How Popular is Instagram With Youth?

comScore-Age-Distribution-Instagram-Mobile-Audience-May2014It’s well established at this point that Instagram’s users skew young, and recent research suggests that it is now teens’ most important social network. New data from a Shareablee and comScore webinar shared with MarketingCharts confirm Instagram’s popularity among young adults, indicating that 18-34-year-olds spend more time on Instagram than on Twitter and Tumblr, combined. Interestingly, though, while Instagram’s smartphone audience skews heavily towards younger age groups, the age composition of the platform’s tablet audience reveals a slightly different pattern.

According to the data, which is from comScore’s US Mobile Metrix in March 2014, roughly 6 in 10 adult Instagram users on smartphones fall into the 18-24 (30.6%) and 25-34 (29%) age brackets, with fewer than 1 in 10 users aged 55 and older.

But the tablet audience skews relatively older: a relatively smaller 46% of Instagram’s adult tablet audience is aged 18-24 (25.5%) or 25-34 (20.3%), while almost 1 in 5 are in the 55-64 (14.9%) or 65+ (4.1%) brackets. In fact, one-third of Instagram’s tablet audience is aged 45 and older.

Of course, Instagram likely has a much larger audience on smartphones than tablets (it’s the 9th largest smartphone app by reach among adult iOS and Android users), such that its overall audienceĀ is more heavily tilted towards youth.

And in fact, as of November 2013, comScore data indicates that Instagram has a wider penetration among 18-34-year-olds than Twitter (46% vs. 39%), and is second only to Facebook among social networks with at least 1 billion combined desktop, smartphone and tablet minutes. In the 35-54 age group, Instagram’s penetration rate (27%) trails LinkedIn (33%) and Twitter (32%), as well as Facebook (of course). And among the 55+ crowd, it also trails Pinterest.

The platform will draw more users beyond Millennials in the years to come, according to eMarketer estimates, which project Instagram to have more than 50 million US users by 2016.

Growth isn’t limited to the user base, either: while comScore notes a 73% year-over-year rise in mobile unique visitors between March 2013 and March 2014, it also reveals a 35% year-over-year growth in time spent with the platform in mobile browsers and applications. Moreover, engagement levels for brands continue to rise, with the total number of actions per brand jumping by 286% over that yearlong period and the number of uniques per post growing by 66%.

Indeed, when comparing Facebook, Instagram and Twitter engagement, the comScore and Shareablee presentation shows that while Instagram commanded 16% share of combined engagement on those platforms in Q1 2013, that share had risen to 28% by Q1 2014, mainly at the expense of Facebook.

No wonder top brands are investing more time on the platform.

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