Instagram is the platform choice of UK teenagers to express their true selves, follow their idols and keep up to date with the latest trends, leaving Facebook trailing in its wake, according to a study by MediaCom.

4-in-10 teens share photos and images of themselves to show who they really are, compared to 35% of Snapchat users, 21% of Facebook users and 7% of Twitter users. Nearly a quarter (24%) say what they share on Instagram says a lot about who they’d like to be (compared to 19% on Facebook, 13% on Snapchat and 12% on Twitter).

While Snapchat is still the main platform to share key ‘moments’ (44% on Snapchat vs. 36% on Instagram), Instagram remains the platform of choice for following celebrities (42% vs. 30% on Twitter, 20% on Facebook and 19% on Snapchat) and seeing the latest trends (35% vs. 22% on Twitter, 21% on Facebook and 10% on Snapchat):

What’s more, Facebook now plays a very functional role for teens and is seen as a place to interact with family members; well over half (58%) believe it is a place where they can chat to and keep in touch with families. A further 41% of teenagers show the side of them on Facebook they’d rather their family see; a huge discrepancy between second place Instagram with 9%.

The trend of idolising entrepreneurial celebrities continues, as the role of YouTube has had a profound effect on who teenagers see as their biggest influencers. Seven in ten 13 and overs subscribe to YouTube, with nearly two thirds (64%) admitting to talking about the product that a YouTuber has endorsed and 54% actually buying that product. UK teens cite sensations Zoe Sugg (Zoella), her brother Joe (Thatcherjoe) and her boyfriend Alfie Deyes (Pointlessblog) as the most influential creators.

Josh Krichefski, CEO at MediaCom UK, said: “Social media is a vast ocean of opportunity for almost anybody; singer, footballer, brand, and of course, your typical 2017 teenager. Instagram in particular, once a photo-sharing app for amateur photographers, is now a powerhouse in social media. Teenagers are using the platform more than ever to follow celebrities, find the latest trends and most intriguingly, share photos & videos to show their ‘true selves’.

“What’s clear from the research too is that Facebook is no longer king, with Snapchat and Instagram showing continued signs of growth; although teens might be using Facebook regularly, it’s something they’d rather use to keep in touch with their family. However, if you want to follow the Kardashians, Taylor Swift or your favourite sneaker brand, it’s more likely that teens will turn to Instagram for that. It’s, therefore, a great opportunity for brands and advertisers to capitalise on the continued shift towards the ‘challenger’ social media companies and take advantage of the self-made influencers on digital platforms who are now amassing huge, previously untapped audiences.”


By Jonathan Davies, editor, Digital Marketing Magazine

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