When we hear that teens are leaving Facebook for Snapchat and Instagram, we tend to jump to conclusions.
We know that children are the future.
But, does that mean that ALL of their habits will become NORMS later on?
Is everyone going to leave Facebook?!
Will middle aged people try to act like teenagers?
Or will teens grow up one day and act more like adults?
Maybe some of both…
Well, here are the facts: recently, Facebook had dominated the social media landscape among America’s youth – but it is no longer the most popular online platform among teens, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
Today, roughly half (51%) of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 say they use Facebook, notably lower than the shares who use YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat.
As online marketers, what does that mean for us?
Should we be freaking out??
Should we all leave Facebook in a mad rush to stay hip with the teenage trends?
And here’s why:
10 Reasons Not To Freak Out About What Teenagers Do On Social Media
1. Email survived millennials.
Remember when everyone thought millennials would stop using email?
Well, they didn’t.
As soon as teens entered college or the workforce, they inevitably began using email.
Same theory may be applied to social media.
The online behavior of today’s teens will change as they adapt to:
– other generations
– the workforce
– mainstream society
Teens become adults in 5-10 years, so don’t stress about the current youth’s habits too much.
2. There are still more teenagers on Facebook than Instagram.
Our data below comes from Facebook Audience Insights and Facebook Ad Manager.
This is freely available, live data on 230 million monthly American users. At should be noted that this data comes from actual online activity, not from a survey with all the usual flaws of market research.
The Facebook Ad Manager data also includes Instagram data, since Facebook owns Instagram and the ad platform allows you to advertise on Instagram.
If we look at ages 13-21, there are:
– 22 million users on Facebook
– 20 million users on Instagram
And ages 18-24:
– 35 million users on Facebook
– 29 million users on Instagram.
This gap continues to widen with age.
Young people may be using Instagram and Snapchat more, but there are still a huge number of teens on Facebook.
If you market to youth segments, you should market and advertise on all three of these platforms.
3. Instagram is awesome!
The younger people are, the more likely they are to be on BOTH Facebook and Instagram, and this is definitely the case with teens.
According to PEW, 72% of teens say they use Instagram, which is great.
If teenagers go to Instagram, as a marketer, it’s no problem. We can still market to them on Instagram itself and via Facebook Ad Manager.
4. Snapchat could become a great place to market in the future.
Snapchat’s disappearing messages have become a primary means of communication for teens.
It was built on the appeal that photos and messages expire and disappear.
Are these viable places to market? Yes.
Currently, marketing on Snapchat is more expensive than Facebook or Instagram, but it may become a great place to advertise in the future.
5. Teens also love online gaming.
A large majority of teens – both boys and girls – play video games.
This creates loads of potential online marketing opportunities.
There’s a whole world of online gaming out there.
It may also become a great place to advertise in the future!
6 Stay in the present. Market now.
Everyone knows the future is imminent and inevitable.
What we know to be true today may not be the case tomorrow because our world is constantly changing.
Instead of worrying every day about the landscape of online behavior, (“What’s going to happen?!”) just be aware of trends.
Stay in the now.
7. Remember, 13-17 year olds don’t live in the real world.
Spend less time worrying about the affairs of teens.
They’re in high school.
They live in a bubble at their parents’ house.
Their lives haven’t been overtaken by jobs, paying bills and responsibilities just yet.
Their habits will change as they begin to interact with other generations.
8. Teens are online all the time.
When did you get your first smartphone? Probably not when you were 13.
According to a the Pew Research Center survey, fully 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, and 45% say they are online ‘almost constantly’.
That percentage has nearly doubled in just a few years! In 2014-2015, only 24% of teens said the same.
Kind of scary, but times are changing.
Are teens part of your target audience?
If so, they’re always connected.
9. Are you even marketing to teenagers?
Are teens a major part of your target audience?
If not, then you REALLY shouldn’t be freaking out.
Give them a decade and they’ll become part of your audience.
Both sides will have adjusted to trends, new technologies, other generations, and best/new marketing practices by then.
Which leads me to my final reason not to freak out…
10. We’ll adapt!
As marketers and humans, we’ll adapt. That’s what we do.
Through print, radio, TV, and now online, we’ve adapted.
So stop stressing! We’ll figure it out together. 🙂
Carly has been working in social media and marketing since 2010. She enjoys watching documentaries, taking photos, and having tea and toast in the morning.