16th November 2023

Unlocking the Power of Social Platforms: New Snapchat and Mindshare Research Reveals How to Maximize Audience Resonance

Mindshare and Snapchat Partner to Examine Key Emotional Needs for Audiences and How Different Platforms Deliver on Them

NEW YORK—NOVEMBER 16, 2023—Mindshare, the media services company that is a part of WPP, and technology company Snapchat, have partnered on new research on how consumers engage across different social platforms—and the subconscious associations with each one. 

The study was conducted in two parts, with a quantitative survey of more than 28,000 adults globally. The first part, developed by Mindshare’s Worldwide Data Strategy and Insight team examined consumers’ daily social media behaviors. The second half, developed by Mindshare's NeuroLab team (the agency's in-house neuroscience department), dove deeper into consumers’ unconscious preferences and their emotional associations and perceptions of different platforms.

The study's findings revealed a compelling segmentation of social media behavior, resulting in the identification of six distinct platform "need states" governing users' behaviors: 

  • Exploring (22%): Openness to new experiences and discovering new places 
  • Learning (16%): Finding happiness in expanding knowledge
  • Progression (15%): Desire to build your future and move up in the world
  • Joy (19%): Specifically looking for fun, upbeat moments and experiences
  • Hanging Out/Time Waste (15%): Passing the time in their day-to-day lives  
  • Connection (13%): Using social technology to share their lives with family and friends

These need states exhibited significant variations across different markets, reflecting the cultural nuances of each region. For instance, the United Kingdom and the United States predominantly perceive social media as a space to be entertained, while emerging markets like India regard it as a source of progression. In Turkey, the Netherlands, and France, the emphasis lies on exploration and learning. In Germany, consumers primarily view platforms as tools for changing opinions.

“A few simple but powerful needs underpin all social behaviour. They are to explore, learn, to connect, to progress, to have fun or just to waste time. This knowledge is the key to unlocking the true power of social media,” says Glen Parker, Head of Data Strategy and Insights, Mindshare Worldwide.

Mindshare and Snapchat also correlated these need states with generational preferences and social platforms, offering invaluable insights into engaging diverse audiences. For example, the research showed that 24% of Gen Z value Progression—the highest percentage of all the need states for that generation—whereas only 4% of the Post War generation (defined as ages 78-98) found Progression relevant to them—the lowest percentage of all the need states for that generation. In contrast, the needs for Connection and Joy progressed with age. But the desires for Learning, Exploring, and Hanging Out were consistent across generations. 

As part of the study, Mindshare's NeuroLab conducted Implicit Association Testing (IAT) to quantify consumers’ subconscious beliefs. This part of the research aimed to understand the behaviors that set 10 well-known social platforms apart, enabling the alignment of consumer needs with platform strengths and behaviors. For example, audiences most associated Snapchat with learning, promoting, and delivering feelings of joy; they most associated Instagram with exploration and receiving recognition from others; and they most associated LinkedIn with building connections and cultivating careers. 

“Each social platform offers unique capabilities to address audience preferences, making it critical to consider this diversity when selecting partners for a campaign,” said Terence Scroope, Executive Director, Customer Strategy at Mindshare. “By tailoring media strategies to align with the unique need states of each platform, we can build programs that truly resonate with different audiences and make a meaningful impact across a wide range of markets." 

“We know that Snapchatters feel more connected and pay more attention to the content they're seeing on our platform because they're engaging with their trusted circle of close friends and family,” said Alexander Dao, Global Head of Agency Development & Sales Partnerships, Snap Inc. “The findings from our research with Mindshare reinforce the fact that the joy Snapchatters feel when using the app influence how they view business messages in a positive way, ultimately driving business outcomes for brands.” 


Mindshare and Snapchat set out to understand the key need states of audiences and how each social platform plays a unique role in delivering them. From September through December 2022, they conducted online studies with Mindshare’s Worldwide Data Strategy & Insights team. The tests included qualitative questions about social media use with research platform Audience Origin and Implicit Association Tests (IAT) run by Mindshare’s NeuroLab. In total, there were 28,000 participants, ages 18 years old or older, across 14 markets: USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Turkey, and the UAE.

About Snap Inc. 
Snap is a technology company. We believe the camera presents the greatest opportunity to improve the way people live and communicate. Snap contributes to human progress by empowering people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together. The Company’s three core products are Snapchat, a visual messaging app that enhances your relationships with friends, family, and the world; Lens Studio, an augmented reality platform that powers AR across Snapchat and other services; and its AR glasses, Spectacles. For more information, visit snap.com.

About Mindshare
Mindshare is a media services company that accelerates Good Growth for its clients in the age of transformation. The solutions we create are both Good for consumers and drive Growth for our clients. We were the first purpose-built company created by WPP and today we are 10,000 people working in 116 offices in 86 countries, helping to drive Good Growth for our clients, our people, the industry and the world. www.mindshareworld.com

Mindshare Global
    Mindshare Global