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Facebook Fatigue Among Teens Should Freak Out Marketers


Facebook Fatigue Among Teens Should Freak Out Marketers

Photograph by Radius Images

Uh oh. Teens are growing tired of Facebook (FB) and YouTube (GOOG), new research (pdf) shows, a falling-out that has the potential to trigger a wide-ranging effect on retail, fashion, gaming, and other youth-oriented industries.

According to Piper Jaffray (PJC), while Facebook and YouTube are still considered the most important social media destination for teens, their popularity among this fickle demographic has fallen precipitously since this time last year, as the chart below indicates. (The cold-shoulder treatment may be because so many parents and grannies seem, creepily, to be all over Facebook these days.)

Why is this a big deal? Teens make up an $819 billion consumer segment, and the social media chatter about brands—positive or negative—is an increasingly large influence on their purchasing decisions. Just over half of all teens polled for the research (53 percent for female teens and 52 percent for teenage males) said social media affects their overall purchasing decisions, a trend that has gained strength in recent quarters.

For teen-targeting marketers, then, keeping pace with taste-shifting teens and their social networking preferences could make or break a sales quarter. Just ask Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) and Best Buy (BBY), two retailers that, according to the Piper Jaffray polling data, made teens’ top 10 roundup of favorite e-commerce sites a year ago but this year vanished from the list. They are on the outs in the offline world, too.

For the so-called youth brands, increasing their presence on the cool and relevant social channels of tomorrow—not so cool that they wouldn’t allow advertisers, mind you—is becoming an increasingly vital part of a digital marketing strategy.

And what are the new hot teen channels in social? According to Piper Jaffray, they are Reddit and Twitter, plus Snapchat, Vine, and 4chan. That ranking is sure to change again soon. Stay tuned.

Warner writes about innovation for Bloomberg Businessweek. Follow him on Twitter @bernhardwarner.

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Companies Mentioned

  • FB
    (Facebook Inc)
    • $79.88 USD
    • 1.48
    • 1.85%
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    (Google Inc)
    • $516.35 USD
    • 5.25
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