Amaze Generation - Social Network Usage

Amaze Generation - Social Network Usage

Amaze study reveals new behavioural trends in social network usage amongst digital natives

New industry insights from Amaze reveal the online behaviours and preferences of digital natives are rapidly changing, especially with regards to social channels. These conclusions are the latest findings from Amaze Generation, a five-year research study looking at the impact of technology on the behaviour and attitudes of 10- 15 year olds, which is now in its third year.

The latest phase of the longitudinal study reveals significant changes in the choice of social sites by teens. Overall, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the group’s favourite social channels. The study shows how social networking is the most popular online activity for teens, with around half the group going online for this purpose more than once a day.

Social channels are what Amaze Generation would miss most if they didn’t have access to the Internet and tend to be the first online port of call for this group across all devices. This is also leading to an increase in second screen activity – checking social sites and communicating with friends whilst watching TV or gaming.

When discussing the reasons why social networking sites are so popular, one participant commented: “Instagram [is my favourite] because I can post pictures to show friends how much fun I am having”; another said they use “Twitter and Facebook to keep in touch with my friends and upload pictures.”

However, whilst Facebook is still popular the site’s popularity appears to have reached a plateau, as the group reveals how it is using the site ‘a lot less’ than 12 months ago. Even though the time the group spends on Facebook appears to have declined, other sites have been propelled into the limelight. Amaze suggests this sudden adoption is very different to the lifecycles of social sites historically and may reflect a behaviour shift, with social sites achieving success quickly if they can produce an offering that has instant cut through. Snapchat and Vine are prime examples of new social sites that have been rapidly embraced in this manner. There has also been a further increase in the use of Twitter amongst the group, which increases every year as the group matures.

The study also shows that Blackberry Messenger (BBM), once a phenomenally popular choice with digital natives, appears to have fallen out of favour with Amaze Generation. Blackberry was by far the most popular mobile device in 2011 and 2012, with BBM acting as a key driver for this group to stay with Blackberry, even though they appeared to know that functionality was superior on other devices. As more and more people leave BBM, or plan to, there are fewer reasons for the group to stay - where Blackberry was once the space where the group had conversations this is clearly changing. As more of the peer group leaves BBM so does the need for them to continue in this space.

Looking at overall website trends, Google ranks as the most popular site, followed by YouTube, Twitter and Instagram – all of which the group say they use a lot more than 12 months ago.

Natalie Gross, CEO at Amaze, comments, “The findings from the latest phase of our study show a marked shift in the choice of social media sites amongst digital natives. Not only is social of key importance and features as the most popular online activity according to our study, but we are also seeing how new social sites are being adopted phenomenally quickly and some established networks, such as Facebook, are starting to wane. Marketers and brands will have to respond to these constant trend changes to keep ahead of the game when interacting with this age group.” 

Launched in winter 2011, the five-year Amaze Generation study has been closely monitoring a group of 10-15 year olds to understand their digital selves and examine the way they interact with and are being shaped by technology over time. Findings from previous phases of the study can be found here.