Twitter Now Rivals Facebook as Teens’ Most Important Social Network

30% of teens name Twitter as their most important social network, close behind the 33% who tab Facebook,per results [pdf] from Piper Jaffray’s 25th Semi-Annual teen research project, which surveyed more than 5,000 teens. The trends favor Twitter, though: compared to the last survey, conducted in the Fall of 2012, the proportion of teens naming Facebook as their most important has dropped 9% points, while those naming Twitter have grown by 3% points. Instagram is also gaining, up 5% points to 17% indicating it as their most important social network.


The remaining social networks identified have mostly stayed flat: Google+ (down 1% point to 5%); Tumblr (up 1% point to 4%); and Pinterest (flat at 2% points) remain far behind the top tier of preferred networks. Overall, 93% of teens say they’re using social networks, down a percentage point from the previous survey.

Facebook’s drop is a worrisome sign for the social network, as teens are often used as a leading indicator of future trends. According to data from Experian Hitwise, Facebook’s leading share of US visits to social networking sites and forums has dropped from 63.2% in March 2012 to 58.5% in March 2013.

Meanwhile, separate results from the Piper Jaffray survey reveal that 53% of female teens and 52% of male teens believe that social media impacts purchasing. That’s important, given that most teens are shopping online these days. According to the report, 79% of female respondents and 76% of male respondents say they shop online. While the proportion of males shopping online is relatively flat compared to the Spring 2012 survey, the share of females doing so has grown by 9% points.

About the Data: The Piper Jaffray data is based on two unique surveys:

1) Upper-income student survey

  • Classroom visit & electronic surveys of 1,600 teens; average age of 16.1;
  • Household (HH) income of more than $84k, representing the top 25% of US households;
  • Average HH of $104k.

2) Average-income study survey

  • Classroom visit & electronic surveys of 3,600 teens; average age 16.5 years;
  • HH income of less than $84k aligns more closely with the US median;
  • Average HH income of $54k.



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