Teens and Facebook still friends

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Magnified illustration with the word Social Media on white background.

By Consultant Georgi Wicks

Facebook is still the number one social media platform for teens, a 2015 study has reported.

Published by Pew Research Centre in the USA Teens, Social Media and Technology Overview 2015 confirmed not only the popularity of Facebook among adolescents, but also that smartphones are facilitating the shift in communications of teens.

The noteworthy findings in this report are that 24 per cent of American teens go online “almost constantly” and this is reportedly thanks to the widespread availability of smartphones. Nearly three quarters of teens (aged 13-17) having access to smartphones, enabling 92 per cent going online daily.

Facebook is the most popular and frequently used social media platform, with half of teens interviewed also using Instagram and almost the same amount using Snapchat.

The report found girls are more inclined to login to visually orientated social media like Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest, while boys are more likely to play video games through consoles or their phone.

However, another report has found Facebook is rapidly sliding in importance among American teens, while Snapchat and Instagram are soaring. According to Piper Jaffray, that 72% of teenagers were active on Facebook as of April 2014, but had dropped to 45% by October 2014.

These conflicting findings emphasise the need to always keep one ear to the ground to keep your audience engaged by moving with them.

For those wanting to brush up on their social media knowledge and keep up to date with important changes coming your way, here’s a condensed wrap of the teen top three.

Facebook has come to be known as ‘old faithful’, it feels like it’s always been around, like an old friend, or a bad smell – you decide. Facebook and especially it’s add on Messenger application seem to be morphing into a different platform, adding payments, games, maps as well as providing context of the people contacting you. Finally in breaking Messenger news, it has been revealed that Facebook accounts won’t be mandatory to use the Messenger app – watch out SMS messages and iMessage, Facebook is chasing world messaging domination.

Instagram is a photo, or ‘moments’ sharing platform, in which users take or upload photos (with a filter) and assign the relevant #hashtag, because without the hashtag there really would be no way of knowing what the photo is representing – if a photo isn’t #trending, did it even happen at all? You might know Instagram from your last bad first date, when your prospective partner’s food went cold because they were too busy ‘memorialising’ the moment for all their friends to see.

Snapchat is a platform which enables users to send pictures or videos with short captions. Sounds pretty similar to the rest doesn’t it? But there’s a twist, it can only be viewed for a few seconds before it self-destructs. As you would expect, this platform took off and it’s no wonder it is hugely popular in the awkward adolescent age bracket. However, the secret party was over once users remembered their smartphones could take screenshots (shots of what’s on their phone’s screen at that very moment).

In the digital market, trends can change quicker than you can say ‘MySpace’ (*struggling, borderline obsolete social media platform which didn’t move with the changing social media market), meaning you need to know your audience, their behaviour and a have enough insight to have a few proactive tricks up your sleeve to ensure your brand, business or persona is not left in the wake of a new trend.

The takeaway from this is for everyone, young and old, professional or novice to approach social media with caution and never underestimate its power.

View the Pew Research Centre report here.

Click here to view Piper Jaffray’s Taking stock with teens report.

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