A Closer Look at: Millennials and Housing Preferences

Everyone is trying to decode Millennials today and find out what makes them tick. At Lab42, we understand that purchasing behavior has always been a primary focus, but to better understand Millennials, we feel it is important to dig even deeper into the demographics and psychographics to uncover what drives their behaviors. For that reason, we continue to conduct ongoing studies targeted toward this generation on topics that are wide-reaching and impactful, and most recently, we conducted a study on housing preferences and behaviors.

Specifically, when it comes to Millennials and housing, we wanted to determine their current level of satisfaction, the motivation behind their decision to rent or own, and their intentions for the future.

What we found is that despite the most recent economic recession, Millennials are highly satisfied with their current living arrangements across the board – from home owners to renters to those living in a place for free (i.e. with parents or friends). According to our study, 95 percent of Millennial homeowners report being satisfied with their decision to buy a house, with 73 percent saying they are very satisfied. Though homeowners report the highest levels of satisfaction, 82 percent of renters reported similar satisfaction, along with 72 percent of those who do not pay rent.

Satisfaction Millennials and Housing

Despite renters’ current satisfaction, 44 percent of renters plan to buy before 2018, while 25 percent plan to buy in 2018 or later. Younger Millennials, ages 18-24, are twice as likely to be among those planning to purchase in 2018 or later.

Overall, Millennials find their housing payments to be affordable, likely contributing to their level of satisfaction. Eighty-nine percent said they are either ‘very affordable’ or ‘affordable’, with homeowners slightly more likely (94%) than renters (84%) to find their payments affordable. A gender difference was also apparent, with men more likely than women to think their payments are affordable (93% vs. 84%).

The study also revealed differences in rationale behind Millennials’ decisions to rent or purchase a home. Among renters, the most popular reasons to rent were that it was more affordable (52%) and offers flexibility in where they can live (39%). Among Millennial homeowners, the number one reason for owning is that it lets them live in an area they want to live (42%), followed closely by it being more affordable (36%) and making more financial sense than renting (35%).  A higher percentage of women than men cited “it makes more financial sense” as a top reason (42% vs. 26%), while more men said that the duration of their stay in the area was one of their top three reasons for owning (26% vs. 15%).

Top Reasons Millennials and Housing

For even more on Millennials and housing, download the topline report here.


The Lab42 survey was fielded among 500 Millennials in the United States, ages 18-34, from March 28-31, 2014. Respondents identified their living arrangements, comprising the following breakdown: Owners (44%), Renters (39%), Live in a place I do not pay rent (14%), and Live in a residence hall or dormitory (3%).

You Don’t Need Spin to Tell a Story

Many of our clients in the PR and marketing space come to us looking to get media attention and bolster their clients’ visibility.

To better serve our own clients, we do our best to stay in the loop on current industry trends. To that end, I recently read an enlightening perspective on how the PR and marketing industry is changing in the new book, Spin Sucks, by Gini Dietrich (inspired by the blog of the same name).

Spin Sucks

At Lab42, we agree that spin sucks, which is why we encourage our clients to use data and insights in their pitches, both for media and new business. Not only does data validate your client’s story–it also gives reporters fresh content to work with.

The book is full of actionable best practices for the changing landscape and includes several examples to illustrate those practices. Here are my top three takeaways from Spin Sucks. I chose these with PR firms (and their clients) in mind, but these practices really apply to all businesses:

1. Your brand is how customers feel about you. Your client’s brand is how they want to be perceived by their customers, whether it’s through messaging, social media presence, or a website. But if you aren’t cognizant of how your client’s customers really feel, things can go awry quickly, which leads us to…

2. Understand what your customers think about you. When was the last time you spoke to your client’s actual customers about why they buy from them and why they choose them over a competitor? You or your client may think you know these things, but we guarantee you’ll gain new insight into your clients’ customers by asking them directly.

3. Be pro-active about what you can control. When it comes to media relations, you can’t really control the situation. But what you can control is how much research you put into a pitch and if that pitch supports and validates your client’s message.

If you’re looking for a little more info, check out the book preview below or buy the book here!


