Is Facebook Losing Its Relevance Among Teens?

steve olenski
Steve Olenski Sr Creative Content Strategist , Responsys

Posted on February 11th 2014

Is Facebook Losing Its Relevance Among Teens?

ImageIf you ask teens today, they would tell you that they would rather Snapchat than send a Facebook message, or they would rather Vine than upload a video to Facebook. 

But Yahoo! is making strategic decisions because of Facebook and Google.

There is a big disconnect here. Does Marissa Mayer have it all wrong? Should they be competing with Snapchat over Facebook? According to the WSJ Marissa Mayer fired her #2 because advertisers are shifting their spending to Facebook and to Google. Even though Yahoo is attracting more consumers’ attention in page views, their advertising revenue is not increasing.

Mark Fischman, CEO of Social Media firm Hyperactivate says, "In my history of working in social media, we have seen trends come and go, but platforms are very difficult to kill." Mark's thoughts led me to investigate the numbers behind teen spending habits and their social platform preferences.

I took my data from the "Taking Stock With Teens" survey, a semi-annual research project comprised of gathering input from approximately 8,650 teens with an average age of 16.2 years. Teen spending patterns, fashion trends, and brand and media preferences were assessed through visits to a geographically diverse subset of high schools in 13 U.S. states and through a national online survey of a wider group of teens from 37 different states.

The survey is conducted in partnership with DECA, an international association of high school students. The survey was completed during the month of September 2013.

The key finding from the study above is this: "Teens have cited "friends" as the strongest influence over their purchase decisions for the duration of our survey history, but "Internet" is quickly rising in profile. More than half of teens indicate that social media impacts their purchases with Twitter being the most important, eclipsing Facebook, followed closely by Instagram.

But the popularity of Facebook is waning among teens with 23% citing it as the most important, down from 33% six months ago and 42% a year ago."

On his blog Fischman made the assertion, "Snapchat may have the teens, but Facebook has the money. Facebook is going after Snapchat with Instagram direct. And on that note, buying Instagram (where most claimed it was an overpriced mistake at the time), is looking like one of the best things Facebook ever did."

I couldn't agree more. And the numbers from the study seem to indicate this trend as well. So Facebook the platform may be losing relevance to a younger audience. But Facebook the company is well aware of that trend, and is pursuing competitors (aka Snapchat) of their coveted teen viewership with a vengeance.

steve olenski

Steve Olenski

Sr Creative Content Strategist , Responsys

Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred, Steve Olenski is a senior creative content strategist at Responsys, a leading marketing cloud software and services company, and a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing. He can be reached via TwitterLinkedIn or Email

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Comments

It is always interesting to see what audience social networks want to go after the most, if I'm not mistaken I think the teens are popular because they have the ability to either convince their parents to buy them things or spend money on items themselves. 

I absolutely agree that buying Instagram was Facebook's way of keeping up with the teen population, it was a very smart decision! 

had to skip the article due to misspelling in headline. Supposed to be "its", no apostrophe.

Steve, great article!

With brands collecting millions of fans on Facebook, Facebook owns the communication channel between brands and consumers. Brands will continue to bring their fans back to Facebook after spending so much to build their followings. 

The survey seems to indicate so. But what are the reasons? Shorter attention spans? An influx of "older" users..i.e. grandma and grandpa on Facebook now? I'm sure Facebook is aware of this and if this segment really is how to attract advertisers they have plans to combat this beyond simply acquiring other companies. Interesting nonetheless.

jt12345

I don't think that there is any mistake in this article. This is really a nice post. I agree with the writer's thoughts. In my opinion also, Facebook is losing its relevance among teens.......