Snapchat Furthers Its Lead As Teens’ Favorite Social Platform, BUT…

October 16, 2017

This article is included in these additional categories:

Advertising Trends | Demographics & Audiences | Digital | Direct Mail | Email | Social Media | Teens & Younger

Snapchat is enjoying a strong run as teens’ favorite social network, according to the latest bi-annual survey from Piper Jaffray. With 47% of teens calling it their single favorite platform, Snapchat’s been at the top in this survey for 2 full years. Teens’ preferences seemed more fickle before Snapchat’s ascent, shifting from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, which had been the latest to top the popularity contest for a 2-year period.

What’s notable about Snapchat’s dominance is that there doesn’t seem to be a challenger on the horizon – as Snapchat was to Instagram. In fact, it has increased its share of first-place votes among teens in each survey dating back to Spring 2015.

In this latest survey, twice as many teens cited Snapchat as their favorite platform as did Instagram (47% and 24%, respectively). For the first time, fewer than 1 in 10 deemed Facebook (9%) or Twitter (7%) to be their favorite.

Indeed, use of those latter platforms doesn’t even crack the majority anymore: only half report using Twitter at least once a month, and even fewer (45%) say the same about Facebook. Those are the lowest figures dating back at least as far as early 2015 for each platform.

Facebook’s aggregate decline seems to be owing to the influence of younger respondents joining the survey: only around one-third of 14-year-olds say they use Facebook at least once a month, compared to more than half of 17- and 18-year-olds.

By contrast, the use of Snapchat and Instagram has increased since 2015, with more than 8 in 10 teens professing to using each at least once a month. Teens’ high adoption of both platforms is consistent across ages, although it falls slightly below the 80% mark for 18-year-olds.

BUT, Instagram Is A Better Bet For Marketers

While teens seem to be coalescing around Snapchat as their favorite platform, that doesn’t necessarily make it the best one for reaching the young demographic.

Instead, when teens were asked which channel is among best to reach them, Instagram was the easy winner, cited by almost 6 in 10 respondents. By comparison, fewer than half said that Snapchat is the best bet for reaching them.

Don’t count out email: teens were actually more likely to say that email is a strong way to communicate new products/promotions to them than to identify Snapchat as a reach vehicle.

As for other social platforms? Three in 10 pointed to Twitter – putting it on par with TV and radio ads. Only about one-fifth said Facebook is among the best channels for reaching them, which was on par with direct mail.

What’s more: the Piper Jaffray analysts point out that while Snapchat “pitches itself as having unique access to a hard-to-reach demographic” only about 10% of its users are unique to the platform and not also using Instagram.

As the report succinctly puts it: “Instagram has largely the same user base as Snapchat, but a better ad unit and advertiser engagement.”

Recent reporting demonstrates that Instagram Stories has more users than Snapchat Stories. Data from Snaplytics also suggests that influencers get more brand engagement on Instagram Stories than on Snapchat.

Advertisers seem to have taken note: Instagram recently reported that it reached 2 million advertisers in September, doubling its advertiser count from just 6 months earlier.

About the Data: The report is based on a survey of 6,100 teens with an average age of 15.9. Some 54% of respondents are male, and the sample’s average household income is $66,100.

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