Forget what you’ve heard, the teens are still hanging out on Facebook


If you ask anybody who isn’t in the know, they’ll tell you that teens are leaving Facebook faster than New Yorkers fled the building after each Stanley Cup Final game. Today, Forrester Research says it just isn’t so. They did a study and named it “Facebook Dominates Teens’ Social Usage: Why The Sky Isn’t Falling On The World’s Favorite Social Network.”

I like that.

Forrester surveyed 4,500 kids between the ages of 12 to 17 and asked about their social media usage.

Facebook says you have to be over 13 to be on the site so I’m surprised by their choice to include 12 year-olds. They’re on there, faking their age so they can play games, but should they count in the survey? (Nit-picky, I know.)

Anyway, when they added it all up, here’s what they got:

Forrester Youth Facebok

YouTube and Facebook are the clear winners, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Instagram also falls into the high range for “hyperusage.” These are the kids who say they’re on the site “all the time.”

It might be more beneficial to look at which sites aren’t cutting it with the kids. Pinterest is a mommy site, so I get that. Tumblr is a surprise. It’s popular with the twenty-something, artsy crowd but apparently not with high schoolers. Vine, Twitter and Snapchat all have a small but loyal following. I didn’t expect to see Twitter in that quadrant. I think a lot of those users are there for the celebrity chatter but from official and fan sources.

Okay, so lots of tweens are hanging out on Facebook, but does that mean the rest of the world is wrong about the decline? Where are last year’s numbers for comparison?

We do have this:

46% say they’re on Facebook more often than they were last year. That’s a fat number but it still means more than half aren’t on Facebook as often as last year. I say that alone makes the point. Which is: tweens who like Facebook are extremely loyal, checking in multiple times a day to post, chat with friends and play games. If you want to reach the others, you’ll find them over on YouTube.

On a related note, yesterday I covered a report that said people aren’t influenced by what they see on social media. I thought I made it clear that people’s perceptions aren’t the same as reality but a representative from Facebook’s ad agency felt he need to send me the following message:

The only thing this poll shows is that self-reported behavioral data is unreliable. For decades, studies that look at people’s actual, real-world behavior have shown that ads on all mediums, including social media, affect the things people buy. The most successful marketers in the world don’t just take our word for it when it comes to ad effectiveness, they’ve asked us to prove that our ads work. And we have. Those marketers hold us to a very high standard; we look at actual changes in attitudes and behaviors using experimental design — the same approach used in medical trials.

I don’t know that I’m comfortable equating an experimental Facebook ad campaign with medical trials but I get their point and mostly, I agree.