Instagram Makes Strides Among Teens’ Favorite Social Media Platforms

April 15, 2019

Looking at the period between Spring 2015 and Fall of 2017, Snapchat seemed to be on an unstoppable rise in becoming the favorite social platform for the majority of teens. But the latest results from Piper Jaffray’s semi-annual teen survey shows that Instagram is continuing to close the gap in an effort to win back the top spot.

Of the 8,000 US teens (average age 16.3 years) surveyed, 35% cited Instagram as their favorite social media platform. This percentage is up from 32% from only six months earlier, and 26% a year prior. At the same time, Snapchat is the preferred social media platform for 41% of respondents, down from 46% in Fall 2018. Piper Jaffray also pointed out that even though Snapchat is the favorite platform, Instagram is actually the most broadly used – meaning that for advertisers looking to grab the fickle attention of the younger generation, they may capture a larger share with Zuckerberg’s image-centered network.

Older social networks continue to lurk at the bottom of the rankings in the popularity stakes. The percentage of teens naming either Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest as their favorite social media platforms has remained relatively unchanged, together capturing the fancy of just 1 in 8 teens.

The growth of Instagram is consistent with other research. The most recent Infinite Dial report revealed that while Facebook and Snapchat have seen a decrease in popularity among younger Americans (ages 12-34 years old), Instagram has been on the rise.

Instagram Reigns In Brand Engagement

Instagram also appears to be winning when it comes to driving brand engagement. When teens want to engage with companies, more turn to Instagram than other platforms. Seven in 10 (70%) respondents said that they prefer brands to contact them about new products through Instagram, with their second preference being Snapchat (50%).

Marketers are recognizing the importance of using Instagram for engagement, especially when it comes to Influencer Marketing. Separate research has shown that marketers are seeing 60% of their total engagement coming from Instagram, even though they are posting less than 20% of their analyzed content on the platform.

Netflix Tops Teen Daily Video Consumption

Netflix and YouTube remain the top two platforms for daily video consumption among teens, together accounting for an estimated 70% share of teens’ daily video time, relatively consistent with the previous survey.

Last year, YouTube seemed to be making ground to eventually match or even exceed Netflix in daily consumption, but may be leveling off as of this latest edition of the survey.

Among adults overall, Netflix has surpassed live television as the place of choice for viewers to watch their favorite shows, while it has also been identified as the brand with the best word-of-mouth in the US.

Nielsen reported that teens (ages 12-17 years) now watch less than 1.5 hours of traditional television per day, which is about half as much as they viewed five years earlier. So, it is no wonder that the Piper Jaffray report shows that cable television is in a continual decline, dropping from an estimated 16% of daily consumption in Fall 2018 to 14% in Spring 2019.

Hulu and other streaming services, while still experiencing low a share of daily consumption, did see a slight increase over the six-month period.

About the Data: Piper Jaffray surveyed 8,000 US teens with an average age of 16.3. There was a relatively equal split between males (54%) and females (46%).

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