Teens Now Like YouTube More Than Facebook

/ Nov 6, 2013


Earlier this month, Facebook let the cat out of the proverbial bag and confirmed that teen usage may be declining on the social media site. During an earnings call held last week, Facebook CFO David Ebersman explained that, “Youth usage among U.S. teens was stable overall from Q2 to Q3, but we did see a decrease in daily users partly among younger teens.”

So if teens aren’t on Facebook, where are they?

You probably would never have guessed, but according to a new study from The Futures Company, who gave early data to Mashable, the most popular site among teens (12-15 years old) is — drumroll — YouTube. Yes, that YouTube. The same platform that supports incredibly teen-centric videos from Smosh, PewDiePie, and VEVO. It’s not a total shocker, but it does speak at length about the future of the platform.

According to the study, which surveyed 4,014 teens, roughly 50% of teens count YouTube as their favorite site. Facebook, indirectly confirming Ebersman’s earlier comments, is the favorite site of 45.2% of young people.

While YouTube may dominate the 12-15 year olds, Facebook still leads the pack among those in their 20s with 55%.

What does this tell us about the future of YouTube? At first glance, these statistics confirm that YouTube is right on schedule for stellar growth. As news of Facebook’s teen decline came out, the company’s stock immediately dipped. This suggests that where teens go, money follows (I know, shocker).

Over the past few years, and leading up to the recently-aired Music Awards, YouTube has been making a deliberate effort towards trumpeting teen-related content. Breaking out performances by Lady Gaga and Tyler, The Creator at the YTMA is hardly an unconscious effort on YouTube’s part. This is a platform well aware of who its bread and butter is. If you remember YouTube’s Brandcast event last spring, the company spent a great deal of time highlighting its ability to reach younger demos.

What this tells us about the future of content on YouTube is that teen-centric providers like AwesomnessTV and Defy Media (owner of Clevver and Smosh) will continue to dominate the platform. As more young people flock towards YouTube, content providers are going find more ways to tap into that audience. In turn, advertisers will continue to see YouTube as a leading source to connect with young consumers (i.e. Smosh’s “Assassins Creed” sponsored videos).

All of this doesn’t bode well for those looking for more high-brow content on YouTube. However, incredibly successful channels like the Vice YouTube channel have also proven that there is a place for content geared towards the older viewer. Right now though, teens seem to be running the show.

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