As Meerkat loses the spotlight to Periscope and everyone tries to remember what Ello was all about, we could use a bit of research for clarity on the current state of social media.
The ever-reliable Pew Research Center did just that today with its extensive study on The Digital Lives of Teenagers.
Here are the most important points we found in the release.
1. Facebook is just fine, thanks
Mark Zuckerberg is not Tom from MySpace, and Snapchat will not unseat Facebook anytime soon. The number of teens who use “more than one social network” is identical to the number who count themselves as active Facebook users.
It may not be cutting-edge anymore, but it’s here to stay — and the billion dollars Zuck paid for Instagram looks more like a sweet deal every day.
2. There’s an age and gender divide in social
The stereotype labeling girls as more “visual” than boys holds true for social media: boys are more active on Facebook while more girls use Instagram, Pinterest, and tumblr.
In fact, girls are more likely to use all networks.
Age also plays a role: older teens are big on Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter while their younger peers are all about the pictures.
3. Messaging apps are the future
Kids are texting like crazy: the average teen sends and/or receives 30 text messages every day.
The number of teens who use social media (71 percent) is nearly identical to the number who have access to smartphones (73 percent), and quite a few of them (33 percent) have messaging apps like WhatsApp.
Interestingly, this is especially true among minority communities: Hispanic (46 percent) and African-American (47 percent) teens are more likely to use these than their white counterparts (24 percent).
Since WeChat ads went live in China in January, expect more opportunities for paid placements on these services.
4. Teens are optimized for mobile
The findings are nearly universal: the vast majority of teens go online more than once every day, and well over 90 percent of them do it on a mobile device.
5. Anonymous messaging is catching on
Despite the bad press earned by Whisper and Yik Yak, young people are very much into anonymity.
Not only are girls (13 percent) more interested in these apps than boys (8 percent), but and Hispanic teens are far more likely to use them than their peers at 16 percent.
These apps are trying to clean up their reputations, and opportunities for sponsorships will surely follow.
6. Economics play a big role in social media behavior
In what may be the most interesting finding in the study, Pew notes that family income correlates directly to Facebook use: the more money a given teen’s family makes, the more likely he or she is to use every other network from Twitter to Pinterest.
In other words, campaigns looking to reach affluent teens will find greater success in places without the blue “f.”
What do we take from the Pew stats?