U.S. Teens’ Social Media Habits Highlight Shift In Platform Preferences

Facebook may be the first platform to come to mind when social media is brought up, but among U.S. teens ages 13 to 17, it trails YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat by a wide margin. A Pew Research Center survey found that 51 percent of teens say they use Facebook, while 85 percent say they use YouTube, 72 percent say they use Instagram and 69 percent say they use Snapchat.

The 2018 survey, conducted March 7 to April 10, highlights a sizable shift in teens’ social media habits. In the last survey the center conducted on teen social media use—2014 to 2015—71 percent reported being Facebook users. It also found that 52 percent used Instagram and 41 percent reported using Snapchat. Teens’ use of Twitter and Tumblr was largely unchanged between the 2014-2015 and 2018 surveys.

Another shift is in how large a part the internet has played in their lives in the years between the surveys. In the 2014-2015 survey, 24 percent of teens said they used the internet “almost constantly.” In the 2018 survey, that figure grew to 45 percent. Another 44 percent said in 2018 that they go online several times a day.

Fueling the teens’ online engagement is the ubiquity of access to smartphones and computers. In the 2018 survey, 95 percent of teens said they have, or have access to, a smartphone, compared to 73 percent in 2014-2015. The 2018 survey found that 88 percent have access to a desktop or laptop computer at home.

Marketers wanting to reach and connect with teens between ages 13 and 17 will want to be active on the platforms where they spend the most time—YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat, in order of importance.

For more on the Pew Research Center’s survey and its findings, click here.

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