Teenagers express themselves on Instagram as Facebook increasingly seen as a family app

Teenagers express themselves on Instagram as Facebook increasingly seen as a family app Colm is the editor of MarketingTech, with a mission to bring the most important developments in technology to both businesses and consumers.

It is a simple truth that we all know. If a teenager is really into something and then their parents also get into it, the teenager will drop that thing as if it had the plague.

This pattern seems to be playing itself on social media. Once a cool and edgy place for teenagers to connect, Facebook and Twitter are now filled with parents and older millennials. It seems that while teenagers may still use these sites, they are going elsewhere to truly express themselves.

A new study from MediaCom suggests that Instagram is the place that UK teenagers go to ‘express their true selves’, follow their favourite celebrities or keep abreast of the latest trends.   

When asked where they go to share images and photos that they feel show who they really are, 40% responded with Instagram and 35% said Snapchat. This compares to 21% for Facebook and 7% for Twitter.

The study asked 100 respondents from each of the following age groups: 8 – 12, 13 – 16, and 17 – 19.

Instagram was, however, beaten out by Snapchat when it comes to haring ‘key moments’. 44% of those surveyed would use Snapchat for this, compared to 36% who would choose Instagram.

“Social media is a vast ocean of opportunity for almost anybody; singer, footballer, brand, and of course, your typical 2017 teenager,” Josh Krichefski, CEO at MediaCom UK, said.

“Instagram in particular, once a photo-sharing app for amateur photographers, is now a powerhouse in social media. Teenagers are using the platform more than ever to follow celebrities, find the latest trends and most intriguingly, share photos & videos to show their ‘true selves’.”

Facebook is for family stuff.

Facebook now seems to have a purely functional role for teenagers as a place where they can stay in touch with family members. 58% of respondents said that this was the case, with this leading 41% to present a more ‘family-friendly’ image of themselves on the site.

When it comes to following their favourite celebrities and idols, YouTube is the clear winner. Of the teenagers surveyed, 70% of those over 13 subscribe to channels, 64% have talked to their peers about products endorsed on those channels and 54% have actually bought an endorsed product.

“What’s clear from the research too is that Facebook is no longer king, with Snapchat and Instagram showing continued signs of growth; although teens might be using Facebook regularly, it’s something they’d rather use to keep in touch with their family,” continued Krichefski.

“However, if you want to follow the Kardashians, Taylor Swift or your favourite sneaker brand, it’s more likely that teens will turn to Instagram for that. It’s therefore a great opportunity for brands and advertisers to capitalise on the continued shift towards the ‘challenger’ social media companies and take advantage of the self-made influencers on digital platforms who are now amassing huge, previously untapped audiences.”  

You can get hold of the report here.

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