Looking at the "Why" Behind behind Different Social Media Apps


If you’re like the majority of the 2 billion people who use social media, it’s probably become almost robotic for you to reach for your phone during even the shortest moment of downtime. ICYMI, social media is playing a huge role in our daily emotions. Understanding what your audience is feeling when they reach for their phone to browse social media can help you intentionally curate content to suit that mood.

There are subconscious reasons we reach for our phone as we scroll through our favorite social media apps, and each one has a different emotional context. Our world is fast-paced and it’s rare that we take the time to stop and check in with how our digital habits make us feel. That’s why Snapchat partnered with Murphy Research to understand the “why” behind different social media apps.

In a study of 1,005 app users between the ages of 13-44, the research shed light on why people choose to use apps and how each of those apps makes them feel. Why is this study relevant? Well, for starters it’s good to stay informed about why you’re emotionally driven to using certain apps and what emotional connection you’re craving at the time.

Snapchat is for conversations between close friends, as well as for playing with Filters and Lenses. Twitter is for keeping up with current events or following discussions. YouTube is for learning about new products or topics of interest. Facebook is for keeping up with family and events. Instagram is for influencer and celebrity content.
— Murphy Research Study

Let’s take a deeper look at some of these findings:


It was found that Instagram users are seeking the app to feel creative, inspired and entertained. It’s used primarily for sharing photos and videos, engaging with other users and following influencers or brands. This is important to keep in mind when posting for your brand and why a good looking feed is extremely important.


Users on Facebook use the app to connect with family and friends and learn about events. Another use for Facebook that’s also becoming popular is the community that develops within Facebook groups. Facebook users are hopping on the app when they want to feel connected and informed.


Snapchat is known for its fun, carefree atmosphere, and that’s exactly what the findings suggested. Snapchat users are flirtatious, creative and spontaneous. They use the app as a communication tool and enjoying playing with the filters and lenses that lend to their creative side.


With its short-form content, Twitter was found to be the leading platform for news and current events. Twitter users are on the app to share their views and opinions as well as learn about trending topics.  

The study also found that timing and location affect app usage. Snapchat and Twitter are most often used when someone is on the go, while Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are used for more relaxed browsing. If you’ve ever scrolled through the Instagram “Explore” channel for hours on end you can probably relate!

Having a good comprehension of how apps impact your daily life will allow you to make sure your social media usage is intentional and valuable. The pros and cons of social media usage are controversial, so as a business you want to make sure you’re posting content that will have a positive impact on your audience. Be mindful of the different feelings that each platform evoke when choosing your content.

Story by: Sophie Duncan