Report Says YouTube Overtakes Facebook Among Teens



By Todd Wasserman

After months of speculation, Facebook last week acknowledged that there was some decrease in the number of “younger teens” using the social network on a daily basis. Now an annual survey of 4,014 young people provides more proof that teens may be looking elsewhere.The Futures Company, a research consultancy, interviewed teens in July and found that 41.6% of those aged 12 to 15 said Facebook was their favorite website compared to 48% of teens overall. Last year, Facebook was the most popular site among 12- to 15-year-olds.

The most popular site among all teens now is YouTube, according to the report. Fifty percent of teens surveyed cited YouTube as their favorite site versus 45.2% for Facebook. (The company’s report, the 2013 TRU Youth Monitor, has not yet been released, but Mashable got a sneak peek at the data.)

Others on the list include Amazon (27.8%), Google (25%), Twitter (19.5%), Yahoo (12.1%), eBay (10.7%) and Tumblr (12.3%). Note: The survey asked respondents to list their favorite five websites, so the figures don’t add up to 100%.

Facebook is still the most popular website with twentysomethings at 55%, followed by Amazon (37.5%). The report shows modest growth for Twitter among the 12 to 29 group with 16.5% naming it as their favorite website vs. 14.1% last year. Facebook’s overall numbers went from 57.6% to 51.7%.

“Our new findings do suggest some weakness for Facebook, but I need to preface everything we discuss here with the fact that Facebook remains the favorite website overall among our sample of 12- to 29-year-olds,” says Rob Callender, director of youth insights at the Futures Co. “That said, Facebook achieves that distinction thanks to twenty-somethings.”

Digging deeper, just 18.3% of teens aged 12 to 15 agreed with the statement “I’m addicted to Facebook,” versus 30.5% of twentysomethings. “This suggests parental controls aren’t the issue. Rather,” says Callender, “it appears Facebook might not be creating as many new fanatics as it once did.”

One caveat: Asking about “favorite websites” may skew the results in an age when mobile use is becoming the norm. However, Callender says that 4,000 is a more than adequate sample size to determine meaningful results.

If so, the data among 12- to 15-year-olds could be a troubling sign for Facebook. Slackening usage among younger teens isn’t a good trend for the site. The company’s admission of slowed growth in that age set led to a drop in the company’s stock price after an otherwise stellar third quarter. As Callender notes, “This heightens the possibility that we may be looking at a changing of the guard.”

Image: Mashable, Christina Ascani

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