We scroll. We swipe. We friend. We share our faces. We share our lives. We share…driving behaviors?
- Facebook was the most popular social network, garnering support from almost half of all users surveyed
- Married and home-owning respondents preferred no social network over more youth-oriented platforms like Instagram and Snapchat
- Students were far less likely to name Facebook as their favorite platform in the face of Instagram and Snapchat—signaling a significant generational shift
- Respondents with bachelor’s or post-grad degrees were more likely to move away from Facebook and Snapchat
- Truck drivers preferred Facebook to Instagram at an almost 3x higher rate
- No significant correlation was found between driver behavior and social media preference
At this point, there’s no denying that social media has an indelible presence in our personal lives. Whether you’re a bona fide Instagram influencer, a scroll-happy teen, a dark-web dweller, or a Pinterest mom (you know who you are), chances are that you’ve spent an unprecedented amount of time online last year. According to MarketWatch’s coverage of a recent Nielsen report, the average American spends about 11 hours a day staring at screens—a heretofore unprecedented figure. That’s a lot of not-so-ambient light. And eye strain. And knuckle cracking.
But does it translate to how we behave on the road? Curious as to whether online preferences could have any tangible impact on driver behavior, the data scientists at Insurify set out to determine if there was any relationship between the social media landscape and the drivers who love (or hate) it. Do these insights confirm or debunk the stereotypes we hold about social media usership? And more importantly, when are any of you going to slide into our DMs? Our inboxes are lonely.
Here’s what the data team found.
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The data scientists at Insurify, an auto insurance comparison website, collected data from their database of over 1.5 million car insurance applications, which ask questions about driving history, vehicle type, and other personal data from the past seven years. Some shoppers were also surveyed at random about their favorite social media platform. From the response data, Insurify’s data team was able to determine the significant differences in reported driver behavior (and other data) between respondents.
#SocialMediaPreferences: How Does the Data Stack Up?
1. What’s trending?
Here are the results of the survey, ranked by popularity across all respondents:
- Facebook: 49.3%
- None: 26.7%
- Instagram: 9.3%
- Snapchat: 4.6%
- Pinterest: 3.6%
- Other: 3.5%
- Twitter: 1.9%
- Reddit: 1.2%
No matter the constant barrage of controversy that’s been plaguing the site for years now, Facebook still reigned supreme in the final survey. And users didn’t just “like” it—it was the overwhelming favorite. Nearly half of respondents admitted that the online behemoth is their favorite social networking platform.
Interest in Facebook’s photo-sharing property Instagram couldn’t overcome the large share of respondents who either reported an indifference towards social media or chose not to reveal a clear favorite platform. Rounding out the top five, Snapchat and Pinterest managed to nab a few percentage points each.
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2. Linking up.
Ah, matrimony. For those who are hitched, life is like one big “follow for follow.” The mutual engagement is just so beautiful. Talk about Linking In, are we right?
Though married respondents didn’t necessarily provide a wealth of insightful stats, there is one figure that should be noted: they preferred “none” to Snapchat at a 2.5 times higher rate. No more funny face filters or stalking ghosts from your past on the Snap Map? Maybe there’s something about walking down the aisle that changes a person.
3. Stateside and social.
Survey respondents who reported owning a domestic model as the primary vehicle on their insurance policy certainly diverged in terms of online proclivities: the greatest share of American vehicle owners were Facebook aficionados, at 58.1 percent. A mere 40.6 percent of Instagram lovers reported having a U.S.-made ride, meaning their preferences skewed more towards foreign brands.
So, could Facebook fanaticism and support of the American auto industry be more tightly correlated than we’d guess? Facebook lovers owned American vehicles at a 1.2 times higher rate than the average of all remaining respondents. In particular, those who reported preferring Facebook owned a domestic vehicle at a 1.4 times higher rate than those who preferred Instagram.
At the risk of indulging in stereotypes, it can be surmised that guys and gals have different online habits. Did our data claim the same?
Those identifying as male were 1.9 times more likely to prefer any alternative—even no social network at all—to Pinterest. The same goes for Facebook, where males were 1.2 times more likely to prefer any other platform, or none.
Overall, 56.3 percent of those respondents who responded “none” identified as male. By that logic, we found that reported social media usership—or at least proclivities for certain platforms—skews slightly female. Of course, that doesn’t mean that men aren’t catching up. Aren’t we all entitled to a little online indulgence, gender notwithstanding?
5. Where’s your homepage?
Home ownership is a major financial and personal step forward in anyone’s life, so it’s no wonder that it’s commonly associated with #adulting.
As such, users who reported owning a home under their name were more inclined to report no social media preference. They responded “none” at a 1.8 times higher rate than they would prefer Instagram, and at a 2.6 times higher rate for Snapchat. Could it be that these apps, notoriously popular among younger crowds, are destined to be prized only by the mortgage-less?
Renters, leasers, and those without houses beware! General ambivalence towards the social mediasphere might be in your future. Homeowners were, overall, 1.3 times more likely to report no favorite platform.
6. How about those digital natives?
The times, they are-a changin’. At least they are when it comes to being a young person online. Where Facebook was once the mother of the 21st-century social-network explosion among tech-savvy teens and undergrads alike, it’s now looking more like the grandmother.
Respondents who identified as “students” were 2.7 times more likely to prefer Snapchat to Facebook, and 1.9 times more likely to prefer Instagram to Facebook.
Only 9.8 percent of students reported that they had no favorite social media platform (compare that to 26.7 percent for all respondents). Whether or not students of all ages are more comfortable with their online lives than their “real” ones (spare your think pieces, baby boomers!), it can be argued that they at least have particular preferences when it comes to curating their personal content.
7. Bachelor’s in (off-the-grid) paradise.
But what comes after those halcyon school days? Respondents with bachelor’s degrees proved that one’s social media universe in the modern age can really change after the grad caps have flown.
Only 14 percent of respondents with a bachelor’s degree (or more advanced degree) counted Facebook as their platform of choice—a far cry from the 49.3 percent preference among all respondents. As such, these distinguished diploma holders were 1.6 times more likely to prefer anything else (even no network at all) over Facebook.
Similarly, these respondents were 2.9 times more likely to choose no favorite network over Snapchat. Once again, snaps seem to be considered just kid’s stuff.
8. Trucking through the timeline.
The image of a truck driver comes with its own stereotypical associations. But it seems as though truck drivers aren’t posting images of themselves! Among all respondents who own a truck—as opposed to a conventional car—one figure stood out as an almost conscious repudiation of a certain social platform.
Truck owners were 2.8 times more likely to prefer Facebook to Instagram, and 2.9 times more likely to prefer nothing to that same app. Americana-inspired, sepia-filtered posts of you lounging in the back of a pickup be darned.
Of course, the tide could always turn. Who knows? Maybe soon all those influencers will be posting sponsored content in their Chevy Silverados.
So what’s the takeaway?
When it came down to the ultimate question on our minds—did driving behavior at all correlate with social media preference?—the initial answer seemed to be a resounding “no.” Accident rates, speeding tickets, DUIs—it seems there was no measurable relationship between these variables and our social platforms of choice.
Perhaps this is a harbinger for safer driving in the future—after all, we know the consequences of Snapchatting and driving or Tweeting under the influence. However, there are major correlations between social networks of choice and identity markers (be they generational, educational, or otherwise personal). And time and time again we’ve seen how factors like age, gender, and location can impact insurance rates, which are partially determined by observable trends in driving behavior.
Be sure to share this article on your app, website, or platform of choice. Just try not to start any online arguments in the process, okay?