The Pew Research Centre has released new research which questions whether we can continue to call Facebook the king of social media.
The statistics show that only 51% of US teens aged 13-17 use Facebook, with only 10% saying it is their preferred social media platform. In comparison, YouTube was the most popular, with 85% of the teens stating they use the platform, 32% saying it is the most frequently visited, while SnapChat attracts the attention of 69%, with 35% of the respondents stating they use it the most. Interestingly, Facebook-owned Instagram was more popular than Facebook itself, with 72% of the respondents using the platform.
“This shift in teens’ social media use is just one example of how the technology landscape for young people has evolved since the Center’s last survey of teens and technology use in 2014-2015,” Jingjing Jiang and Monica Anderson said in a blog post.
“The social media landscape in which teens reside looks markedly different than it did as recently as three years ago. In the Center’s 2014-2015 survey of teen social media use, 71% of teens reported being Facebook users. No other platform was used by a clear majority of teens at the time: Around half (52%) of teens said they used Instagram, while 41% reported using Snapchat.”
Perhaps one of the reasons is the increase in smartphone penetration. This edition of the research found 95% of respondents own or have access to a smartphone, up from 73% when the research was conducted in 2014-15. Instagram and SnapChat are platforms which are mobile meaning that during the days of lower smartphone penetration, this was the only social media option. YouTube is of course popular on both desktop and mobile, however the explosion in video content over the last couple of years, as well as cheaper data tariffs, may go some way to explain the dominance.
A final interesting statistic is the amount of time teens are spending online. 45% of teens state they are online almost constantly, compared to 24% back in 2014-15 edition of the research, though only a small proportion feel it is having a negative impact. When asked what impact the online world was having on their live, 31% believed it to be mostly positive, 45% were neutral, while only 24% said it was negative.
The internet has been an important aspect of our lives since its inception, but looking at research focused on the future generations, it is starting to appear more dominant than important. Perhaps Facebook is one of those brands that peaked too early.