Insta-Teen What You Need To Know

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If you’re still on Friends Reunited, this may blow your mind, but Instagram is one of teenagers’ 5-a-day main social platforms, along with Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Why is this and what do you need to know to integrate it into your next youth campaign?

If you’re aged 14-18, research from investment bank PiperJaffray earlier this year, suggests you’ll mainly be engaged with Snapchat (81%) and Instagram (79%), with Facebook (51%) and Twitter (56%) just behind but it’s smaller platforms like Kik or Tumblr, which are dropping off with this age group.

This supports the view that teens are using these platforms differently as new features and applications develop. Having spoken recently with a journalist who had spent some time with Instagram, this is absolutely the goal of the team there right now.

It’s not unusual for Insta-teens to have multiple accounts; a public account, private account for friends and often a super-private account just for their closest BFF. Whilst this may replicate natural friendship circles and cliques, the heightened ability to demonstrate social hierarchy and sheer scale of engagement required for this upkeep, is drawing a big pull from many users and perhaps makes the rest of us slightly uneasy.

Instagram has also topped the league tables elsewhere this year though. The Royal Society for Public Health in the UK reported that Instagram is the most detrimental social networking app for young people’s mental health, followed closely by Snapchat, with YouTube having the most positive influence.

Young women were cited as the most impacted, unsurprisingly around body confidence and unrealistic comparisons. If magazines have cleaned up their act (or perhaps reduced their reach due to the changing media landscape), then social media has a broader audience showing their ‘best side’ for impressionable young women to compare themselves to.

As well as body image, sleep patterns and adding to a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out – c’mon guys, YOLO), the image app also provided a positive platform for self-expression and identity. So in educating and engaging young people through the platform, creating and curating the right kind of engagement and use is essential.

If you want to engage a youth audience over the age of 13, Instagram will invariably be a key platform to integrate into your plans. But approach with care and creativity; what’s the best way to induce engagement from this audience, what kind of images do you want to share and get in return, how overtly clear are your promotions, what potential risks are there in terms of wellbeing that you could foresee?

Setting the bar high for how we use social media within engagement of younger audiences should be top of the list on your ethical code, or at least at the back of your mind when you’re building a campaign. Keep the next generation well on digital – not least because they can explain the next set of acronyms you need to pretend you know.

Insta 101

  • More than 40 billion photos shared, and 95 million per day
  • 500 million active users who ‘like’ 4.2 billion posts per day
  • In the last hour 1 in 5 children have used Instagram
  • Instagram was bought by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion at which point ads were introduced
  • Since ’15 you can use a basic toggle in Facebook Ad Manager to show your ads on Instagram
  • There’s a separate group chat function
  • You see content based on what their algorithm thinks you want to see (based on who you follow, what you ‘like’)
  • The minimum age to have an account is 13 years old
  • Typically Instagram posts tend to get more engagement than Facebook (10 times in fact according to Forrester’s US Top 50 Brands Social WebTrack)
  • In 2016 new tools were launched meaning you can anonymously report concern for a friend, for example posting a cry for help.
  • Instagram launched a campaign with Seventeen magazine called #PerfectlyMe to address body confidence
  • 2016 saw a launch of tools that clamp down on trolls by blocking offensive comments and removes spam
Photo credit Hans Vivek, Unsplash

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