While news about social media trends should usually be taken with a grain of salt, there may just be something to all the reports that teenagers are abandoning Facebook in favor of Instagram (also owned by Facebook). The latest survey data comes from investment bank Piper Jaffray, which polled U.S. teens about their social media usage in September, and compared the results with a previous survey in March.
Reflecting how fickle social media preferences can be, in just six months teens’ self-reported usage behaviors in the Piper Jaffray polls changed dramatically. The shift was especially noticeable for Facebook, with the proportion of teens who said they use the social network tumbling from 72% in the spring to 45% in the fall of this year. Meanwhile the proportion who said they use Instagram increased from 69% to 76% over the same period.
Other social networks also experienced declining usage: the proportion of teens who said they use Twitter fell from 63% to 59%, and the proportion who said they use Google+ plunged from 29% to 12%. Pinterest experienced modest growth, from 21% to 22%, and Reddit edged up from 4% to 7%, while Tumblr remained flat at 21%.
As noted, this is just the latest in a series of reports suggesting that teens’ social media preferences are shifting rapidly away from Facebook -- but in the interests of objectivity, it should be noted there’s also evidence to the contrary.
In July a survey of teens by Niche.com found that 61% of teens say they use Facebook every day, compared to 51% for Instagram, 46% for Snapchat, and 35% for Twitter. Google+, Vine, and Pinterest were all even further down the totem pole in the Niche.com survey.
Similarly a report from Forrester Research, drawing on data from its 2014 North American Consumer Technographics Youth Survey, found that 78% of teens are using Facebook, with 46% saying they were using it more than they were last year, and 28% saying they use it “all the time.” According to Forrester Instagram is used by just over half of teens, Twitter is used by less than half of teens, and Snapchat is used by 38%.
In conclusion: um, take your pick?