Social media giant Facebook may be facing some competition soon. Teenagers are currently getting bored with Facebook and are starting to prefer to use Instagram to connect with friends and family. A recent survey by internet analyst Piper Jaffray showed that Instagram may be the “new” Facebook for most teens.
According to CNET, this report came from the asset management firms and investments banks of upper-income and mid-level-income teenagers in the United States. On April 8, 2014, Jaffray’s report Taking Stock With Teens surveyed 7,500 teens with an average age of 16.4 years about various habits and likes, such as spending, fashion trends, and income. In a bar graph in Jaffray’s report is depicted some of the most common social media used. The three big ones are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and the chart compares the change of preference and usage from spring 2013 to spring 2014.
In just one year, Instagram set a new high record of teen usage that surpassed Facebook by about seven percent. Last spring, Facebook had about 34 percent usage, but the percentage dropped to about 23 percent this year. Twitter dropped from 30 percent to 27 percent, and Instagram set a new high, rising from 17 percent to 30 percent. The report also provided a pile of evidence suggesting that teens are “tiring of Facebook” and want something more adventurous.
Instagram allows users to share photos and videos, apply digital filters and special effects on them to make them appear retro or cartoonish, and share them on various social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, and Tumblr. The San Francisco-based company started with $8 million in venture capital funding in 2011. What makes Instagram distinctive is that it makes pictures appear like an old Polaroid images with a white border around them. In many ways, it is very similar to Facebook since users can “like” a photo or video, comment on it, and share it. It doesn’t take much time or effort to learn to use it. This is probably one reason why it is gaining popularity among teens. Instagram can be used as an app in iPhones and other smartphones, allowing users to take pictures and record events (with a maximum recording time of 15 seconds) instantly — quicker than using Facebook or even Twitter.
Even though teens are increasingly favoring Instagram over Facebook, the latter won’t be facing extinction or fierce competition. On April 12, 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for about $1 billion in stock and cash just before Facebook was scheduled to go public. Instagram fans can still continue to take and share photos and videos as before the acquisition, and Facebook made sure that it is building and connecting to Instagram and its users to “create a better mobile phone experience,” wrote Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom on the company’s blog.
Perhaps Instagram won’t be the new Facebook for teens after all. However, since its acquisition, Instagram will most likely be undergoing some changes that may affect how its users respond. Like Facebook, it is very likely that users will see advertisements on Instagram in the near future. Whether that change will affect the teenage popularity is currently a matter for speculation.
By Nick Ng