As if Mark Zuckerberg didn’t have enough problems of late. A rather eye-opening survey has been released by the Pew Research Center — one that may signal a tectonic shift in the digital world and marketing in cyberspace. Believe it: Teens just aren’t into Facebook — that monolith of social media — the way their older siblings and parents are.
Facebook, in fact, ranks fourth among social media platforms with teens. YouTube is #1 with 85% of teens saying they use it. Next is Instagram (72%) and Snapchat (69%). Only 51% of teens 13-17 say they use Facebook. Interestingly, lower-income teens are more likely to use Facebook than teens from higher-income households.
Of significance to media marketers will be the fact that a massive 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, and 45% say they are online “almost constantly.”
Given the opportunity to explain their views in their own words, teens who say social media has had a mostly positive effect tended to stress issues related to connectivity and connection with others.
But why is this migration happening, and what does it mean for companies trying to target today’s youngest consumers?
Jim O’Neill, principal analyst at Ooyala, shares his thoughts.
“The report from Pew Research really underscores just how complex it can be trying to reach Gen Edge on social media,” he says. “They prefer a combination of platforms, not just one, and it certainly isn’t the one their older siblings, parents and grandparents use.”
While the report focuses on social media, O’Neill says it also underscores the complexity of reaching an ever-more fragmented audience through multiple channels. “As a content owner do you post on Facebook? Or, on Snapchat? On YouTube? Or, Twitter? The answer remains: All of them, for now,” he notes.
“The content industry has been searching for that single outlet it hoped would reach the majority of online audiences for years,” O’Neill says. “The reality is that to be successful, they need to develop a strategy that addresses and leverages that fragmentation to their benefit. To do that, creators and distributors need to be able to take data from the performance of their content on various platforms and transform that data into insights that can help them focus on how much and what kind of content each platform should be getting. It’s a very high stakes game that requires a great deal of flexibility, something the traditional content industry hasn’t always been able to do.”