How Do You Get Media Attention? Use Data.

Recently, I saw an article on PRNewser that offered four ways to get reporters to read your email. The tips are certainly helpful, but once you’ve caught their eye, how do you get media attention for your clients? In other words, what type of content are reporters looking for?

The answer is simple: data. Reporters and media outlets need data and insights to tell a better story that their audience wants to read.

How Do You Get Media Attention? Use DataSo how do you get your hands on this data in order to provide it to them in your pitch? You probably think you have one of two options: 1) scour the Internet for relevant stats that already exist or 2) conduct a free survey on a DIY survey platform.

As a former PR pro myself, I remember these seeming like the only options, and frankly, they are limiting. When you piece together random stats for a pitch, it doesn’t quite tell your story in the right way. On the other hand, when you conduct a survey through a DIY platform like Survey Monkey among your network of family and friends, the data itself is usually biased, and the data quality is hit or miss, at best.

The great news is that you can generate your own unique, customized data (i.e. insights and stats) by conducting research among respondents who are unbiased and within your target audience. I realize this may sound intimidating, but stay with me.

At Lab42, we want to help you develop a survey that meets your needs (whether we write it or help you edit an existing survey). Then by tapping into our extensive, ever-growing pool of fresh respondents, we use social media to connect with nearly any target audience, including the general US population, moms, Millennials, and much more. Depending on the target audience, you’ll get results within 3-5 days.

After all, we know how the news cycle works– when you need data, you need it fast. We’re here to help you generate data that catches a reporter’s eye and validates your client’s story. The end result is press coverage and happy clients.

The best part is that you never have to feel “stuck” again when your client is looking to get some media attention but doesn’t have a big newsworthy story in the pipeline. The data you gather from your own survey can be turned into compelling insights and stats for any outreach effort, whether it’s a press release, general email pitch, or even blog posts and social media updates. Here’s an example of how our own research and infographic on Pinterest & the Holidays were picked up by CNBCThe New York Times Style Magazine and Washington Post

Extra credit

Going beyond press outreach, you could gain a deeper understanding of your client’s customer base through your own research. Taking it one step further, imagine the excitement of a prospective client if you showed up to a new business pitch with fresh insight into their customer base. They’d certainly be curious (if not dying!) to learn more.

If you would like to learn more, we’d love to hear from you! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at info@lab42.com.

Super Bowl Social Media Trends in 2014

Whether you love the ads, the game, or the party food, Super Bowl Sunday is often one of the most highly anticipated days of the year. Despite our great expectations for what we thought would have been one of the best Super Bowls ever, the game itself didn’t really deliver. But that didn’t stop viewers from tweeting, texting and posting.

In our latest study, we spoke to Super Bowl XLVIII viewers immediately following the game’s conclusion, and what we discovered is that Super Bowl social media usage increased as the blowout game went on. Eighty-five percent of respondents watched the game until the very end, and 44 percent of respondents said their social media activity increased, while 41 percent said their usage remained the same throughout the game. Facebook was the most popular social network used, with 83 percent saying they used it the most during the game, followed by Twitter at 11 percent. Among Facebook and Twitter users, 35 percent used a hashtag during the game.

As a result, viewers used multiple devices beyond just their TVs, with 83 percent using a “second screen” during the game. When it comes to devices they used the most, smartphones and laptops are nearly tied: 30 percent said they used their smartphones the most, while 29 percent preferred their laptops, followed by tablets (14%) and desktop computers (10%).

Second-screen activities varied, with 38 percent using their preferred device to post about a commercial on social media, while the exact same amount (38%) posted about the game. We also discovered that viewers were more likely to visit a brand’s social network site after seeing its ad during the game (22%) than the brand’s website (17%). They were also twice as likely to share a link to an ad via social media than email.

With each 30-second ad spot costing $4 million, viewers waited for commercials with baited breath. Eighty-four percent were excited for the commercials prior to the game, and over half (54%) feel brands should release their commercials online in advance. To that end, about one-third (32%) watched the commercials online before the game, and nearly the same amount (30%) re-watched a commercial after it aired on TV, with 56 percent re-watching the ad online, more than those who used their DVRs (29%).


