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In the competition for the attention of teen audiences, Instagram and Snapchat have emerged as the social media platforms most-favored by teens. Though Instagram may have gotten a head start—the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app now has 400 million active users compared to Snapchat’s over 100 million daily active users—Snapchat’s immediacy, informality, and the ephemeral nature of the app’s content has resulted in exponential growth and rising popularity, especially among the internet’s youngest demographic. For brands looking to target teens on social media platforms, determining which platform young consumers favor and identifying emerging trends in social media usage can have far-reaching implications regarding marketing budgets, influencer marketing partnerships, and more.
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According to Business Insider’s Nathan McAlone, the most recent Piper Jaffray “Taking Stock With Teens” survey, which asks U.S. teens about their social media preferences and spending habits, found that Snapchat is now the “most important” social network among the survey’s 6,350 participants. Snapchat’s popularity jumped from 19% to 28% since the previous survey (conducted in Fall 2015), while Instagram’s popularity fell precipitously, from 33% of teens claiming it as their most important social network in 2015 to only 27% of teens favoring the once-dominant photo-sharing app today.
Source: Piper Jaffray via Business Insider
For in-depth insights on why today’s teens are “unfriending” Facebook, see our article here.
For marketers, identifying with and capturing the attention of Generation Z can be a challenge, especially considering that today’s teens are spending far less time watching television and more time on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. In a recent Quora article, high school senior and avid Snapchat user Joseph Philleo describes why he believe Snapchat is taking market share away from Instagram and other social media platforms:
“Based on personal experience (a student in a school of 5,000 students with friends all across the US), Snapchat is winning and will continue to win because Snapchat is more fun to use. Instagram, like Facebook, is a superficial exhibit of one’s life. The entire process of sharing a photo—which photo is used, what edits are made, when it is posted, what the caption will be, the frequency of posting—is time-consuming and stressful. Those who lose the desire to maintain a constant facade of perfection quickly find themselves using Instagram less and less. On the other hand, Snapchat is designed for easy, on-the-go sharing. New updates such as face-swapping, filters, regional icons, and animations make taking and sharing photos and videos a lot of fun.”
Philleo goes on to say that the informal, intimate nature of Snapchat makes content feel more genuine and, because photos and videos are deleted within 24 hours, Snapchat users are more likely to post “real” content. This, coupled with the app’s relative privacy (no one can see how many followers you have or who your friends are) and ability to directly interact with celebrities like DJ Khaled has led teens to abandon Instagram (and also Facebook) for Snapchat.
For the latest news and statistics on Snapchat and its rapid ascent, see our post here.
Today’s teens will be tomorrow’s consumers. For this reason, identifying where teens are spending most of their time and capitalizing on their attention (as well as the relationships they develop with each platform’s social media influencers) is vital for brands looking to target younger demographics and increase exposure among teen audiences. As surveys and testimonials from real-life teens demonstrate, young people now increasingly favor Snapchat over Instagram, and companies should mirror this shift in preference by devoting more resources toward Snapchat marketing strategies including Snapchat Takeovers and collaborating with today’s top Snapchat influencers.