

What is your opinion on the new sponsored ads? Will they become a nuisance or actually enhance the Instagram experience for users? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

*Rankings from Nitrogram 50. Their ratings are based on a combination assessment of the number of followers and number of contributors (the number of posts on their hashtag).