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Teens Don’t Use Facebook? Not So Fast, My Friend!


One of my fellow West Virginia University alums who joins me to watch football games is also in the communications industry. We were talking about social media recently while our Mountaineers were playing, and he said something that I’ve heard plenty of times before.

“We really need to figure out how to best reach the teen market, but we know they don’t use Facebook anymore.”

The Lee Corso came out in me.

“Not so fast, my friend!” I said, mimicking the ESPN College Gameday analyst. “What data do you have to back that assertion up, because I can probably counter it with some solid evidence you’re wrong.”

As with most marketers these days, my friend was passing along an assumption. He had no evidence other than his own daughter’s eye-rolls when Facebook is the topic of conversation and the broad assumptions we all make without data to back it up.

As it happens, Forrester’s latest brief is entitled, “Facebook (Still) Dominates Teens’ Social Usage.” Ya hear that? Dominates. The report acknowledged that fewer teens think Facebook is cooler (65%) than other sites like YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram. But more than 60% of young Facebook users say it’s the social site they use most. More than one-third say they’re on the site “all the time.”

So, it’s not as cool, but they sure do use it. I guess that makes Facebook the Ford Taurus of social networks. We’d all rather be driving a Benz or a Beemer, but this will get us where we need to go.

Forrester-FacebookTeens

Still, we shouldn’t fall off the other side of the assumption bandwagon. Snapchat and Instagram beat Facebook out for the social media tools teens say are most important for keeping up with friends. When asked that question, Snapchat (74%) and Instagram (70%) beat Facebook (66%) when looking at how many rated the network either a 4 or 5 on a five-point importance scale.

Is Facebook a good place to try to reach teens? Yes. Is it waning? No. Are there also other networks that are good uses of your resources for reaching this audience? Yes, definitely.

So, what did you think about teens on Facebook before reading this? Would you have needed a “Not so fast, my friend?” If you resist assumptions and rely on data, you make better decisions.

And gooooooooo Mountaineers, too.

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