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2017’s Most Popular Apps Among Teens

Sam Sullivan
Art Director

College students of tomorrow, Gen Z, are chameleons adapting to different devices, apps, and social networks. Stay relevant in our fast-paced digital world with this guide to today’s most popular apps.


Instagram logo

Instagram is a social network completely about visual sharing of ones life, likes, and interests, through photos and videos, designed especially for mobile use. A poll facilitated by the AP-NORC Center, questioned 790 teens ages 13-17 about their social media use, and 76% of them use Instagram.

What’s special?

Connecting people, locally and worldwide, through photos and stories.  The running visual documentary of one’s life keeps them coming back. When a photo is “liked” users feel gratification.

Where can marketers get involved?

  • Have an active account to feature current students, alumni, events, news, and updates.
  • Create an Instameet to gather event or location specific images and bring your community together online.


Spotify logo

An online music-streaming service coupled with social networking opportunities. According to the Business Insiders survey on American teenagers, Spotify was deemed the best music app and a favorite among many participants.

What’s special?

Most noteworthy, it’s a network of music listeners. Not only can you listen to your favorite music, create playlists, and follow artists; you can see what others are listening to and share music with friends. An average user spends over 2 hours daily on Spotify.

Where can marketers get involved?

  • Ask community members on social media outlets to offer suggestions of music
  • Ad campaigns with Spotify offer many ad formats over a variety of devices in addition to strategic targeting options.
  • Have an account and create a “back-to-school” or event specific playlist to share across your social networks. The University of Michigan uses Spotify to create a culture among their students, faculty, and staff by curating a weekly playlist. They also share it socially with a #UMICHMIXTAPE hashtag.


Snapchat is the most popular app according to Business Insiders survey on American teenagers. No surprises there! This easy to use, quick-sharing, and short-life-span-focused app makes it an easy win among the most popular. Snapchat is the highest ranking, although, Instagram and Spotify are strong contenders.

Snapchat logo

A dual purpose messaging platform and social network. Think of Snapchat as texting by sharing pictures and short videos, aka Snaps, with your friends.

What’s special?

Photos and videos disappear within seconds of being viewed creating a personal and in-the-moment feel to the online interaction.

Where can marketers get involved?

  • Create an account then let current students take over that account for a “day-in-the” of a real student.
  • Users open the Snapchat app 18+ times a day. Marketers can use ad campaigns to get noticed!
  • Create a Geofilter for your campus as a fun way for visitors to interact with your brand. Geofilters are creative overlays capturing where you are or what you’re doing.
  • New partnership opportunities to include school newspapers in the Discover section of the app.

Read more about social media marketing usage.

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