Instagram Grows As Teens’ Social Network of Choice

PiperJaffray-US-Teens-Social-Media-Preferences-Oct2014Teens continue to gravitate to Instagram and away from Facebook, finds Piper Jaffray in its latest semi-annual survey of American teens. Roughly three-quarters of respondents reported using the visual platform, up from 69% in the previous survey. By comparison, just 45% said they use Facebook, a significant drop from 72%. (Perhaps all those almost-year-old reports of teens fleeing Facebook are finally coming true?)

In any case, Facebook’s decline was enough to move it behind Twitter in the popularity stakes. The micro-blogging site is now the second-most used among teens, but doesn’t seem to be making inroads: the 59% adoption rate in this latest survey marks a slight decline from 63% in the preceding report.

Meanwhile, Pinterest and Tumblr have stayed relatively flat, used by slightly more than 1 in 5 teens, while Google+ tumbled from 29% to 12% using.

Instagram’s ascendance to the top of the social heap has been quite rapid: in Piper Jaffray’s Spring 2014 survey, 30% of teens called it their “most important” social network, overtaking Twitter (the Fall 2013 favorite) and placing more distance between itself and Facebook (the Spring 2013 favorite).

The latest study notes that 38% of teens believe Instagram is a favorable marketing channel through which to reach them, compared with 34% saying the same about Twitter and 21% about Facebook. For data-driven benchmarks into US brands’ marketing activities on Instagram, see the MarketingCharts report, Brand Post Engagement on Instagram, which covers topics including engagement rates by post type and time of day.

Finally, the Piper Jaffray study reports that 4% of teens use Snapchat, a surprisingly low figure given Snapchat’s well-documented skew towards youth. That 4% did represent an uptick from 1% in the survey fielded 6 month earlier. (300% growth – stop the presses!)

About the Data: The Piper Jaffray survey was fielded among 7,200 teens with an average age of 16 years. Two teens segments were surveyed; an upper-income group with average household income of $109,000 (n=2,200) and an average-income group with average household income of $56,000 (n=5,000).

Teen spending patterns, fashion trends, and brand and media preferences were assessed through visits to a geographically diverse subset of high schools across 11 states and 14 schools, as well as an online survey that included 41 states. The survey is conducted in partnership with DECA, an international association of high school students. The fall survey was conducted from August 25 – September 30, 2014.