4 Networks That are Making Their Mark With College Kids

By Alex Benton

As 64 college basketball teams ready themselves for the NCAA tournament, how will the students at these universities be communicating with each other on social media? Over the past 3 years, the number of teenagers using Facebook has declined by 25%, opening the door for smaller social networks to grab a piece of the market share. Could some of these networks potentially make a run at the #1 seeds of social media?

Below are the possible Cinderella stories. Here are 4 networks that are making their mark with college kids:

1. Snapchat

According to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, people share 400 million “snaps” each day. That’s more than Facebook users are uploading photos! Additionally, a recent scouting report by Sumpto found that 77% of college students are using Snapchat at least once per day, while 73% said that they would open a snap from a brand they had a preexisting relationship with. GlobalWebIndex recently deduced that 10% of teens globally are using the service, making it bigger than Pinterest, Vine, WeChat, Line and LinkedIn among that demographic, validating its decision to turn down a $3 billion "recruiting letter" from Facebook. This newcomer from Venice Beach has a huge upside going forward.

Upset odds: 11/2

SEE ALSO: NCAA Recruitment in Ten Seconds or Less

2. Vine

When Instagram inserted 15-second videos into its offensive playbook back in June, people were quick to write off Vine’s chances of social media glory. The app's  run-and-gun six-second video feature looked like it might be chased off the court, as pundits raced to their keyboards to write the obituary on their promising rookie. What happened, however, was amazing to watch. Fueled by its up-tempo-style offense, Vine tripled its audience in just two months, and active teen users grew by 639%, according to research conducted by Global WebIndex.

Upset odds: 8/1

3. Whisper

In January, New York magazine described Whisper, the anonymous secret-sharing app, as a “juggernaut” that is taking over teenage confessionals. This upstart out of L.A is putting up numbers that validates this narrative, including an amazing 3.5 billion page views per month. In addition to that, its users, 90% of whom are aged between 18-24, are spending an average of 25 minutes per day on the app. With statistics like this, Whisper will hardly be a secret for long.

Upset odds: 15/1

4. Blend

Founded in May 2013, the new kids on campus are looking to take advantage of the declining number of teenagers on Facebook by developing a social network where parents, grandparents, and future employers are nowhere to be seen. Despite only being in beta mode, Blend already has people talking about its unique style of offense, embracing brands from the very beginning, instead of starting as a solely consumer-facing app. With over 50,000 daily users – all college students – and more than 60 brands already advertising, Blend is climbing the social media ranks very quickly.

Upset odds: 30/1


Who are your social media "bracket busters"? Share your picks in the comments below!