Why Teens [Heart Emoji] Instagram

It’s no secret that teens love to document their lives and consume others’ on Instagram. Drawing from a survey in spring 2015, teens identified Instagram as the “most important” social network out there. To prove just how important teens find this medium, take a look at these eye-opening stats from Instagram users, ages 13 to 24:

  • 53% say Instagram helped “define who they were”
  • 33% say they check Instagram first thing in the morning
  • 39% say it’s the last thing they do before falling asleep at night
  • 68% admit to engaging with brands regularly on this medium

Back up – that last statistic should have really caught your attention. Since Instagram’s launch in 2010, users have evolved to fully accepting and welcoming brands into their feeds. This makes sense specifically for brands that are creating a lifestyle surrounding fashion/beauty, food, television/films, hobbies and music. 



But, why? 

I enlisted my 17-year-old, Instagram-loving cousin, Abby, to generate these three reasons why teens love Instagram and in turn, why brands should love the medium to connect with this audience.

1. It’s Mobile Friendly

Teens live on their smartphones. In 2015, 94% of teens with these phones were found to go online daily or more often. Wow. Considering Instagram was built as a mobile app and even still to this day, has a very limited platform access via desktop, this medium is a marketing no-brainer. Especially for e-commerce brands who are looking to increase mobile sales; which leads us to the next reason…

2. You Can Turn Users Directly into Customers

First and foremost: Abby follows brands on Instagram to get fashion and lifestyle inspiration. In fact, she claims that she has frequently purchased items from the brands she follows solely because she liked the picture they posted featuring the product. 

Since Instagram encourages brands to communicate a lifestyle, it’s easier for customers to visualize products on themselves, or in their lives. Instagram gives context and life to products that may sit flat on a website product page and encourages customers to make the purchase. 

Some may argue that this is not true because (for now) brands can’t put clickable links within Instagram posts to drive conversions. However, third-party apps, like Like2Buy have solved this issue by allowing brands to pull their Instagram photos onto one landing page that links users to corresponding product pages. See the example below from Old Navy.


3. It’s Constantly Updating and Adding Cool New Features

This is actually a pretty important reason for brands trying to reach teens because being able to keep up with them shows you are one of them. In order to successfully market to teens on Instagram, brands need to become publishers.  Marketing tactics such as using popular blogger influencers, lifestyle photography and hashtags are important, but mean nothing if you can’t deliver content the same way their friends are in their feeds. 

The latest update on Instagram this week? The ability to hashtag emojis. More and more, people are communicating on Instagram solely via emoji. Abby says that using emojis are important because they help people understand the photo better than text; everyone reads the tone of a written message differently, but an emoji is universally understood. Combining the search ability and visibility hashtags provide with the popularity of emojis among teen users, this new update is genius. Check out the example below from Refinery29.

See why teens love Instagram so much? The most important takeaway for marketers is to understand that this generation actually wants you to become a part of their every day lives. The best way to do that is by creating a brand presence that blends in as one of their own peers.

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