Ultimately, 40 percent said commercials were their favorite part of the Super Bowl. Seventy-nine percent rated the commercials favorably, with 39 percent saying they were “excellent.”

Our study also uncovered the following key nuggets:

  • The favorite celebrity cameo was the Full House reunion of John Stamos, Bob Saget, and Dave Coulier in the Dannon Oikos commercial (16%). Ellen DeGeneres came in a close second for Beats Music (12%) followed by The Muppets and Terry Crews for Toyota Highlander (11.5%) and Tim Tebow for T-Mobile (11.5%).

  • Thirty-five percent said the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ performance was the highlight of the half-time show, while 32 percent preferred Bruno Mars’ performance of “Just the Way You Are.”
  • Fifty-three percent said commercials shown during Super Bowl XLVIII were more creative than ads shown during the rest of the year, while 43 percent said they were more memorable.
  • Twenty percent downloaded or plan to download U2’s “Invisible,” while 67 percent didn’t plan to download and 13 percent didn’t see the commercial.
  • Sixty-five percent said social media has made the Super Bowl better in the last 10 years.

Even for brands who cannot afford the $4 million spot, social media is a viable avenue to make a splash, as demonstrated by brands like New Castle Brown Ale whose viral campaign captured the attention of millions.


The Lab42 survey was fielded among 500 adults in the United States, ages 18 and up, who watched Super Bowl XLVIII. The survey was conducted upon the conclusion of Super XLVIII, from February 2-3, 2014.


Infographic Best Practices: 3 Ways to Shape Your Story

Have you been mulling infographics for a while, trying to decide if it’s the right ingredient for your business or maybe an upcoming campaign for a client? We’ve created a lot of infographics in our time, and I can speak first-hand to their unique ability to tell a story in a brand new way when they are executed properly.

But let’s face it, infographics are only effective if people are engaged with your material and message. The last thing you want to do is create an infographic containing confusing data, as it often results in a lackluster story that no one wants to read or share. To ensure your infographic gets as many eyeballs on it as possible, make sure your story is succinct and strong before diving into the actual design process with these three infographic best practices:

storytellingTalk it out: With your infographic data points in front of you, explain your story out loud. Pay attention to the order in which you tell it, and consider outlining your infographic in a similar manner. It may help you determine if you are forgetting any relevant data. If you are missing key points, you can always do a little more digging online to see if the data already exists. If it doesn’t, consider executing a survey that reaches your target audience (this way, you get to ask the exact questions you need answered). Talking it out also helps you realize if you’re including too much data. It’s best to remove irrelevant data points before the design process begins, so they aren’t factored in to the general layout of the infographic.

Map it out: Once you’ve determined that you have the right data points on hand to create the best story possible, map out your infographic with a good old-fashioned outline. We’ve found this to be the best way to organize your content before jumping into the design work.  It can be as detailed as you like, and you also may find it helpful to approach it like a key message framework with sub-bullets (data points) supporting your main message. Here’s a basic outline to get you started:

    • Title/header
    • Subheader (optional)
    • Section 1 Header/Key message
    • Section 1 Supporting Data Points
    • Section 2 Header/Key message (may include transition between section 1 and 2)
    • Section 2 Supporting Data Points
    • Section 3 Header/Key message (may include transition between section 2 and 3)
    • Section 3 Supporting Data Points
    • [Continue sections as necessary]
    • Key Takeaway/Call to Action
    • Sources

    If you need more ideas on how to map it out, take a look at other infographics for inspiration.

    Get an outsider’s perspective: Show your outline to a few people unfamiliar with your story and ask them to share what they took away from it. Their perspective will shed light on what content is absolutely necessary and where you are including unnecessary details. Most importantly, this step helps you determine if your infographic stands alone as a document that doesn’t need a lot of outside context to explain it, which is necessary if you’re hoping to use it for press or media coverage. You sometimes have little control over how much context the reporter provides, but you can specify the content within the infographic itself.

    Check out more infographic best practices here, or get in touch with us directly. We’d love to hear from you!