Youth Trends 2018 – key insights from Voxburner’s latest report

Insight. We’re all looking for it and, when it comes along, it can be incredibly useful. For youth marketers, one of the best sources of insight out there is Voxburner’s annual Youth Trends report – and that’s what we’re going to look at in this episode.

Our guest is Simon Eder, founder of Voxburner, is joined me to talk through the Youth Trends Report for 2018, which was launched at the YMS London event in March and is well worth you getting your hands on.

We take a flying tour through the 2018 report and pick out some of the key findings, which include – but are not limited to – mental health issues, personalisation, the emergence of phygital and, erm, push notifications from your toilet.

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Show notes

Simon Eder is the founder of Voxburner. You can find him on LinkedIn. You can also find the Youth Trends Report 2018 on Voxburner’s website. Also, make sure you sign up to Voxburner’s excellent weekly trends update newsletter.

The Youth Trends report is an annual publication that runs alongside Voxburner’s YMS events and features both quantitative research with youth audiences plus some expert comments on the findings.

The report is split into three key sections; lifestyle, tech and content.

First of all, brands need to be making a deeper connection with young audiences on things like mental health issues, anxiety, depression, loneliness and modern masculinity…all potentially tricky subjects to get right.

Lynx’s Find Your Magic ad has negotiated this well, as well as Huffington Post’s dedicated content stream around these topics, particularly male confidence.

Young people also look to celebrities to how they’re addressing these issue – for example, Prince Harry and Stormzy and how they’ve addressed key issues.

It’s difficult for brands to engage at a deeper level on these issues, but we have found that the ones who do manage it curry favour with youth audiences.

Young people are also welcoming to brands wanting to tackle these issues – in fact, brands are often taking the lead from young consumers on them. The fact that they are taking these issues shows they are listening.

Today is definitely not the time for brands to be authoritarian.

Brands shouldn’t treat mental health as just the latest fad or trend. 73% of respondents said they’d like to see brands engage with these issues and even partner with mental health charities.

The report then looks at city swapping and claims that London is over. 67% of your survey respondents who live in the capital don’t like living there and almost half of them plan to leave as soon as possible. However, the report does also show that London is adaptable.

I’ve been to Paris and Berlin in the past few months and they don’t have a patch on London in terms of creativity and diversity.

The final part of the lifestyle section looks at food, where #foodporn is still big on social and healthy eating/vegan movements are still driving lots of activity on social media. Brands really need to be on it in this area.

Young people are definitely foodies – 30% are posting something food-related at least once a week on Instagram.

Brands are increasingly collaborating with youth food influencers and they’re building on previous trends – young people have swapped alcohol for coffee and now it’s about superfoods and quinoa.

I heard recently that the toilet of the future is going to be monitoring our stools as a health check, and then sending to our phones an update on what has been missing from our recent food intake.

The next part of the report looks a tech, starting with emotive tech, where there is a real mix of people who think digital assistants are either good or bad.

Where brands are winning is where they make campaigns collaborative – robots will never get the heart right, that is our human USP.

Next up is personalisation, a huge area for youth audiences. One of Simon’s favourite examples is Habit, a company offering your tailored diet plans based on your DNA.

I heard a new acronym recently – CJO: customer journey optimisation…it’s got to be about that going forwards.

Lastly in the tech section the report looks at the stores of the future, where one word jumps out; phygital. Simply, it’s the concept of blurring the physical and digital. The in-store experience needs to take in as much of the digital side as possible.

One of the best examples of phygital is Amazon, the global digital giant, opening physical stores.

The future will absolutely be blended, it will be phygital.

Lastly, the report looks at content and highlights just how important Instagram is – it’s a space that brands cannot ignore. They need to go through that Instagram filter in their mind and work out how Instagramable they are.

Missguided’s #makeyourmark campaign is a great example, after they pledged never to touch up pictures of their models.

Next up is a section on truthful content – young people don’t like fake news and actually see user-generated content as a way of beating that. Brands really need a UGC strategy.

Young people are seeing through brands that selflessly promote themselves. Consumers trust real people as opposed to brands.

Lastly, the report looks at mindless content, which is almost an evolution of simplified content. Young people are overwhelmed with having to live up to the perfect social media profile – mindless content allows them to see social media in a new light, it’s about using it as a time to breathe, for escapism.

This tongue-in-cheek attitude has great potential for brands to tap into if they’re prepared not to take themselves too seriously.

Simon’s top three takeaways from the Youth Trends report 2018

Keep it real – embracing and celebrating imperfections.

Keep it personal

Keep it heartfelt

Get the full report from Voxburner’s website.


5 apps on your phone you use the most

Blinkist, Uber, Slack, Waze, Ebay

4 people you’d like to invite round for dinner

Oprah, Elon Musk, Brack Obama and Daniel Barenboim.

3 words to describe what it’s like working for Voxburner

Foot on pedal

2 places/events in the world you’d really love to visit but haven’t been able to yet

Argentina and Canada

1 social media platform you love more than any of the others


Find out more

Simon Eder is the founder of Voxburner. You can find him on LinkedIn. You can also find the Youth Trends Report 2018 on Voxburner’s website. Also, make sure you sign up to Voxburner’s excellent weekly trends update newsletter.

Thanks to #ASDIE18

The Native Podcast is brought to you by ASDIE, the Annual Summit for Digital Innovation in Education, which takes place in London on Thursday 19 July. Book your ticket now, and use the code POD10 to get a 10% discount!


The Native Podcast is hosted and produced by Dave Musson, our editor-in-chief.

Our music is by Broke For Free and is used under Creative Commons.

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