Kids, what's the matter with them? And more importantly, why aren't they on Facebook like everyone else?
Facebook has been around since 2004, so kids who are teenagers now grew up having their parents posting pictures of their single-digit birthdays to their own Facebook walls. What teenager wants to be a part of that world? I mean, their parents probably read, like, every single word people post on their kids walls. LOL. SMH. GTFO. It's gotten so bad that Facebook was forced to essentially admit it late last year.
So, where have the kids gone? And as important a question: Where are they going? The natural order of things is that they will be staying one step ahead of their parents, acting as early adopters and beta testers of new social media platforms as they fill needs in their busy little lives.
Here are a few rocks to start turning over - and it's no coincindence that they're all mobile:
While demographic numbers are difficult to find for the sub-18 age group, one can look at the social media habits of their parents and know quite a bit. For instance, 79 percent of 30-49 year-olds are using Facebook, while only 19 percent of them are on Twitter. If you're a kid looking to avoid your parents, which one do you choose? Teen usage on Twitter has grown 50 percent in one year.
When GlobalWebIndex asked teens from all over the globe, excluding China, what social apps they use and contribute to, China-based messaging app WeChat topped the list in terms of growth with a 1,021 percent increase in teen usage from Q1 to Q3 2013. Although WeChat's user base is most heavy in Asia with heavy competition facing it in the form of WhatsApp and Snapchat, one can never discount a teen trend that starts in Asia. WeChat could be the next Pokemon or Thai food, so look out.
The bad news for Facebook is that it has been passed by Instagram as the #2 social media destination; the good news for Facebook is that it owns Instagram, so no biggie. In 2013, 17 percent of teens said Instagram was their most important social network, up from 12 percent the year before.
Nothing says "teen years" like 6-seconds of looping video, just like the kind Vine serves up. Even BuzzFeed admits that teens rule Vine. If you're a brand that sells fish sandwiches during Lent without mentioning that you're advertising to Catholics with your fish sandwich ads, you might want to capture the latest Vine meme that the kids are doing today: " whaling ." That will sell some fish sandwiches. Some say that Vine is the perfect platform for a brand to reach young people because Vine has done to YouTube what Twitter did to Blogger: simplified the process for greater scalability. People are already concern-trolling whether or not Vine is even safe for teens, so you know teens are going to be naturally attracted to that.
With an active user base of greater than 30 million users, and fresh off declining two multi-billion dollar buy-out offers, Snapchat is certainly a place that teens are flocking to. While only 4 percent of 19-to-25 year-olds, that number among 13-to-18 year-olds is 13 percent. According to another study, 32 percent of teens (13 to 17) use Snapchat on a phone or mobile device.
Tech watcher Garry Tan surveyed 546 people aged 13 to 18, who replied that the social media platform they use most was Tumblr at 61 percent followed by Facebook at 55 percent. Perhaps the versatile nature of Tumblr -- which allows users to blog with text, upload photos, and share content -- really resonates with teens.
Secret is a new app without a lot of metrics available, but one can see how teens will flock to this app by the way it's being used by early adopters in Silicon Valley. You can post stuff and no one knows who it's from, only if it's a "friend" or a "friend of a friend," or in some cases, what city it comes from. It's basically the social media version of "Texts from Last Night," and we all know how awesome that is.