Best of 2010: Teens Want More From Social Media

Everyone knows that teens live online, especially at Facebook or MySpace. They spend hours posting updates and checking out each other’s activities. Right?  The results of a study from OTX suggest that assumption might not be completely true. The study reveals that teen users are cutting back on their use of these two popular sites. Is the decline the natural result of teens moving on to the next new new thing? Or is a deeper market force at work here?

Currently, about 1 in 5 teens no longer uses Facebook or has decreased their use rate within the following time frame:

  • Past month 29%
  • Past 2–3 months 20%
  • Past 4–6 months 18%
  • Past 7–11 months 14%
  • Past 1–2 years 14%
  • 2+ years 5%

Researchers note that the rate of decreased use on Facebook appears to be accelerating. They also note the following abandonment rates among teens at other social networking sites:

  • MySpace 22%
  • YouTube 15%
  • Twitter 15%

Two obvious issues come to mind when pondering the reasons for the declining rate of teen use on social networking sites – privacy and parents. For example, teen users may not appreciate the privacy breaches that occurred at Facebook earlier this year. Or, they may no longer find social networking sites attractive now that their parents are friending them.

Instead, researchers discovered that the declining use rate is all about entertainment. Teen users say that Facebook is boring. Here’s how the numbers break out:

  • Lost interest 45%
  • Visiting other sites 28%
  • Too many notifications 27%
  • Friends don’t use Facebook 21%
  • Tired of keeping up with activity 21%
  • Too many ads 20%

Analysts say the best way to keep these users engaged is to keep them entertained. For many, that means offering social games. Look for more social networks to introduce new applications to generate interest and traffic.

[Source: Why Many teens are Moving on from Facebook. Emarketer​.com. 12 Jul. 2010. Web. 22 Jul. 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.