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10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Freak Out About What Teenagers Are Doing On Social Media

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.

We are the world…

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?

NO.

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.

(via 99Designs)

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.

(via Business insider)


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. :)

It’s going to be okay!

Gen Z Jobs, Advertising and Social Media Behavior

Gen Z is coming. Gen Z is here.

Millennials have been a big challenge to employers, just as every new generation is. We are still grappling with that, and now Gen Z is coming right behind them.

Who are they? How are they different?

I don’t want to make the mistake with Gen Z many made with Millennials.

It took a decade to overcome bad Millennial stereotypes and accept that everyone is unique.

Let’s stick to the facts and treat everyone like a real person.

Also, Gen Z is young (anyone born from 1997 on), and when looking at any generation in their youth, we should always consider:

  • How much of what they’re doing is what young people do, and how much is truly characteristic of their generation?
  • How much of their behavior will change as they adapt to other generations, the workforce and mainstream society?
  • How much will change as they age and their priorities change due to work, marriage, children and family?

We can look at Gen Z’s 18-21 year olds, the ones in the workforce.

As you can see from those age ranges, a lot of Gen Z have not even had a chance to finish college yet.

A lot will change for them over the next 5-10 years.

Facebook Insights & Facebook Ad Manager Data on Gen Z

This data comes from the Facebook Audience Insights and the Facebook Ad Manager. The reason I use this is that it’s freely available, live data on 230 million monthly American users.

A lot of it comes from their regular life and online activity, not from an artificial survey with all the usual flaws of market research.

The Facebook Ad Manager data includes Instagram data, since Facebook owns Instagram and the ad platform allows you to advertise on Instagram.

Gen Z Job Titles

There are above average numbers of Gen Z working in these job areas:

  • Food and restaurants
  • Sales
  • Farming, fishing and forestry
  • Protective services
  • Military
  • Personal and home care services
  • Transportation and moving
  • Administrative services

There are below average numbers of Gen Z in these job areas:

  • Government
  • Computation and math
  • IT and tech
  • Business and finance
  • Community and social service
  • Architecture and engineering

In this particular list, you see mostly jobs that require a college degree, for which Gen Z is currently too young. These likely will change a lot within 5 years when a they’re out of college.

Gen Z Social Media Behavior

Gen Z share posts at the same rate as other generations. Sharing is a positive action that says, “I accept your lifestyle or attitude or idea and want to affirm and spread it.”

Something that’s interesting about Gen Z social media behavior is that they’re less likely to write text comments on posts than other generations. This may be related to a desire for privacy.

Gen Z and Advertisements

Gen Z like fewer posts and click on fewer ads than previous generations.

It’s possible that advertisers aren’t advertising much to Gen Z and haven’t learned how to do it well.

Advertisers tend to advertise to people with money, or influencers of the sale- there has been hesitation to advertise even to Millennials, since Gen X and Boomers still have most of the money- let alone Gen Z, who is barely entering the workforce. Millennials sometimes say they don’t like to “be targeted,” and Gen Z may feel the same way.

This is going to require clever marketing content and adaptation to a new generation. I doubt this has been addressed yet, because most companies are still struggling to fully adapt their marketing to Millennials, let alone to Gen Z.

Gen Z Device Usage, Smartphone Usage and Computer Usage

In terms of device preferences, as you might expects, they prefer smartphones over computers or iPads. Even more interesting, the Gen Z on Facebook prefer iPhones over Androids.

If we look at Facebook vs Instagram users, we can look at ages 13-21.

  • There are 22 million on Facebook
  • There are 20 million on Instagram
  • So, the numbers are fairly equal, with a slight edge to Facebook. Gen Z is the only generation this close. When you look at 18-24 year olds, there are 35 million on FB and 29 million on IG. There are 55 million 25-34 year olds on FB and 40 million on IG. The gap widens with age.

The younger people are, the more likely they are to be on BOTH Facebook and Instagram, and this is definitely the case with Gen Z.

For more on that, read this article.