By Kassidy Abernathy, Media
On Monday mornings, my alarm blares at 6:15. After a painfully short 30 seconds of willing the weekend to not be over, I check my phone for the past 12 hours worth of hard-hitting news. I flip between applications like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, where I follow my favorite trusted news outlets, celebrities, authors and brands. After I’ve had my fill of morning news, I roll out of bed and crawl to the kitchen for coffee. I’m not a morning person, okay?
My morning probably doesn’t look much different from yours or anyone else’s with a smartphone and opposable thumbs. According to this article from Adweek, we spend an average of 5+ years of our lives on social media. We spend more time on our smartphones than we spend eating. I’m sorry, Edgar’s strawberry cake, I’ll work on this.
It’s pretty agreed upon that Facebook is the powerhouse social platform. The OG, if you will. A brand’s reach on Facebook is unsurpassed; my 14-year-old cousin has a Facebook profile, as does my 82-year-old grandma. But with the ever-growing popularity of social platforms like Snapchat and Facebook-owned Instagram, Facebook may be losing ground with its teen and tween demographics.
While Facebook is a wonderful place to upload their prom photo albums and keep up with their cousins in Michigan, teens in the 12–17 age group use the more visually gratifying platforms — Snapchat and Instagram — that coordinate with how they communicate daily. Research is showing that the 12–17 and 18–24 age groups are using Facebook less and Instagram and Snapchat more frequently. Facebook users in these age ranges have fallen consistently since 2016, while Instagram and Snapchat have experienced a serious user surge.
Snapchat and Instagram offer creative, engaging and hyper-customized advertising capabilities. Snapchat’s “Discover” page puts Buzzfeed, People magazine and MTV at your fingertips, offering you bite-sized bits of news with the convenience of a thumb swipe. Their geo-targeted “stories” allow any user to offer up their snaps to a large location or event-based bank of Snapchats — making users feel connected to the event or community. This year Instagram unabashedly followed suit with “Story” sharing and created Instagram Stories. The possibilities with integrated advertising on these platforms are endless, with more organic placement than scrolling through an ad on Facebook.
The teens and tweens of social media are powerful. I mean, they made Kylie Jenner famous. They are on Snapchat and Instagram. In fact, there is now a rising generation of “Facebook-nevers,” a group who doesn’t think Facebook is important or cool enough (as if!) to even bother with creating a profile.
Advertisers sometimes lump social media platforms together in one basket, all being equally important and playing their specific roles. We’re seeing that may not be the case any longer. As time passes and more 11-year-olds get smartphones, Snapchat accounts and Instagram handles, we’ll need to start paying attention to where the younger and influential generations are consuming their media. Because it’s not really Facebook anymore. Mark Zuckerberg, if you’re reading this, I’m still rooting for you.